Knives Out (2019) – Review, Summary (with Spoilers)

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While a tad long, in order to pack in as many twists and turns as possible, Knives Out ultimately is one of the best mystery films you’ve seen in a long time and will see in a long time.


Directed By Rian Johnson
Written By Rian Johnson
Date Released (Theatrical – Early Public Viewing) 11/22/2019
Genre(s) Mystery, Drama, Comedy
Noted Cast
Harlan Christopher Plummer
Linda Jamie Lee Curtis
Richard Don Johnson
Walt Michael Shannon
Hugh Ransom Chris Evans
Benoit Blanc Daniel Craig
Wanetta K Callan
Donna Riki Lindhome
Marta Ana de Armas
Meg Katherine Langford
Jacob Jaeden Martell
Fran Edi Patterson
Joni Toni Collette
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Plot Summary/ Review

Harlan Thrombey, a self-made man who, after writing countless mystery novels, at least two a year as of his 85th birthday, made enough money to afford a gargantuan house, a multitude of land surrounding it, as well as have the ability to finance the lives of his children, grandchildren, and even a daughter in law who technically hasn’t been related to him in years. As you can imagine, getting to Harlan’s age not only makes you think about your mortality but the way you want to live your final years. Which for Harlan, someone who always liked a sense of control and people playing by his rules, meant he was going to get one over on his family.

However, rather than wait until after he was dead to drop the axe, he does that in life. Leading to, after his death, an investigation that leads to his daughter Linda, her husband Richard, Linda’s brother Walt, Richard and Linda’s son Ransom, as well as many more being questioned. For while Harlan’s death seems like an easy case, as renowned private investigation Benoit Blanc gets involved, and sees the case as a donut, it becomes anything but.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Why wasn’t Walt’s wife, Donna, questioned at all?
  2. All things considered, if Harlan was 85, and his mother was alive, who was taking care of her if Marta solely monitored Harlan and Fran, the other person who worked the house, seemingly didn’t bother much with Wanetta?

Highlights

You Learn To Appreciate The Twists & Turns

There are two major twists in the film, which is part of the reason why, below, the film feels long. However, thanks to the talented cast, masterfully brought together, as you come to the point of feeling you’ve seen one movie end and then another one begin, while there is a bit of a slow period for things to pick up, when you get to the true finale, and all is revealed, while your jaw won’t drop, you will appreciate the ride you just went on.

The Humor

What Knives Out shows is the way you can make your film two hours and keep it relatively lively: Add humor. Now, again praising the cast, and Johnson’s writing, nearly everyone either gets to have a funny moment or be the butt of a joke. Be it jokes about Jacob possibly masturbating in the bathroom to dead deer, Marta repeatedly vomiting, Joni being this very eccentric woman, or just everyone getting at least one good line.

This is what helps that transition from the reveal of mystery one into mystery two. For those jolts of jokes act as a major distraction to keep you from wanting to check your phone to see how much longer this film is.

On The Fence

There Will Be Times When You Think The Film Should Wrap Up

While we tried to make light of the time length, let’s get serious right now. What you have here is two incomplete movies mashed up until one. If not, two movies that could have roughly been an hour, which you know no film nowadays wants to be, being placed together. With that, you have to deal with the film, after the first reveal is handled, taking its time to start up a new plot. Which, again, is aided by the comedy and cast, but if you don’t find these characters humorous, or find these actors charismatic, you might feel like this movie is too damn long and not nearly as clever as it thinks it is.

I Wouldn’t Say There Is A Huge Amount Of Effort To Point You In Anyone’s Direction

Despite a rather decent-sized cast, they don’t equally get focused on to keep you guessing. In fact, as we get into the second half, a lot of the cast may still be around, but they barely play a role. To name names, Katherine Langford and Jaeden Martell? After a certain point, they exist, but you can tell the investment isn’t there. Hell, Donna, Walt’s wife, you’ll forget who she is and may sometimes wonder if she is someone who helps keep the house up.

Those aren’t the only people, but we’re not giving the ending away (at least on this page). But, the point is, after a certain point, there is a clear funnel which pushes you to focus on very few people in terms of the second mystery presented.

Overall

Met Expectations

This definitely exceeded expectations Between the utilization of the cast, two quality mysteries, even if they made the film a bit long, this was definitely better than expected.

Would Watch Again?

I’d definitely push people to see it, but, like most mystery films, once you know the truth, it loses its appeal quick.

Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Increasingly, 2-hour movies are expanding past dramas seeking awards, and generally they don’t justify being that long. Knives Out is an exception. For while you can see many ways this could be shorter, and one could submit some members of the cast are expendable, it is a very enjoyable film to watch. One that you’ll want to see before someone, even if in praise, gives a significant enough hint to take away from the mystery.

How Would You Rate This?

Negative Mixed Positive

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2 COMMENTS

    • Walt being in a boot wasn’t used for much plot-wise. Though one could say his handicap was partly to show age as well as show a sense of dependency. I’d even submit everyone’s personality is based on how dependent they were on the patriarch and how comfortable they were about it.

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