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Arts and Culture

'Knives Out' Movie Review with Casey

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Knives Out movie
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Knives Out is a darkly comic murder mystery with a plot that is twisty and witty with a touch of some classic genre motifs. When an imperious wealthy patriarch (Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World, 2017) dies in his rapaciously decorative mansion, it's not quite ruled out as a suicide. So all the family members are possible suspects...bringing suspicions and judgments into the light. 

Director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi, 2017) has written a well-balanced screenplay that is nimble, sharp, and unexpected with zero boring moments. As the mystery unfolds, the film doesn't spend much time examining each family member and their whereabouts. Instead, the film takes viewers into the mind of one family member and their possible guilt or innocence as they search for clues. With some fastidious detectives, and shocking revelations, people aren't what they seem in this family.    

The vibe of Knives Out sits somewhere between the murder mysteries Clue (1985) and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) with candle-lit rooms, revealing flashbacks, and a great ensemble cast. Yes, this film is about murder, but it has a glib breeziness throughout that makes it lighter than the expected Agatha Christie type of tale. Rian Johnson achieves this refreshing spin on another established film genre with Brick (2005).

The film has so many twists that a handful of them are predictable and tiresome toward the end. But this predictability doesn't drag down the film. It remains taut, entertaining, and dramatic with unique characters including a timid nurse with a propensity for vomiting and a famous investigator with a languid Southern accent. Knives Out is fun for everyone. If it doesn't keep you guessing, it will at least keep you entertained. That's what a thoughtfully crafted story should do.