Recently we found our office overrun by a smell so rank that we have had to evacuate and the police putting in a mile wide cordon suspecting a terrorist chemical attack. Further investigation has found that this incident coincided with our Editors return to the office after a lunchtime session at The Nags Head where untold gallons of Guinness were consumed combined with him polishing off the jar of pickled eggs which had been sitting behind the bar since 1979. His bowels have now been classified as a weapon of mass destruction (‘You’re fired!’- Ed). It’s been the easiest of whodunnit’s to solve and that genre of detective thriller has returned after the huge success of ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ reboot which made a huge $352m. It’s success means ‘Death on the Nile’ is in production but before then we have Knives Out a title presumably inspired by the vociferous lunatic Star Wars fans who took a dislike to writer / director Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi although frankly many of them you wouldn’t trust to sit the right way round on a lavatory.
Inspired by the Agatha Christie genre this too has a huge range of suspects to a murder and here Knives Out starts off with the apparent suicide of Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) an immensely successful author who is cared for by full time nurse Marta (Ana de Armas). Having acquired a fortune from his books and living in an enormous sprawling manor the family soon realize that there’s a huge estate awaiting to be bequeathed and each have their own reason to want to inherent it. The local police soon announce that all is on hold as the suicide is more likely to have been a murder and to this effect enter independent detective Benoit Blanc from the Deep South, played by Daniel Craig with an accent that puts him in the running for any Inspector Clouseau re-casting, mangling vowels much in the same way he did with his Deep South accent in Logan Lucky.
Johnson has assembled a stellar cast with Don Johnson as a bigoted business man (and a sly dig at Trumpism), Toni Collette as a flaky new age relative, Chris Evans as a swaggeringly arrogant nephew and Michael Shannon as a business man who is about as reliable as his dodgy leg that forces him to limp everywhere. They’re probably the stand outs in a crammed cast that also includes Jamie Lee Curtis too and all of them have their eyes on the prize – Thrombey’s will. Yet all evidence as to the guilty party points to his nurse Marta, a Uruguyan with even more to gain than the others. It’s Craig, who’s clearly relishing every mangled vowel, who is left to sort out what’s happened and find out who, if any of them, are guilty.
Much like Agatha Christie’s novels Johnson’s script points you in a certain direction deliberately avoiding the reveal of any clues that could let you work out who and why has done the dastardly deed until the climactic reveal by Craig’s detective. So the investigation is conveniently sloppy and plot holes are many so as to swerve information that will only come to light at the end and there are points of conjecture which would never stand up in a court case. Nonetheless Knives Out is immensely enjoyable with a cast loving every minute of their screen time and for the stunning Ana De Armas this is another step up the leading lady ladder after Blade Runner 2049 and The Informer and will be appearing with Craig again in his last Bond outing No Time to Die.
Here’s the Knives Out trailer…….