Let’s face it - the trailer was awful. My childhood memories of Jamie Lee Curtis’ mom character in Freaky Friday (sorry film aficionados, that’s where I know her from) were threatened. I was tense. Anxious. Was I about to see Tess Coleman in….a bad movie??
Rest assured, (and all credence to all of the other Hollywood stalwarts, of which, there’s a long list), the film is….awesome. Genuinely entertaining, a clever and complex plot, and well-rendered characters make Knives Out a joy to watch.
I was worried that the lone puzzle-solver, the peerless sleuth trope was overdone, but it seems to have survived another round in Daniel Craig’s character Detective Benoit Blanc. The detective, who, despite the very obviously French name, has a never-explained but very charismatic southern drawl is hired to investigate the death of Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer).
The Thrombey dynasty, it is revealed is immense, and as with every large estate, the question of the will, who’s in and who’s out brings out the worst of the Thrombey’s. The in-fighting brings out some interesting social commentary that cuts alongside the plot, especially when the film’s heroine Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) has her ethnicity “mis-remembered” a dozen times by the family, and there’s everyone from an Instagram influencer mom (Toni Collette) to a worryingly mobilised and alt-right teen-turned-troll (Jaeden Martell).
The best bit about the film, is how it manages to maintain many of the old mainstays of a whodunit and makes use of them, as if for the first time. The clues are cleverly placed and unravelled, and there’s a sense of freshness that’s difficult to bring to this genre. With such a large cast including Chris Evans, Noah Segan, Michael Shannon, and Katherine Langford, it is inevitable that some of the characters get a bit lost along the way as the plot zooms into its thrilling conclusion. Nonetheless, there are enough twists and turns to keep everyone satisfied.
Knives Out is in cinemas now.
Reviewed as Film of the Week, in partnership with Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh.