Knives Out (2019)



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This is the official 2019 Thanksgiving Day Family Movie! It is an enjoyable movie for all generations, with characters to match. It is also a class warfare film; the theme of the year. Knives Out isn’t overly political, but there are through lines you can pick up on. It isn’t going to lead to any nasty arguments around the dinner table after seeing it. Everyone should be able to talk about how fun it was.


Ana de Armas, as Marta, is phenomenal. Her acting is the most down to earth and she does a great job in the lead role. She will appear opposite Daniel Craig, again, in the next James Bond film, No Time to Die. Daniel Craig portrays the private investigator Benoit Blanc and his performance is over the top to perfection. He has a ‘KFC, Foghorn Leghorn’ accent throughout the movie. It is a bit of a hat on a hat, but it is very enjoyable. The rest of the cast makes up a very wealthy family of horrible people. Just look through the cast and then imagine them all of them in their most over the top roles ever. You will hate each one of them, but you will enjoy doing it.


Like any good murder mystery, this movie will stand up to a re-watch knowing how the entire movie turns out. The small clues sprinkled throughout are hard to pick up on the first watch in real-time. A second viewing is a fun game of ‘Where’s Waldo.’


The trailer for this movie makes it seem like a constant comedy. There are good jokes and I was laughing throughout the movie, but in totality, it was not as funny as I expected. That isn’t to say it is a SERIOUS movie, it just didn’t have the comedic timing that the trailer would lead you to believe. It is not particularly funny when the movie points out everything to you. We all get that the house feels like a Clue board, you don’t need to have a character tell us. You also don’t need to have multiple people point out Daniel Craig’s southern accent, we have ears.


My other gripe with the movie is the inclusion of current political discourse. Jaeden Martell plays teenager Jacob Thrombey, a neo-nazi, alt-right internet troll. This is more of a tell and don’t show the situation. To put a hat on a hat, there is a scene about legal versus illegal immigration discussed amongst the family in the presence of Marta, who we already know has a mother in the country illegally. The movie grabs you by the shoulders and shakes you to make sure you know. When this attack vector is finally used it doesn’t feel like it pays off. There is so much energy put into it but no payoff. The discussion within the family also dates this movie to right now. You will always know this movie came out during President Trump’s first term.


Despite my issues with this film I very much enjoyed watching it. I was looking forward to seeing it and was not disappointed. It has something for everyone to enjoy and would serve as a good break from family interactions over the holidays. Grab your aunts, uncles, parents, and cousins, and go see this movie.

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©2019 by Sean Whitehurst