BEIRUT: Rian Johnson's hip whodunnit, KNIVES OUT, offers a delicious yet classic scenario gets a thoroughly modern makeover, pierced through by a lacerating wit and a razor-sharp take on 21st Century social mores and family bonds.
It's also one that will keep you guessing till its final frames.
The film takes one group of entitled eccentrics, mixes it with a handful of their faithful staff, adds one dead body, and sets it to boil in an over-polished yet mystifying mansion under the watchful eye of a master sleuth until a murderer appears, ready to serve a lifetime of incarceration.
Rian Johnson, who was let met with a ton of criticism due to his entry in STAR WARS’s SKYWALKER SAGA, returns to the big screen now with a film genre that he had yet to tackle.
The movie is a fun and modern whodunnit filled with clues, complications, and family dynamics that comments on contemporary America’s social norms from within the labyrinth of a murder mystery.
Sticking true to his M.O, Johnson subverts familiar genres and makes them fresh.
Here, instead of keeping the reveal until the very end, Johnson, who also penned the script, delivers reveals which then lead to more questions and more reveals.
Much like he did in STAR WARS, he tips his hat to the entire history of murder mystery films while bringing brand-new energy to the form.
The tightly-woven and complex narrative places all the characters on firm ground and then pulls that ground away from them, so one never knows where the story is going.
Having a web of so many different characters and so many different motives and all the twists and turns relies on ensuring that the mechanics of the story work and are invisible to the audience.
The ensemble cast, which is made up of some of the most seasoned actors in the industry right now, shines and delivers on all counts.
It helps when the screenplay is also rich with memorable eccentric characters.
The standouts are Daniel Craig who plays Benoit Blanc and Ana de Armas who plays Marta Cabrera.
Visually, the film also fits into the classic form with a twist, as the events of the film happen mostly within the confines of the Thrombey mansion.
The mansion looks like something out of an Agatha Christie novel, or even CLUE, but the residents are all from present-day America.
At the end of the day, this film is a testament to Rian Johnson’s attention to detail that began with working out the requisite minutiae required by a whodunnit script and extended to every detail in the final film.
KNIVES OUT is an enjoyable ride that will make you laugh, surprise you, but will also challenge you and make you think. The narrative brings in so many things that we are dealing with in our lives today but does it in a way where the audience never stops feeling entertained.
KNIVES OUT is playing across cinemas in Lebanon, but catch it in a fancy atmosphere in VOX GOLD and play along!
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