Knives Out cuts straight to the funny bone

Knives Out (Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Ana de Armas, Christopher Plummer) – What fun!  Knives Out is a classic “who-done-it” with lots of enigmatic characters and loads of laughs.  Think Murder on the Orient Express with a touch of Inspector Clouseau.

Famous, rich murder mystery writer Harlan Thromby (Christopher Plummer) is found dead with his neck slashed in his 19th century mansion following his 85th birthday.  Was he murdered or a clear case of suicide?  As his not-so-loving family and the other party attendees (the housekeeper and the nurse) are re-gathered by the police at the house on the day after the murder, we hear everyone’s story and the discrepancies therein.  As they are questioned by the police, a shadowy character sits in the back of the room, occasionally striking the highest key on the piano.  It’s Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), legendary investigator, who soon takes over the case.  Working with his counterparts and the nurse who was Thromby’s only real friend, he peels back the stories and the case.

We get to know the characters, almost all of whom are despicable in their own ways.  They’re entitled, dependent, and opportunistic.  We find out that Thromby uses the family get-together to cut off a few of them, thus, lots of people have motives.

Craig is totally surprisingly.  He plays Blanc as a southern lawman straight out of the Wild West.  Who knew he could be a comedic leading man?  He really is Inspector Clouseau without the bumbling although there is one scene where he is listening to music with earphones that is hysterical.

The other actors clearly have a great time.  It’s a wonderful ensemble.  Director/writer Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper) keeps us engaged and guessing while providing lots of laughs and a little suspense.

With all the Oscar contenders being released in the next six weeks, Knives Out is a must-see.  With a PG-13 rating, it is the perfect family film for Thanksgiving weekend or a Christmas-time outing.

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