Knives Out: A

Knives Out: A

Knives Out is written and directed by Rian Johnson, who also wrote and directed The Last Jedi - a controversial and divisive movie which I was unhappy with. So for Knives Out I was skeptical of the direction, the writing, and the star-studded cast, which often signals an artsy, goofy passion project in my experience.

It gives me great pleasure to say that Rian Johnson totally nails it with Knives Out! He's earned his chops in my book.

Knives Out plays it straight and has a serious feel - it's not farcical or melodramatic like I was fearing. The characters are all eccentric but interesting and believable. There's a layer of appropriate humor that doesn't disrupt.

The premise: a wealthy and successful family patriarch is found dead under mysterious circumstances the morning after a family party at his estate. Daniel Craig plays a famous consulting investigator who is asked to sit in on the investigation. Of course each member of the family has their own dirty little secrets and so the real challenge is not determining who had motive, because they all did, but who actually did it.

Rian Johnson successfully and pleasantly subverts my expectations with the way this story unfolds, and he breaks from the classic formulas in interesting ways. This is a film of secrets and revelations with some good twists, but it's not - thankfully - the kind of story where drama is sacrificed in the name of plot twists. It's not continuously throwing everything we know under the bus just to put another twist in, but rather the twists magnify the drama of everything that has happened so far. On that note, here's a tip I think will make watching it the most enjoyable: while you can't always trust that characters are telling the truth, you can trust that the flashback scenes show what really happened.

Go watch it!