Friday, November 13, 2020

Movie Review: “Knives Out” a slow burn with a decent ending

By Matt Pascarella

There’s been a murder! Well, maybe there’s been a murder. When patriarch, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead, his family and those who worked for him are questioned by detectives. As the motives begin to present themselves, private investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) rules everyone is a suspect and requires this combative family to remain at Harlan’s home until this mystery is solved. Is everything as it has been presented to Blanc?

This witty comedy/mystery, while on the longer side, is a solid murder mystery.

After the funeral of Harlan, his family returns to his home where Lieutenant Elliot (LaKeith Stanfield), Trooper Wagner (Noah Segan) and private investigator Blanc (Craig) are there to begin questioning everyone. Jamie Lee Curtis plays Linda Drysdale along with husband Richard Drysdale (Don Johnson). 

Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Frank Oz, Riki Lindhome and Katherine Langford round out the cast. Harlan’s nurse Marta (Ana de Armas) is among those being questioned and she announces right away she cannot lie without vomiting; which is quickly confirmed.

As each family member is questioned, it’s clear they have different motives. However, everyone’s stories matched; no one was unaccounted for. While on the surface, this seems like it could be an open and shut case, the detectives have a disagreement about the motives and how (or who) might have been involved in Harlan’s death. Blanc has suspicions regarding the case. Everyone had something to gain from Harlan’s death.

We travel back in time to Harlan’s 85th birthday party, the night before he died, and someone realizes a mistake was made.

Ransom Drysdale (Chris Evans), son of Richard and Linda, arrives just in time for the reading of the will. Blanc then tells the other detectives everyone had something to gain from the alleged murder of Harlan except one individual.

Part of what makes this a comedy is dry humor like this line:

“Think of a will reading as a community theater production of a tax return.”

Lines similar to this are featured throughout the movie.

The will reading doesn’t go as planned and tensions rise between the family members. It’s at this point that a revelation is made in regard to Harlan’s inheritance and this angers the family more and shows their real colors.

Blanc comes upon a clue which may help identify who might have been responsible for Harlan’s death. Blanc suspects foul play and has eliminated no suspects.

How did Harlan die? Who was involved? What about his inheritance? Who gets it?

Blanc identifies this mystery as a truly twisted web that needs much untangling. I found this to be a decent murder mystery, however, one that is a slow burn. I was interested to see where this was going and who might be responsible. I was satisfied with the ending, though this is a longer movie and drags in several places. The twists and turn make it worth the time though. The characters dry humor and wit lightens the sometimes tense scenes. I’d recommend this one. Two knives up – or out, your call.

Available on Amazon Prime and to rent. <

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