Half an hour into Knives Out, you wonder who is having the most fun–writer-director Rian Johnson who recently took a trip to a galaxy far far away and landed at a stately mansion in the suburbs with a dozen Hollywood aces at his disposal, or Daniel Craig’s gentlemanly sleuth who is immensely excited about wearing a Southern accent thicker than his tweed overcoat.
Or, is it us? Out there with a hundred others; laughing and wincing in a dark theatre, brought together by our collective ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ with every big reveal, every step towards the missing piece of the puzzle. Let’s just say, we are all winners here.
With Knives Out, Johnson goes much smaller in scale since his last outing—the billion-dollar mammoth known as Star Wars: The Last Jedi. However, one look at the top-billed cast of Knives Out could make you reconsider your definition of a small scale. Craig plays sassy sleuth Benoit Blanc, a straight descendant of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, minus the ‘stache or the Belgian accent. And what good is a pop-culture detective without a fake accent and a name that reminds you of fancy stationery!
Craig plays sassy sleuth Benoit Blanc
As the investigation takes off, they also introduce us to Martha, the immigrant caregiver from ‘Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil’ (none of her masters can seem to, or frankly, care to remember), played by Ana de Armas. She becomes our eyes and the subject of our sympathy as she navigates through her master’s death, the peril it poses to her, and not to mention, the horrible family straight out of one of the more rabid episodes of Succession.
The greedy, malicious family members may the two-dimensional but Johnson never let things get boring or unfunny. Shiny and pristine on the exterior. However, these are also the people hiding illicit affairs and lust for privileges they do not deserve. They pride themselves as a self-made, liberal and woke, but mask their hatred for the deserving under a thin veneer.
Knives Out is two hours well spent with a hilarious and just clever enough whodunnit. Think of it as reading a Christie masterpiece. Except you are not sitting with the book. Also, under a tree in a lush green English garden on a sunny Sunday afternoon. However, maybe you are at a vegan cafe on a Friday evening in LA. And you can’t wait to tweet about it once you are done with it.