Monday, December 16, 2019
Movie Monday: Knives Out
The set-up is classic detective story: a well-known mystery writer named Harlen Thrombey, played by Christopher Plummer, is found dead (throat slit) in his attic office, after an evening birthday party where his entire greedy/selfish family was in attendance. Is it suicide or murder? Two police detectives and a quirky PI, played hilariously by Daniel Craig, are investigating and interviewing the family members and staff. They soon rule out suicide, but who did this gruesome deed? Each family member seems to have a motive. Daughter Linda, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, seems upset by her father's death, but her husband Richard, played by Don Johnson, had a fight with Harlen at the party over revealing his affair with the housekeeper. Their son Ransom, played by Chris Evans, had a loud argument with his grandfather the night before, and the rest of the family thinks he was cut out of his will. Harlen's son Walt, played by Michael Shannon, runs the publishing company that his father's books made prosperous ... but what if Harlen fired him the night of the party? And Joni, played as a hippie-type by Toni Collette, is Harlan's ex-daughter-in-law, but she, too seems to have had an argument with him that fateful night. Finally, at the center of this extremely dysfunctional family is Marta, played by Ana de Armas, a kind, sweet young woman who was Harlen's beloved nurse. Each family member is interviewed by the investigators, as the audience considers one suspect after another. Suspense and secrets abound!
This is a classic whodunit but with tongue firmly in cheek. Each family member is almost like a caricature of his or her type, played with relish by this outstanding team of actors. The house itself is, as one detective describes it, "like a Clue board," filled with secrets and peculiar accents, like the large sculpture of knives that serves as a backdrop for the family interviews. It's a twisty, funny romp of a mystery that kept us guessing right till the end. As one of the hosts on Pop Culture Happy Hour (a favorite podcast of mine) described it, this movie is like Murder on the Orient Express--the way it should have been done, with its all-star cast and quirky detective. All four of us enjoyed it and laughed a lot. It's just plain fun, perfect for this holiday season and a great movie for the whole family to watch together!
Knives Out is currently in theaters and is great on the big screen, since the setting, house, and people are all filled with so much personality. See it in a local recliner theater, like we did!
Just watch the trailer and you'll be smiling: