By now you’ve probably heard about, maybe even seen …
Knives Out ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
If you haven’t seen it, then this is our film critique post and it contains SPOILERS. So instead of spoiling the film for your first watch, especially this one that is a mystery, you should come back here after you’ve seen the film, and read what others are saying, including yours truly.
… you have been warned … SPOILERS past here …
Primarily One Setting
This isn’t a criticism, necessarily, but it does make films more boring for some people. Plays obviously are the best place for one primary setting, not films, where the camera can — and probably should — take us many places.
For me? Because it was a mystery, I didn’t really care if we left “the scene of the crime” that much, also the mansion where it was filmed, a real location known as Ames Mansion, is a gorgeous backdrop:
“Knives Out” location manager Charlie Harrington knew the Ames Mansion would be a great spot for filming, having previously used the building — and even the exact room in it — to film the 2016 “Ghostbusters” reboot. He and crews spent a large portion of production time in that one room, a library in the Ames MansionThe story behind the Massachusetts mansion in ‘Knives Out’ | Boston.com
Daniel Craig’s Accent
I wasn’t feeling Daniel Craig’s accent in this film. It seemed forced and funny, not authentic. Maybe Rian Johnson should have had him play it more straight, without such emphasis. His accent wasn’t so bad that it took me out of the film, but it was a bit on the corny side. Luckily, it fits the mood of the film which is lighthearted.
The Reveal isn’t A Huge Shock/Twist
The reveal is usually the best part of the mystery. The part where you go, oh, man, I should have seen that! I didn’t get that very much with this film. It wasn’t predictable, it was a bit on the cheap (a little too rapid-fire with the exposition). So, I took away some in my rating for this.
Limited Rewatch Potential
Mysteries, by their inherent design, unfortunately, are not as rewatchable as other movie genres. This criticism had no impact on my rating, but the fun of watching a mystery — at least for me — is greatly reduced once I’ve seen the huge reveal. Do you find yourself rewatching any straight-up mysteries?
I love a good mystery and while this wasn’t the greatest mystery ever, it’s a good one. The script is solid. The twist and reveal isn’t a total shocker, as mentioned above, but it’s good enough to fit the rest of the film.
Reviews by Others
Let’s see, so far, what other moviegoers think of Knives Out.
Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I enjoy following movie-related blogs. Yes, even those who disagree with my reviews and vice versa.
- Reely Bernie (4/5): “Rian Johnson provides enough eccentric character development and guessing to keep any average moviegoer entertained for two hours. The final reveal isn’t a cop-out, there’s a satisfying resolve, and the humor is properly placed between the action.”
- Alex Wiggan: “It is the perfect way to spend a couple of hours and it is a breath of fresh air in an endless sea of reboots, sequels, and badly marketed films.”
- Jonathon Gibbs: “….Johnson’s brilliantly contrived screenplay, which is a masterclass not just in mystery plotting – intricate enough to keep you guessing, and simple enough to make sense as flashback after flashback sends you zipping backwards and forwards in time – but in the logical construction of the central character’s emotional arc.”
- Jordan Dodd: “…is hilarious, knee-slapping and almost tear inducing at times. This is the funniest, and most fun, film of the year. And it’s about a man’s death!”
- Griff’s Picks (Grade: A-): “Rian Johnson hasn’t just delivered an old-school whodunnit but a complex puzzle-box, a mystery so engrossing and fiendishly well-engineered that its modern touches and themes are all the more satisfying.”
- CJ / Film Mafia (4.5/5): “…is super satisfying. It’s funny, the mystery plot really works, and it also has something to say, which it does with enjoyably righteous anger. Go for the production design and the plot, leave being blown away by De Armas and, once again, Johnson, one of America’s finest. This might be his best film; it’s one of 2019’s most entertaining.”
- M & M at the Movies: “Rian Johnson knows how to keep “Knives Out” amusingly interesting with a curiosity that does not stop.”
- Charlie Chat (8/10): “…the films conclusion was a complete surprise, which was told in such a clever, and sometimes hilarious way. Brilliant watch that I would recommend to all who enjoy a murder mystery”
- Tony Cogan / Coogs Reviews (4.5/5): “Rian Johnson has crafted a great murder mystery, one that has a great deal of charm and fun, aided by an excellent script and a game cast that, whilst not all utilised effectively, are a lot of fun.”
- Ben Warner: “Performances and writing blend together perfectly to create a satisfying and thrilling whodunnit. There is not a word to describe the fun and enjoyable nature of this film.”
- Sara C / Little Movie Reviews (Grade: A): “…some of the most fun you will have at the movies this year. It would be a disservice to yourself if you didn’t run out and see it immediately. With outstanding performances from the cast, and stunning direction from Johnson, this entertaining film will have you guessing whodunit, until the very end.”
- Louisa / Screen Zealots (3.5/5): “Ultimately the film is not as clever as it thinks it is, and it’s a bit of a letdown when the big reveal and twist is finally exposed. But the crowd-pleasing “Knives Out” is entertaining if not entirely satisfying.”
- Darren Lucas/Movie Reviews 101 (4/5): “This is a quirky joyful comedy that leaves you guessing to the truth with performances that shine throughout the film.”
- Matt Brunson/FILM FRENZY (3.5/4): “…those who like their crime sagas to end like any given episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (i.e. the last-minute reveal of the culprit) might initially be disappointed with this picture’s narrative swerves. But any sorrow is quickly replaced with jubilation, as it soon becomes clear that Johnson has more than one mystery up his sleeve. And there to piece together the puzzle and crack the case is Benoit Blanc: erudite, excitable, and armed with a license to thrill.”
- Myron Dafoe III (5/5): “…has received rave reviews for good reason. Besides being star studded with the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, and Chris Evans to just name a few, the story is solid and encapsulating.”
- Ethan Jones / Film Scribe: “It’s a classic whodunit (think Agatha Christie and Hercule Poirot) with a modern twist (think references to immigration and an internet troll for a character) and very comedic, though not to the extent of insincerity or farce, tongue-in-cheek tone. Furthermore, it’s also delightful.”
- Chicken of Tomorrow: “Rian Johnson has shown extraordinary daring in releasing a whodunnit in this era of snarky internet know-it-alls — a demographic with which he has an abundance of experience. That he has single-handedly written a tight, smart, funny script with a large, illustrious cast and managed to bundle it all together using striking visuals and deft filmcraft is truly something to admire.”
- Bryan Caron/Chaos Breeds Chaos (Grade: A): “…plays like a murder mystery written by someone toying with a group of people they utterly dislike. Harlan wants nothing more than to ween his children off the teat of his success so as to build their own empires as he once did; the only way to do that is play one last devilish game with the lot of them, making for one enjoyable ride through the bowels of entitlement culture.”
- nathanzoebl (Grade: B+): “…a fun experience and further proof that when Rian Johnson really sets his mind on a certain genre, good and clever entertainments sprout. I want this man to tell the stories that excite him because there are still many more genres that could use the Rian Johnson stamp.”
- Tom E/Plain, Simple Reviews (4/5): “A stylish, entertaining and modern “whodunnit” with a coherent and intelligent script, accomplished direction, colourful characters, and a fun cast.”
- Kieron Towend (4/5): “The sheer amount of plot developments and continuous twists may leave some viewers scratching their heads at what is going on, but Rian Johnson keeps things flowing with handy narratives from Craig’s Kentucky Fried detective and a script so inventive and fun that it becomes easier to simply sit back and enjoy the ride.”
- Franz Patrick (4/4): “The intelligently written and thoroughly entertaining “Knives Out” never betrays the audience despite numerous high-stake left turns. It invites the viewers to look closely, to recognize possible red herrings, to understand how characters think and predict how they might respond.”
- Brad / ahsweetmysterblog: “….a modern whodunit! Even more tantalizing is the fact that it offers a totally original story enshrined in the modern world while at the same time it embodies the tropes of classic detective fiction.”
- Lifestyled by Lucy: “…utilises the format of the childhood boardgame, Clue, and a “whodunnit” plotline to skillfully demonstrate that even in a smaller-scale murder, selfish ulterior motives are inevitable and drive conflict.”
- Jordan & Eddie / The Movie Guys (3.5/5): “…a well-played whodunit and while the film doesn’t quite stick the landing, there’s much to enjoy leading up to it thanks to some great central turns and whip smart script work.”
Not Recommended (or on the fence/unclear)
- I’m Right Reviews: “…the mystery of this murder mystery is lacking in execution, Knives Out is still an entertaining movie. It functions far better as a comedy, like Clue if Clue took itself more seriously.”
- The Dreher Report: “I would surmise that Knives Out is a filmic lesson in expectations held by those who have trust funds pending or a rich relative who has been maintaining familial lifestyles with an allowance, or those who are in line to inherit anything. “
- PopCult: “…writer-director Rian Johnson has cleverly managed to subvert our expectations and tell the story he’s interested by dressing it up in the tropes and formulas in this genre.”
- The Blog of Nerdzilla: “The best detective stories use twists well. You shouldn’t figure them out on the first go but in the typical ‘detective lays out all the evidence’ scene you should be kicking yourself for NOT figuring it out. This movie doesn’t understand that.”
Your turn. Let’s discuss Knives Out. Do you agree/disagree with my criticism? What did you like and dislike, if anything, about the film?