Knives Out Mistakenly Thinks It’s the Smartest in the Room

“What is this, CSI: KFC?”


Photo courtesy of IMDB

Solomon Kenworthy

     Knives Out was released in 2019, and was directed and written by Rian Johnson. The film stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and Ana De Armas. A private detective is hired to solve the case of a mystery novelist’s apparent suicide, of which he believes the whole family may be involved.

     Daniel Craig’s performance as a southern detective is fantastic. Chris Evans proves that he can play someone other than Captain America with his role; he’s excellent. Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon and the other many A-list stars are all great. Ana De Armas as Marta, the caretaker, brings many emotions.

     The script is mostly funny, there were a few jokes and lines of dialogue that seem to be added in with no reason behind them. There are a few characters that are unnecessarily added, and could easily be written out of the movie. For example, Jacob Thrombey talks maybe twice in the movie, and the script makes you think he needs to be there because of certain information he has, but this could have just as easily been a different character. 

     Aside from Craig and Evans, all the characters are unrelatable and terrible. That doesn’t mean the cast doesn’t play these characters well, but almost none of them are likable, and they’re honestly very one dimensional. For example, Arma’s character is written to always be right and be a good person, because the script says so. She’s also not very likable. The script uses different lines of exposition, and the fact that she literally cannot lie, to try and further shove down the audience’s throat that we should like her. 

     As soon as the person who committed the crime came on screen, it was extremely obvious they did it. There’s not much guessing, because you’re either given too much information or too little. For example, you’re literally told in a ten minute scene what happened to the grandfather 30 minutes into the movie, which takes away any suspense for that plot. 

     About half way through the movie, for no reason, Craig’s character is written from being a mysterious smart private detective, to a complete idiot. At the end during the exposition scene where we find out who committed the crime, Craig’s character guesses what happened, and gets lucky. 

     The villain’s plot, after thinking about it more more than 23 seconds, doesn’t make much sense either. The reason given for how they did it is one of those “miss it and the story doesn’t make sense” lines. Along with that, the fact that they were able to come up with the whole plan in about 30 seconds as shown in the film is simply lazy screenwriting. 

    The cinematography is very good. One shot stands out, when after Craig’s character uses a hole of a doughnut to represent the fact that he’s missing a piece of the puzzle, when he discovers the piece, his head is positioned in the middle of a circle of knives covering up the hole in the middle signifying he’s filled the hole and solved the puzzle. 

     Knives Out is a well acted, well directed, mess. The more you think about the film, the less it makes sense. It’s an unsatisfying fake, worse Clue, that tries too hard. 


[My grade for Knives Out is a C]