'Knives Out' is funny and clever with a delicious plot
FILM REVIEW: KNIVES OUT (PG), THE LIGHT CINEMA WISBECH, OUT NOW
STARRING: DANIEL CRAIG, CHRIS EVANS, ANA DE ARMAS, JAMIE LEE CURTIS, DON JOHNSON, TONI COLLETTE AND CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER.
RUNNING TIME: 2 HRS 10 MINS DIRECTOR: RAIN JOHNSON.
Imagine mixing together the best bits of every 'whodunnit' you've ever seen, adding a subtle slice of comedy and a whole bunch of great actors. If you did, you'd probably get something along the lines of this wonderful movie.
It's your classic Agatha Christie-type story, set in a mansion, beginning with a murder and a set of characters who have reason to commit it. The plot is delicious, there are some great twists, the acting is superb and it's all gilded with wicked humour.
When famous crime writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate on the night of his 85th birthday celebrations, famous detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is called to the house.
The police think it's a straight case of suicide, but the mystery person who enlisted Blanc obviously disagrees and the detective soon finds out most members of Harlan's dysfunctional family have motive to take the old man's life.
Most of the film takes place in the mansion, but we are given a ridiculous car chase and a warehouse rendezvous as all the thriller boxes are delightfully ticked.
Craig hams it up superbly as Blanc, calling traits on Poirot, Columbo and even Kojak, as he interviews the occupants of the house one by one and is thrown red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind the 'murder'.
Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt have all shown making fun of yourself doesn't alter your status as a great actor, and Craig looks like he's having the time of his life.
His relationship and chemistry with demure, shy, immigrant family nurse Marta Cabrera, played wonderfully by Ana de Armas, is integral to the film's success. His overblown classic detective characteristics are matched by how sweet, insecure and innocent she is. Both blowing stereotypes up to 100 per cent. The family love her but cannot event remember which country she's from. She couldn't have done it, surely?
And Marta's weakness, what happens to her when she lies, is also integral to the plot. As ridiculous (and sometimes funny) as it is, it's believable when you're so invested in the film and crowns the superb ending. It's only when walking to your car afterwards that you stop and think how silly the whole thing was!
Craig and de Armas will play totally different characters in the next James Bond film No Time To Die and I cannot wait to see them in it.
Also pivotal to this film's success is Captain America himself, Chris Evans, who thrives in the role of family black sheep and all-round smooth bad boy Ransom Drysdale. He nails the role of the villain you love to hate, and love a little bit too, despite yourself.
And when you've got stars such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette and Don Johnson playing supporting roles (superbly) you know the film must be a winner.
It's clever, funny, intriguing and keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end. I defy anyone not to enjoy it.
By Jeremy Ransome
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