Knives Out Is The Good Old-Fashioned Whodunnit Cinema Needs Right Now
It would be impossible to mention the theme of Knives Out without drawing an instant link to another cinematic murder mystery that, stylish and faithful to its source material as it was, arrived in cinemas back in 2017 with all the impact of a Homer Simpson right-cross — Murder on the Orient Express.
Orient Express dropped as the Marvel Cinematic Universe was reaching its hey day with Taika Waititi's superhero masterpiece that was Thor: Ragnarok, and as a result, never really stood a chance. In reality, it even lost out on its opening weekend to Daddy's Home 2, but that's another matter entirely.
But things have changed since then. You could argue that movie buffs have had perhaps the most intense 18 months in recent cinematic history. We've had Captain Marvel, two Avengers movies, and whatever the DC Universe has half-heartedly thrown out to try and keep up. We've had another Incredibles film, another Toy Story film, another Jurassic World, another Star Wars, and the dual sensory assaults that were Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman.
As good as it's been, it's also exhausting, and it doesn't show any signs of letting up yet. Spider-Man: Far From Home has already cemented itself as a must-watch, as has Quentin Tarantino's love-letter to LA, Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood, starring the highly acclaimed acting chops of Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Which is why the upcoming release of star-stacked murder mystery Knives Out has come along at just the right time. Directed by Star Wars' Rian Johnson, it stars perhaps one of the most charming line-ups in recent movie history, with Daniel Craig (who we didn't even know would be free) and his glorious southern colonel accent joining ex-Captain America Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Toni Colette, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Christopher Plummer as a family patriarch who very quickly gets iced, setting the film's events — which basically boil down to Cluedo — into motion.
What ensues after that is a good old-fashioned whodunnit, wrapped up snugly in a two-hour package, far from the True Crime dramas over in TV land that often prove themselves as taxing to watch as anything you'll ever watch in a movie.
It's get-comfy, let the charm consume you, good old-fashioned cinema, and the chance to indulge in a bit of cinematic fun for a couple of hours. Like a warm massage for the senses and a tonic for the nerves, best enjoyed in a recliner.
Already the film has premiered to positive reviews, generating a lot of buzz at Toronto International Film Festival and boasting a score of 98 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes. As Entertainment Weekly reports, the film is "a silly, stabby, supremely clever whodunnit that only really suffers from having too little room for each of its talented players to fully register in the film's limited run time."
As Chernobyl proved, we're still suckers for a (relatively) simple story told extremely well, and despite the cinematic degustation we've been through over the last couple of years — all of which has been designed to inflame the emotions and shock the senses — Knives Out is a welcome return back to the familiar storytelling that so many people enjoyed back in the days of Poirot, Morse, and Frost.