“Knives Out” (2019)

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Title: Knives Out

Director: Rian Johnson

Rating: Mystery / Whodunit

My Rating: 2/5

I’m well aware that this movie, which was graciously lent to me by a colleague, is not a horror movie. It can barely be described as a thriller, actually, given that it doesn’t really seem to even make a stab (har de har) at building suspense. No, Knives Out is a good, old-fashioned whodunit, with nods to classics from the genre. Knives Out also, coincidently, has a “stellar” cast of famous faces, a huge budget – $40 million – and a 97% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And it seems I may be the cheese that stands alone here, but it’s overall impression on me was one of… tediousness.

No doubt about it, this is a beautiful looking film. It really taps into the old school, Cluedo, Agatha Christie drama of the situation. Characters dress sharply, individually defined and archetypical. It’s set in a foreboding, gothic manor where squeaky staircases and potential weapons abound. The direction and filmography is stylish and engrossing (although I could do without all the slow-mo). The acting is high camp and melodramatic- which is wholly acceptable given the genre. Toni Collette is a gem that must be protected at all costs.

And yet. And yet… this movie lost me. It lost me after 40 minutes, which is a bad sign given that it has a long run-time of over two hours. I disliked knowing the victim’s cause of death so early on in the movie, and every other twist that came afterwards just felt a bit underwhelming. The final ‘baddie’ was disappointing, as their motive didn’t feel convincing.

Recommended for fans for Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, and gothic manor interior design. Not recommending viewing otherwise.


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