TIFF 2019: “Knives Out” Review by Demetri Panos

TIFF 2019: “Knives Out” Review

Knives Out is a diabolically madcap whodunnit. Rian Johnson writes and directs one of the years’ best and most entertaining movies. The films’ sharp-edged wit, mystery, and pace will have you guessing and laughing from beginning to end. Daniel Craig’s performance could garner the thespian his first Academy Award nomination. As Detective Benoit Blanc, an amalgamation of Hercules Poirot and Columbo, Craig soars. He’s hired to solve the mystery of who killed billionaire mystery author Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Plummer looks like he’s having his most fun and many more movies left in the film tin.

The rich supporting cast, which includes Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Dan Johnson, and Michael Shannon is a stellar ensemble cast. It’s amazing that many, if not all, of the aforementioned, are leading stars in their own right but step up as supporting characters, for what is a really good mystery without its suspects? Lead actress, Ana de Armas best known for Blade Runner 2049, not only holds her own against these veterans but holds the movie together.

Rian Johnson’s screenplay is rife with classic movie and television mystery re-call which is a significant part of Knives Out charm. Blend in a bit of Hitchcock with Neil Simon and you get the feel of what Knives Out is. Johnson took great care in making sure the mystery makes sense too. Not to worry, it doesn’t fall into the classic move of withholding information until the very end. Johnson’s screenplay shows its cards so when the classic denouement happens, it all makes sense and the audience doesn’t feel cheated.  Look for Knives Out screenplay to garner a nomination as well.

Knives Out is no red herring. It is a throwback to a time when mysteries were popular. Knives Out doesn’t just take a stab at being an excellent mystery which it is. It is excellent movie-going entertainment, and that’s no mystery.

Written by
A close to 30 year veteran of the Movie Business Industry. Movie Reviewer for WBCN radio in Boston and the Boston Phoenix newspaper. Have worked in Distribution for the likes of Universal Pictures and Lionsgate. Exhibition working for Hoyts Cinemas and General Cinemas. Screen Credited Production work on the movie CONTACT. Have worked with the Historic TECHNICOLOR to help usher in the digital age of projection for Exhibitors. Well before it became Public Enemy #1, worked with MoviePass in working together with Exhibition to usher in Subscription Service for going to the movies. Demitri currently works for Market Force Information providing data/analytics for Studios and Exhibitors and is a Podcaster on The Popcorn Talk Networks MEET THE MOVIE PRESS and ANATOMY OF A MOVIE.

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