Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas
Release Date: February 25, 2020
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 10/10
The circumstances surrounding the death of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey are mysterious, but there’s one thing that renowned Detective Benoit Blanc knows for sure—everyone in the wildly dysfunctional Thrombey family is a suspect. Now, Blanc must sift through a web of lies and red herrings to uncover the truth. From acclaimed writer-director Rian Johnson comes this suspenseful, twist-filled whodunnit with an all-star ensemble cast including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer, and more.
‘Knives Out’ invites viewers into the home of famous crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Plummer) to join the detectives currently investigating his death. With an eccentric array of family members, any of whom could be the culprit; renowned detective Benoit Blanc (Craig) begins weaving his way through the various facts, tales and questionable individuals lurking about, only to discover that everyone seems to have some degree of motive. Enlisting the help of the deceased’s caretaker (de Armas), Blanc must navigate the twists and turns presented and sift through it all as only he can in order to eventually uncover the truth.
Written and directed by talented filmmaker Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi) who does an outstanding job at the helm of ‘Knives Out’ guiding along the clever, mystery centered fun with a clear passion for the material and genre itself. The film also benefits hugely from the powerhouse cast that features numerous talented stars and includes Daniel Craig (Skyfall), Chris Evans (Avengers: Endgame), Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049), Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween), Michael Shannon (The Iceman), Don Johnson (TV’s Watchmen), Toni Collette (Hereditary), LaKeith Stanfield (Uncut Gems), Katherine Langford (TV’s 13 Reasons Why), Jaeden Martell (IT Chapter 1 & 2) and Christopher Plummer (All The Money in the World) along with more, nearly all offering solid (and in many cases even quite noteworthy) performances in each of their respective roles that do wonders in helping this one reach cinematic perfection.
‘Knives Out’ is a clever, fast moving and massively entertaining ride that brings back the mystery classics of old, channeling the likes of Agatha Christie and other mystery favorites to bring you one of the most beautifully crafted whodunits in recent memory. With a gorgeous and expansive setting for the fun to play out amid and a family populated by shady individuals who each seem to have plenty of secrets and hidden motives for the crime, then placing a lovable detective at its center portrayed flawlessly by the talented Daniel Craig. As a result ‘Knives Out’ is nothing short of perfect and also quite likely the most delightfully enjoyable film of last year. It’s a rare treat in cinema these days that never falters or misses a beat. This smart whodunit is guided along flawlessly by noteworthy filmmaker Rian Johnson and his work behind the camera is perfectly complimented by a star-studded cast that includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas and many more, most of which help tremendously to make this one work so smoothly. I would thoroughly urge everyone who hasn’t already had the pleasure of this immensely enjoyable gem to go out of your way to check out ‘Knives Out’ at your earliest convenience. It’s a magnificent piece of cinema that pays homage to classic whodunits of old and comes together into one of the most entertaining and rewarding film outings in some time. This is a true modern masterpiece that you definitely won’t want to even think about overlooking.
Overall, ‘Knives Out’ is a smart, funny and just plain marvelous whodunit that channels similar murder mysteries of old. It weaves a clever tale with a fun mystery at its center and takes every advantage of its noteworthy (and immensely talented) cast to offer up one of the absolute best films of last year and a movie that’s definitely well worth making the time for. I can’t possibly recommend ‘Knives Out’ highly enough. It’s a truly phenomenal piece of filmmaking with an engaging premise at its core and a great deal of fun to be had throughout its duration. This one definitely shouldn’t have any trouble proving well worth the price of a rental and a couple hours of your time at the absolute least, and don’t be terribly surprised if you also find yourself wanting to purchase a copy shortly thereafter.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Knives Out’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic and offers a smooth, colorful and beautifully detailed presentation from start to finish with no notable issues or problems to be uncovered along the way. It holds up quite nicely even during the various darkly lit and heavily populated moments, never allowing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible at any point. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Lionsgate that should thoroughly please fans of the film and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack doesn’t disappoint and delivers a clean, crisp and frequently active audio presentation throughout. While it may not be an outright auditory assault like many big blockbusters these days, it continually takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to compliment the ambience by sending music, nature activity and bits of dialogue along with more throughout the various speakers whenever appropriate, and never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a solid Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that repeatedly delivers in every necessary while nicely complimenting the onscreen fun throughout.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Knives Out’ offers an impressive collection of bonus content featuring hours of supplemental material that fans should thoroughly appreciate. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rian Johnson, Director of Photography Steve Yedlin and Actor Noah Segan’ as well as an ‘In-Theater Commentary with Rian Johnson’. Also included are a couple ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film with optional commentary by Rian Johnson (running approximately 5 minutes in length combined) and the Multi-part Making of Documentary ‘Making A Murder’ (running approximately 114 minutes) which takes an in-depth look at bringing the film to life, featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and much more. We are also treated to the brief Featurette ‘Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder’ (approximately 6 minutes) and a ‘Director and Cast Q & A’ (approximately 42 minutes). The release also features a ‘Marketing Gallery’ which consists of 4 ‘Trailers’ for the movie (approximately 7 minutes altogether) and 3 ‘Meet The Thrombey’s Viral Ads’ (approximately 2 minutes in total).