What a smashing film this is, and what a stunning ensemble cast.
“Knives Out” is a laugh-aloud murder mystery that seems to be constantly sending itself up, with every genre and cliche in the book thrown joyfully into the mix.
We have a rich, famous man celebrating his 85th birthday.
We have his greedy, self-serving family.
We have a large country house. Obviously.
The house has a lot of creaky stairs. Also obviously.
We have a devoted immigrant carer.
And to top it all, we have very genial but bumbling local cops and a savvy, old-school private detective.
Harlem Thromby, the patriarch of a dysfunctional family, dies the night of his 85th birthday party, and though the family and the local cops agree it is suicide, the private detective, Benoit Blanc, suspects murder.
The thing is, no-one, including Benoit Blanc, knows who hired Benoit Blanc to investigate.
There are twists and turns aplenty, and Mr. Blanc, the southern-drawly, cigar-chomping detective (brilliantly played by a brilliant Daniel Craig) soon enlists the help of the dead man’s carer, Marta, a Hispanic immigrant.
The Thromby family constantly tell Marta that she is part of the family, while consistently failing to remember which country she is from – one of several running gags in the film.
There are delicious moments – while discussing racism and illegal immigration into the USA in front of Marta, one of the family automatically hands his plate to her, treating the qualified nurse as a maid.
There isn’t an overt political agenda in the movie, but it is telling that the only person who seems to care for and genuinely grieve for Harlem is his nurse, Marta.
Such a fun film.
We laughed a lot.
We didn’t guess the ending, which is clever. (Don’t worry, I wouldn’t dream of plot-spoiling such a happy film).
Everyone is excellently cast, though Daniel Craig steals the show with his southern drawl and his tweedy demeanour.
Ana de Armas is lovely and likeable and beautiful as the morally upright Marta. She’s also a lousy liar.
Jamie Lee Curtis is great.
Ditto Christopher Plummer.
And as for K.Callan as the almost silent great-grandmother…she’s hilarious.