Monday Movies – 03/08/2020

This week we’ve only done one movie, as Phil wanted to use his movie night to continue watching Gangs of London, a series on Sky Atlantic he’s really enjoying. So it was up to me to pick a good one for Saturday night, and I went for something a bit different than usual for me.

Knives Out (2019) written and directed by Rian Johnson, is a who-dunnit with an all star cast. Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Chris Evans and Ana de Armas.

Plummer plays a famous and very wealthy mystery novelist Harlan Thromby, De Armas is his nurse, and the rest of the luminaries just mentioned are his family, except for Craig who plays Benoit Blanc, a private detective. The main plot point is that Harland is found dead, his throat cut, on the night of his 85th birthday party, which all his family attended. The police, (Lakeith Stanfield and Noah Segan) believe it’s suicide, but someone, we don’t know who, has mysteriously hired Blanc to investigate Harlan’s demise.

Really you don’t need much more than that to keep things spoiler free. If you’ve ever read/seen Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot, Jessica Whatserface (Murder She Wrote) then you have a fair idea of the structure. It is of course, a pastiche of the genre, and the cast obviously enjoyed their roles in the movie.

The critics loved it, David Rooney- of the Hollywood Reporter described the film as an “ingeniously plotted, tremendously entertaining and deviously irreverent crowd-pleaser” and “a treat from start to finish,” praising the film’s script, the throwbacks to the murder mysteries of the 1970s, and the actors’ performances

And lots of others said similar. Underlining the movie is commentary on the race relations in America which didn’t go unnoticed. Ram Bergman, the co-producer of Knives Out and Johnson’s longtime collaborator, says that the sociopolitical elements of the film were essential from its infancy. 

Phil and I are not ‘whodunnit’ people, never been into Murder on the Orient Express and suchlike, so although we appreciated the acting, and the scene setting, it didn’t really float our boats, but for anyone who is, I should think this is an excellent addition to the genre. Johnson keeps the pace going so the movie never flags, but we felt at 2 hrs 10 mins it was about 20 minutes too long, and needed a little trimming towards the end. It isn’t easy to spot the killer to start with and there’s a few twists and red herrings along the way, though I guessed before the denouement who it was. Like all whodunnits the detective gathers everyone together in the room and explains his findings eventually pointing to the murderer, and that’s where it fell down a bit for me, it went on too long, and his OTT Southern American accent (according to Craig based on some historian guy called Shelby Foote) did make for hard going sometimes.

I’m going to give it 4 stars anyway as it was so well filmed and acted, but not one I’d bother seeing again.

22 Comments

  1. Shelby Foote is a well known authority on the American Civil War, and has an accent I could listen to all day. I don’t like to think of someone murdering it. Everyone loved this film, but I might stick with an episode of David Suchet as Poirot.
    Shelby is quite old in this short clip.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly this might sound very petty, but this director ruined the Star Wars franchise for me, so I’m not very eager to watch any of his movies anymore. That said, this one did get a lot of good reviews, and most people really loved it. I’m not a huge fan of these types of movies either but if it lands on Netflix at some point, I might give it a go.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked this movie, it gave me some laughs and kind of reminded me of Clue from the 80s, but I see all your points at the same time. And I do have a lot of Shelby Foote’s books, I didn’t realize that’s where the accent came from.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really liked this one but I am a fan of whodunnits and Rian Johnson so I figured I would! I definitely am glad to hear you appreciated it even though you are not fans of the genre. It is really well crafted as all of Johnson’s stuff is! Looking forward to next week’s offerings!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed it you know. But I have to agree, DC’s accent made me want to press mute sometimes.
    I loved the whole feel of it, though…the ‘mis en scene’ if you’ll forgive my film student arty farty lingo coming out! 🀣❀️

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.