[Review] Knives Out

by Lindsay Wong

‘Knives Out’ is both mysterious and compelling – it will leave you wondering and second-guessing about who’s the killer. The film is centred around the death of Harlan Thrombey, a wealthy 85-year-old author. Although his death was deemed a suicide, it seems like there is foul play surrounding his death, especially by his multiple children and grandchildren, who are eyeing his wealth and legacy. 

The star-studded cast is one reason for audiences to be attracted to this film. With the likes of Daniel Craig (James Bond) and Chris Evans (Captain America) at the forefront, the movie seems promising from the get-go.

Craig plays Benoit Blanc, a detective who receives an anonymous request to investigate Harlan’s supposed “suicide”. Evans plays Harlan’s mysterious grandson Ransom, who seems to have ulterior motives throughout the movie. Harlan’s children – Linda, Walt, Richard, and Joni, all played by renowned actors and actresses – mainly see their father as a source of money, which makes them seem like two-dimensional characters. Meanwhile, Harlan’s caretaker Marta, an immigrant from South America who works to support her family, is the only character who truly cares about Harlan and develops a close relationship with him. ‘Knives Out’ focuses primarily on her role in Harlan’s death.

Just like a classic mystery, the film takes place in a massive mansion, secluded in the outskirts of a small town, which sets the mysterious atmosphere for the whole movie. The music creates an air of suspicion, heightening tensions between all the characters, especially as they start doubting each other. From this movie, it is evident that big families invite a lot of drama. The turning point of the movie takes place when the family members attend Harlan’s will-reading. This surprising turn of events changed the dynamics of everyone’s relationships with each other. The family’s hostilities definitely amps up the drama, specifically when sorting out Harlan’s will, which makes it more fun to watch.

‘Knives Out’ also highlights important current social issues in the US, particularly the struggle of foreign immigrants. Throughout the film, Marta’s status as a foreign immigrant who travelled to the US for a better life is brought up multiple times. The characters, especially Harlan, acknowledge this fact and don’t look down on her because of it, which is something that his children do. Even though ‘Knives Out’ is a mystery with dark themes, dark humour and funny scenes are sprinkled throughout the movie, so it is light-hearted at times. This makes it even more enjoyable to watch. 

Any fans of mysteries filled with family drama accompanied by a star-studded cast will enjoy ‘Knives Out’. The continuous guessing of who’s behind Harlan’s suicide will keep the audience on the edge of their seat.