‘Knives Out’ is criminally fun — our spoiler-free review

Naturally, Knives Out was one movie that I had been looking forward to watching. (Yes, because of Chris Evans. Of course.) But apart from Evans, look at the rest of the cast: Daniel Craig (A Kid in King Arthur’s Court), Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis (Freaky Friday), Michael Shannon (Pearl Harbor), Don Johnson (Blood & Oil), Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta), Katherine Langford (Avengers: Endgame), Jaeden Martell and Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music). With these big names, why wouldn’t I want to watch it? 

And with big names come equally big performances. Both on paper and on screen, each of the chosen actors were pointedly perfect. But, if at knife-point, three actors stood out—Craig and de Armas are at the very top of the list.

It’s refreshing to see Craig, who plays Detective Benoit Blanc, step out of his James Bond mold and prove himself an actor. He clearly had fun in this role, embracing an OTT (but utterly enjoyable) accent (Logan Lucky, anyone?) and fulfilling every detective trope.

On the other hand, the entire movie hangs on de Armas, who plays Harlan Thrombey’s (Christopher Plummer) caregiver Marta Cabrera. She’s unrecognizable from her previous high-profile role as Joi in Blade Runner 2049. (Not that she wasn’t good in 2049—she was.)

And then at the tip, there’s Evans, who has gone from playing America’s ass to America’s asshole (the wonderfully named Hugh Ransom Drysdale). With more days as Captain America behind him, it had been a while since we got to see Evans play someone so vile and he does it so well.

Know what else he does so well? Wear those sweaters deliciously. It’s almost illegal.

Photo: Entertainment Weekly

This is one of those movies where you root for the bad guys. In this case, Harlan’s entire family is guilty. Of course, you’re grieving the dead (it’s fucking Christopher Plummer), but you also can’t help but root for every single one of them, even Don Johnson’s Richard Drysdale, whose motive is arguably a cut above the rest. (Okay, no, I lied. It’s tied with everyone else.)

Actors aside, the script is sharply written. Rian Johnson, who wrote your most favorite (or most hated) Star Wars movie The Last Jedi (most favorite for me), keeps you on the edge throughout his star-studded murder party. His screenplay will also stab at your stomach with how witty it is (see: Blanc’s doughnut hole analogy). Fans of murder mysteries (and current political and social satire) will feel right at home at Thrombey Estate.

Overall, the movie is fun—criminally fun. It’s a heightened take on a Clue gameboard, with a dark, rich palette of 1970s. Knives Out isn’t just a satisfying whodunnit; it’s a well-written whydunnit, striking chords that will resonate long after you finish the end of the credits.

Just to be right to the point, Knives Out is like a doughnut. The best doughnut in the world. And, like a doughnut, it’s a treat that you just can’t resist.

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