A spoiler free review of Knives Out

Harry Kwon

Knives Out is a 2019 murder mystery that begins with the death of  renowed mystery author Harlan Thrombey, shortly after his 85th birthday party. A private investigator named Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is then hired by an anonymous member of the family to investigate the death, and he quickly begins questioning all members of the family and staff to uncover the truth behind the lies and red herrings told to him by suspects.

To put it simply, the movie is excellent, balancing comedy, suspense, and social commentary brilliantly. Starting with the most minor of these aspects, the comedy used very well to both relieve tension and add a sense of lightheartedness to characters. Daniel Craig acting as the southern gentleman detective is a fantastic recipe for comedy, displaying Craig’s incredible acting ability to fit in any role no matter the accent, dialect, or mannerisms. The comedy however is something they chose to include over more dramatic and suspenseful scenes, making the overall mood more upbeat and casual than intense and mysterious. This contrasts the movie from most murder , and depending on your taste in genre you may find this dissapionting, or you may find it a pleasent suprise. However, having said that there is a lack of suspense, not all of it was intentional. Two specific scenes come to mind, one that was meant to insight excitement and one that was meant to create fear. Neither of these scenes really accomplished that, and in fact both of them felt played out and predictable (However I must note that this problem rarely occurs in the movie, and that the plot as a whole is very twisty and unpredictable). This makes the points of high action feel slightly boring, although eventful. Overall the unpredictable twists and deceptive nature of the plot does make for a good murder mystery, and even though it’s not very dramatic and serious the fun and lighthearted aspects of it make it very enjoyable.

To finish this review I will discuss the social commentary the movies brings. The movie shows each member of the family claiming to be self made, when in reality they rely almost entirely on their father’s wealth. Any sort of business success any of them had can be traced back to their father’s wealth, demonstrating how almost all “self-made” entrepreneurs were able to achieve the success they did be coming from a wealthy background that provides them unfair advantages and a fall back. They also showed how this fall back works, and how and individual with wealthy parents can be a complete failure and still live in comfortably. Another aspect of this generational wealth they expressed was shown in the grandchildren. They showed two politically opposite grandchildren, and displayed how they excess of wealth in their life allowed them to pursue degrees and goals that aren’t options for young adults who need to make a living off their degree. Overall, an interesting commentary, but not anything groundbreaking or new.