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First Look: Knives Out

One of most crime aficionados’ very favourite sub-genres is the whodunit. We just can’t get enough of those complicated and complex stores that pit us against the detective, challenging us to solve the puzzle before the professionals.

The queen in this area is, of course, the legendary Agatha Christie. She perfected the style and her work accounts for many small and big screen whodunits down the years – the most recent of which was Sir Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. Soon we’ll be able to add another film to the list, the exciting-looking Knives Out from one of Hollywood’s most creative and capable directors, Rian Johnson (Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi).

Described as a ‘neo-noir black comedy’ and ‘a modern take on the whodunit murder mystery’, early word is that this star-studded movie looks set to subvert the genre as much as much as embrace it. Whether that makes for an affectionate love letter to the whodunit or more of a satirical lampooning, we’ll have to wait and see.

What’s the plot of Knives Out?

So what do we know so far? Well, the plot is – as you might imagine – a rather simple and familiar one. A family gathering ends in murder. Everyone there is a suspect and it’s up to a pair of detectives to work out who’s responsible…

Rian Johnson’s full feature debut as a director was Brick, a low key noirish detective story starring Joseph Gordon Levitt, so we know the man behind the project loves this kind of thing. He’s mentioned a slew of classic mystery books and films as influences on his new flick, including Death on the Nile, Murder by Death, Something’s Afoot, Deathtrap, Gosford Park and The Private Eyes.

Is there a Knives Out film trailer?

Here’s the official trailer:

Who’s in the cast of Knives Out?

As we can see, looking into the case are a couple of sleuths in the shape of Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc and Lakeith Stanfield as Detective Lieutenant Elliot.

Christopher Plummer plays Harlan Thrombey, the grandfather and patriarch of the family. It’s his 85th birthday the relatives have gathered to celebrate, and as a special birthday gift he finds himself bumped off.

Jamie Lee Curtis stars as Harlan’s eldest daughter, Linda, and Don Johnson as her husband Richard. Further cast and family members include the likes of Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Katherine Langford and Jaeden Martell.

A quicker way of describing the film might be, ‘Cluedo. With Bond and Captain America.’ But Knives Out certainly sounds intriguing and the trailer gives the impression that this is all set to be a rather classy affair with a frankly quite incredible cast of players.

So we’ve got high hopes for Knives Out. It looks like a solid concept with fresh invention and ideas mixed in. Let’s hope the critics don’t have to get their knives out for it when it’s released later this year.

Knives Out will be showing in a cinema near you from 25 November 2019. It looks a cut above, so be sharp and don’t miss it.

Steve Charnock

Steve Charnock is a freelance writer who writes news stories, features, articles, reviews and lists. But *always* forgets to write his mum a birthday card.

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1 Comment

    Perhaps the most over-hyped film I have ever seen, not helped by Craig’s appallingly inconsistent accent; consequently, it is a grating distraction throughout.

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