"Oh, I haven’t even heard of that movie" is what everyone has been saying to me while I’ve raved up and down about this film. But "Knives Out," inspired by Agatha Christie mysteries and starring impressive leads like Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Lakeith Stanfield, Christopher Plummer and more, is easily a must-see. From its hilarity right at the onset to the way it keeps you guessing long after you thought you’d figured it out, its current 97 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating doesn’t lie.
"Knives Out" is a satirical whodunnit that makes Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston’s recent "Murder Mystery" look even worse than it did before; I first believed that two mystery killer films released within a few months of each other was a sorry mistake, but that school of thought does a severe disservice to "Knives Out" (seriously, that Netflix flop doesn’t measure up in the slightest). "Knives Out" is actually mysterious, intelligent, current and laugh-out-loud masterful.
Following the Thrombey family in the fallout of patriarch Harlan (Plummer)’s death, detectives infiltrate the clan’s (massive) house and (dysfunctional) home to learn the true circumstances surrounding the situation. The plot itself is clever without getting over-complicated, and the writing is electric, making the movie classic entertainment from the start.
The film first screened at this year's Toronto Film Festival to rave, rave, rave reviews. Though director Rian Johnson enjoyed his stint in the land of feature films with "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" in 2017, he’s most familiar with indies, so "Knives Out" was right in his wheelhouse -- and then some.
"Knives Out" employed its cast brilliantly: For example, please refer to Chris Evans In a Cable Knit Sweater:
But beyond wardrobe glory, the best part about the film’s casting was that despite the obvious ringleaders of the mix, the protagonist of the film is Cuban actress Ana de Armas. Even in the promos and movie poster, de Armas doesn’t seem like the frontrunner of the story. While this may lead to surprise over her level of involvement in the film (or maybe her position out of the spotlight immediately tuned you in), the choice to cast de Armas in a starring role among a film full of stars was brilliant both because we need more Latina leads in Hollywood and because she’s a fan-effing-tastic actress.
It’s not just anyone that can actually sell a certain...affliction as de Armas does throughout the movie. This I refuse to spoil.
Of her role as caregiver Marta Cabrera, de Armas told Variety that she was most glad to see her character accurately represented in a way that strengthened her culture.
"These characters don’t exist. They’re rare," de Armas said. "It’s just almost impossible to see -- or at least the previous Latina, Spanish-speaking parts that I’ve seen before, they’ve really not necessarily had the best qualities or possibilities. Or they don’t really reflect our community or our strengths."
Craig’s character, meanwhile, is an absolute enigma. Is he supposed to be ridiculous? Brilliant? Ridiculously brilliant? Well, yes.
Craig comes in as a detective who is mysteriously hired by an anonymous party to look into the death in question. It’s an obvious role for 007 (Craig will personify James Bond for what he’s hinted will be the final time since 2005 in next year’s “No Time to Die”), but what he does with it is almost too cringey to be good.
Alas, it’s great, due in part to his tireless commitment to whatever accent he adopts to bring Detective Benoit Blanc to life.
It’s a Southern accent, but in a way that someone who’s never heard Craig speak would know that it’s an accent -- which is to say that it’s hideous. But even as bad as it was, it thoroughly added to the comedy of Detective Blanc. Keep an ear out for his doughnut rant.
The depth of the accent, a take on Southern historian Shelby Foote, apparently, was a Craig idea, something he ran with after reading a note in the script.
"Literally, there is a line that says Benoit Blanc...has the subtlest and silkiest of Southern accents. So, I ignored that and did what I did," Craig said to Variety.
Apparently he did something right, because Johnson’s expressed his desire to do a sequel with Craig using Benoit as the focus.
"If this movie does alright, if I can get together with Daniel every few years and do a new Benoit Blanc mystery? New location, new cast, new mystery. It’d be so much fun," Johnson told ScreenRant.
So, this may not be the last we hear of Craig’s weird-*ss Southern accent. Lucky us!
"Knives Out" hits theaters Nov. 27.