If you’ve been looking for a good Rian Johnson whodunit, look no further than Knives Out. It starts out as a conventional whodunit that veers into a personal drama centered on a Latina daughter of undocumented immigrants. As the plot arc drags on, the film loses focus on clue-gathering as it weaves in social commentary on liberal hypocrisy, inherited wealth, and class warfare. As it draws to a close, however, it reveals itself as an incisive parable and one of the most politically-minded films of the year.
The movie’s plot revolves around a dysfunctional family in New England. The wealthy writer Harlan Thrombey and his extended family live off the literary success of their patriarch, played by Christopher Plummer. Eventually, Harlan Thrombey is found dead on the night of his 85th birthday. The murder is a bizarre accident that leaves his family in a tangle of emotions. The movie is a compelling and highly entertaining mystery that will have you returning to see it again.
While “Knives Out” may not have a sophisticated plot, it does boast an impressive cast and a noirish aesthetic. The film is a mashup of two different types of mysteries, involving a murder and an attempted murder. This satirizes both the nefarious and the ethical aspects of both. As a bonus, it uses clever allegories – such as the game of Go – to make its point.