A detective investigates the death of a patriarch of an eccentric, combative family.
Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) lies dead in a pool of his own blood, the victim of a single knife slash to his throat. The wealthy author is discovered the morning after his 85th birthday party sprawled on a sofa in his country manor, much like the victims of his celebrated crime fiction. Was it by his own hand as the police seem to think, or was it at the hands of one of his family members, as suspects Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig employing a less than convincing Southern drawl)?
For two hours Star Wars and Looper writer/director Rian Johnson spins a wild and wacky tale as he picks apart alibis, motives and emotional failings of the dysfunctional family to deduce how Thrombey met his fate.
An all-star cast including Jamie Lee Curtis (Harlan’s daughter Linda), Don Johnson (Linda’s husband Richard), Michael Shannon (Harlan’s son Walt) and Chris Evans (Richard and Linda’s son “Ransom”) and Toni Collette (Harlan’s daughter-in-law Joni) are clearly having a ball working with the witty dialogue in this fun crime caper.
It’s received near unanimous praise worldwide, but for me Daniel Craig’s southern drawl was a quite a distraction and the story dragged towards the end coming to a conclusion. Craig at times felt like he was channelling Kevin Spacey’s speech patterns from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, House of Cards or Baby Driver, and given the script references Baby Driver and has cast Christopher Plummer (who replaced Spacey in All the Money in the World), I felt something may have fallen over behind the scenes. Craig doing Southern feels odd to me, but perhaps it is a thing now in the wake of his Logan Lucky character Joe Bang.
Knives Out “A Funny Whodunnit” 3 & ½ Stars