I am an unabashed Rian Johnson fan. His first three films, Brick, The Brothers Bloom, and Looper, are part of my permanent library. I’m not sure why Disney thought it would be a good idea to have him lead a Star Wars main line film, but I admire what he tried to do, dragging the franchise in a new and unexpected direction. Knives Out is a return to what Johnson does best: Twisty little stories about people who’ve made bad choices.
I don’t mean to say that Knives Out is one of those mysteries that misleads you every step of the way. In fact, it’s one of those that lays out nearly everything you need to know, just may be you don’t realize it at the time. If you’ve seen the trailer for it, you know that a veritable wreath of murder weapons is in view for much of the film. The rules of drama dictate that something should happen, but how? Is it just a rack of red herrings?
The dialog is sharp, and yet realistic. The acting is enthusiastic, and yet not inhumanly hammy. The set is gothic, and yet not baroque. The detective is smart, and yet not brilliant. The protagonist is a good person, and yet not an angel. The script is funny, and yet not comedic. This movie walks the finest tightropeimaginable, and it never wobbles.
Each time I watch a Rian Johnson film, I feel like had I never watched one before, I’d go back and find out what I’ve been missing. See this one. Watch his other films. Look forward to the shape of the plot. Pay attention. I promise you will find the experience rewarding.