Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

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mfunk9786
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#26 Post by mfunk9786 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:10 pm

Never Cursed wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:48 pm
New trailer
Another Knives Out trailer, another round of me being impossibly put off by Toni Collette and Chris Evans' unpleasantly hammy acting choices

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Big Ben
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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#27 Post by Big Ben » Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:26 pm

mfunk9786 wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 2:10 pm
Never Cursed wrote:
Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:48 pm
New trailer
Another Knives Out trailer, another round of me being impossibly put off by Toni Collette and Chris Evans' unpleasantly hammy acting choices
It not a very good trailer in my opinion. I actually thought it made everyone look hammy.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#28 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:50 pm

I like this one better, it feels a little more within Johnson's style where the other felt too close to parody.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#29 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Oct 26, 2019 2:03 am

Hey, turns out this was very good! Some of the more over the top moments in the trailer from an acting perspective are toned down, and thankfully the wonderful Ana de Armas is very much the lead of the film, which allows everyone else to play their characters without chewing up too much screen time. Johnson's a funny writer, and many jokes hit, but with a film like this it's always tough when some dialogue feels like it doesn't work - luckily these moments are a little few and far between. Likewise in the casting - almost everyone is excellent in their roles, but Toni Collette and Michael Shannon seem sort of miscast? Not that they aren't almost always appreciated when they're on screen, but I couldn't shake the idea that they seemed to be the wrong actors for their parts.

Anyway, there are references to a bunch of stuff here, up to and including Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, of all things - so it's clear that Johnson was essentially untethered and having as much fun as he possibly could. I didn't stick around for the Q&A, but he seemed very enthused about it in the introduction, and he should be - the writing and plotting is leaps and bounds better than The Brothers Bloom, and I hope he does more of this sort of stuff in the future if this film is as successful as I suspect it will be. Feels like it's going to be the year's surprise box office juggernaut. Try as I might, it's difficult to imagine a person who wouldn't enjoy it.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#30 Post by Finch » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:34 pm


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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#31 Post by Nasir007 » Sun Nov 24, 2019 1:35 am

This is a curious film. It is actually not what it is advertised to be. This is NOT a whodunit or a murder mystery. Certainly not in the traditional sense because
SpoilerShow
in fact it is revealed very early early on who does it - literally as soon as within Act 1 or the equivalent. The plot in actuality hinges on a common law legal technicality. Which is an interesting approach to the genre.

The script is certainly clever in portions. And to the movie's credit - the entire immigration or political angle feels organically integrated into the plot rather than being mere window dressing. But I did find the final reveal underwhelming - precisely because of the way it is structured. There is a dearth of intrigue because of the choice the movie makes to show its cards early on. I think perhaps holding on to the Act 1 reveal for longer might have helped generate more suspense.
The actors are all very entertaining and very good. Of course everyone is outrageously hamming - but that's part of the fun. They are all keyed into the tone Johnson is going for here. Johnson admirably keeps a light tone throughout. Some jokes are indeed hilarious.

You also have to admire the sense of social justice pervading the film that Johnson orchestrates. It is quite affirming - though I think that point could have been made more powerful by making a different casting choice for the lead role.

Overall this is fun but don't look too deep under the hood as it might fall apart if you subject it to too much scrutiny. It is harmless and for the most part entertaining.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#32 Post by Finch » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:23 pm


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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#33 Post by Finch » Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:13 pm


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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#34 Post by Nasir007 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:21 pm

Having given some thought to this - I have the following 3 questions behind even the premise of the film. The movie would only make sense if these 3 questions are unambiguously revolved. For the purpose of this inquiry, I am assuming the movie takes places in Massachusetts (which is where it was filmed and at least one publication has assumed that it is based) though I don't recall it being explicitly specified in the movie where it was based.
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1. When Harlan Trombey's body is discovered in the morning and it is established that he slit his own throat - would any other circumstance deter from the cause of death being ruled a suicide? (The other circumstance being - that he potentially might have been injected with a fatal dose of morphine by the nurse prior to him slitting his own throat.)
If the answer to this question is NO, then the movie makes no sense and you would have no story to tell.
If the answer to this question is YES, then we move on to the next question.
2. Assuming that the cause of death is established to be fatal dose of morphine - would there be any circumstance in which the nurse could be convicted of any criminal conduct in a civil or criminal court? (The other circumstances being lack of evidence to establish intent, the medicine bag has disappeared, the man slit his throat, she would have a sympathetic character and a consistent story to tell etc.)(The medicine bag even if discovered would be exculpatory evidence, not incriminating.)
If the answer to question is NO, then the movie does not make sense and you would have no story to tell.
If the answer to this question is YES, then we move on to the next question.
3. Assuming the nurse is convicted for harmful conduct in civil or criminal court, would the slayer rule inheritance laws of MA preclude her from inheriting Harlan's wealth?
If the answer to question is NO, then the movie does not make sense and you would have no story to tell.
If the answer to this question is YES, then the movie's premise makes sense.
I would be curious to see if anyone has any insight on these questions.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#35 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:08 pm

Nasir007 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:21 pm
SpoilerShow
1. When Harlan Trombey's body is discovered in the morning and it is established that he slit his own throat - would any other circumstance deter from the cause of death being ruled a suicide? (The other circumstance being - that he potentially might have been injected with a fatal dose of morphine by the nurse prior to him slitting his own throat.)
If the answer to this question is NO, then the movie makes no sense and you would have no story to tell.
If the answer to this question is YES, then we move on to the next question.
2. Assuming that the cause of death is established to be fatal dose of morphine - would there be any circumstance in which the nurse could be convicted of any criminal conduct in a civil or criminal court? (The other circumstances being lack of evidence to establish intent, the medicine bag has disappeared, the man slit his throat, she would have a sympathetic character and a consistent story to tell etc.)(The medicine bag even if discovered would be exculpatory evidence, not incriminating.)
If the answer to question is NO, then the movie does not make sense and you would have no story to tell.
If the answer to this question is YES, then we move on to the next question.
3. Assuming the nurse is convicted for harmful conduct in civil or criminal court, would the slayer rule inheritance laws of MA preclude her from inheriting Harlan's wealth?
If the answer to question is NO, then the movie does not make sense and you would have no story to tell.
If the answer to this question is YES, then the movie's premise makes sense.
I would be curious to see if anyone has any insight on these questions.
It was.. just a fun movie. There are plenty of good movies with a story to tell (most..?) that follow an internal logic rather than one applicable to a carbon copy of our world. Are you looking for a documentary?

The simple answer is
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the movie makes sense because someone sent Craig a bunch of money to look into the case and his character is a heartened eccentric detective who cares enough to play along. Perhaps the movie doesn't make sense because in real life he would have pocketed the money and no-showed since he got the cash up front?

The money and letter is what prompted the film's plot to occur. Otherwise it would be wrapped up. Since there's reasonable suspicion, and Craig's character pushes things along, the answers to your first question is yes because of that circumstance, but only because of that circumstance (this is literally what kicks off the plot of the movie). The answer to your second question, while I'm not a lawyer, is probably yes.. I mean it's like third degree murder or involuntary manslaughter or something, and definitely covering up evidence and a bunch of other charges, with Plummer unable to corroborate that he asked her to, because he is dead. But again, this movie isn't asking these questions because it's not trying to be anything other than an entertaining whodunit, which it is.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#36 Post by Nasir007 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:30 pm

For the sake of discussion I'll bite.

A logical movie is a not a documentary. There are plenty of logical movies that are not documentaries. Logic is not solely a quality exhibited by non-fiction films.
therewillbeblus wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:08 pm
Nasir007 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:21 pm
SpoilerShow
1. When Harlan Trombey's body is discovered in the morning and it is established that he slit his own throat - would any other circumstance deter from the cause of death being ruled a suicide? (The other circumstance being - that he potentially might have been injected with a fatal dose of morphine by the nurse prior to him slitting his own throat.)
If the answer to this question is NO, then the movie makes no sense and you would have no story to tell.
If the answer to this question is YES, then we move on to the next question.
2. Assuming that the cause of death is established to be fatal dose of morphine - would there be any circumstance in which the nurse could be convicted of any criminal conduct in a civil or criminal court? (The other circumstances being lack of evidence to establish intent, the medicine bag has disappeared, the man slit his throat, she would have a sympathetic character and a consistent story to tell etc.)(The medicine bag even if discovered would be exculpatory evidence, not incriminating.)
If the answer to question is NO, then the movie does not make sense and you would have no story to tell.
If the answer to this question is YES, then we move on to the next question.
3. Assuming the nurse is convicted for harmful conduct in civil or criminal court, would the slayer rule inheritance laws of MA preclude her from inheriting Harlan's wealth?
If the answer to question is NO, then the movie does not make sense and you would have no story to tell.
If the answer to this question is YES, then the movie's premise makes sense.
I would be curious to see if anyone has any insight on these questions.
It was.. just a fun movie. There are plenty of good movies with a story to tell (most..?) that follow an internal logic rather than one applicable to a carbon copy of our world. Are you looking for a documentary?

The simple answer is
SpoilerShow
the movie makes sense because someone sent Craig a bunch of money to look into the case and his character is a heartened eccentric detective who cares enough to play along. Perhaps the movie doesn't make sense because in real life he would have pocketed the money and no-showed since he got the cash up front?

The money and letter is what prompted the film's plot to occur. Otherwise it would be wrapped up. Since there's reasonable suspicion, and Craig's character pushes things along, the answers to your first question is yes because of that circumstance, but only because of that circumstance (this is literally what kicks off the plot of the movie). The answer to your second question, while I'm not a lawyer, is probably yes.. I mean it's like third degree murder or involuntary manslaughter or something, and definitely covering up evidence and a bunch of other charges, with Plummer unable to corroborate that he asked her to, because he is dead. But again, this movie isn't asking these questions because it's not trying to be anything other than an entertaining whodunit, which it is.
Now to address what you said -
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The someone you refer to who sent the money to Craig is Ransom (Evans) - which is why I asked these questions in the first place. The plot is triggered by his actions. The movie is basically Ransom's attempt to get his inheritance back after his plan A fails. His plan A was that the nurse would be convicted of killing Harlan (Plummer) and would have to give up her inheritance. His plan A thus hinges on my Question 2 and 3 above. If the answer to those questions is no, then even his original plan does not make sense (his original plan being switching the liquids).

Even if say it made sense, his Plan A was foiled by Harlan (Plummer) committing suicide. Thus the consequences of Harlan's suicide hinges on my Question 1. If the answer to that question is No, then there is absolutely no way the nurse could have been deprived of her inheritance in any way.

So here is the flaw that I think might exist in the movie's center - for all of Ransom's complex mechanisms - there was no circumstance under which the nurse's inheritance would be cancelled and he would not win back his inheritance under any situation whatsoever. So then what was the movie even about? About a totally pointless no-stakes conflict.
I hope I am able to articulate the flaw I found in the movie's premise.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#37 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:55 pm

For the record I agree that films can be logical, but that what matters more here is clearly the murder-mystery fantastical elements. Craig's character, the Clue references, the fact that Plummer's character is a famous mystery writer... it's all very obviously a self-reflexive genre movie, with internal logic holding weight rather than logic that applies to actual state laws. Now, that internal logic isn't going to allow for a unicorn to burst through the walls and unmask the murderer, but that doesn't mean it has to replicate reality to a T either.

You were able to explain yourself clearly there.
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It's implied in the final breakdown by Craig that these laws (or the film's ideas of these laws) would play out as you say, I believe, if Ransom's plan worked out. But enough mixups occurred to slip that up: her realization of the dose mix-up, his actual throat-slitting suicide, and ultimately her choosing to save a life rather than leave and implement herself in the maid's murder, as well as a good chunk in between. If anything, the most unbelievable moment is when Craig professes that she instinctively knew to give him the "right" medicine because she could feel it, as a testament to her caring sensibilities. But to your final question: the movie was "about" a fun, wild ride that had everybody, audiences and characters, twisting their minds and actions around in circles. Those were the stakes, more than the final explanation.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#38 Post by Nasir007 » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:18 pm

Not to belabor my point but the final explanation does not matter - what I am saying that the movie should not exist in the first place. Even granting that the answer to my question is Yes - there are huge logical fallacies in the film.
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1. Why would MA police randomly allow access to a private citizen claiming he got an anonymous tip. Even him being a celebrity detective or whatever, the police wouldn't accept him unless he was explicitly sanctioned by the family.
2. Why would the nurse confess about her potential criminality to Ransom - just randomly? When it is even established that the two only have a passing acquaintance if anything? The most human instinct that I recognize is self-preservation. Self-preservation above all. The nurse had sense enough to destroy evidence earlier in the day that might incriminate her but she suddenly confesses everything to almost a stranger - a stranger she just deprived of a large inheritance?
3. Ransom sent an anonymous tip to the detective telling him that 'something is wrong' or whatever. Why not just send the anonymous tip that the nurse is the culprit. Because that is the outcome he eventually wanted to bring about. It is an anonymous note. What prevented him from doing that? Not a very good choice for him right if he wants to expose the nurse at any cost.
4. Ransom thinks he can destroy exculpatory evidence (the blood test report) by burning the lab down? Seriously? Was the report typed on a typewriter? Records are stored in the cloud. In this day an age can people really believe that if you destroy a physical place or computer or even server farm or whatever, that the information is destroyed?
Some gaps I can grant as being 'internal logic' -
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like the police not noticing that the footprints on the trellis ladder would be made by the nurse. The logic I would grant here is that Craig knew that all along but was just leading everyone on.
But some of the things above just seem like writing that wasn't thought through. Like the motivations of the characters don't align and their actions don't make sense. It is hardly a smart or engrossing game when you have dumb chess players making blunders against each other. That is what this felt like sometimes. As if the script wasn't completely thought through.

And to think that many reviews are calling it a brainy or cerebral film.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#39 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Nov 28, 2019 12:00 am

Nasir007 wrote:
Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:18 pm
Not to belabor my point but the final explanation does not matter - what I am saying that the movie should not exist in the first place. Even granting that the answer to my question is Yes - there are huge logical fallacies in the film.
SpoilerShow
1. Why would MA police randomly allow access to a private citizen claiming he got an anonymous tip. Even him being a celebrity detective or whatever, the police wouldn't accept him unless he was explicitly sanctioned by the family.
2. Why would the nurse confess about her potential criminality to Ransom - just randomly? When it is even established that the two only have a passing acquaintance if anything? The most human instinct that I recognize is self-preservation. Self-preservation above all. The nurse had sense enough to destroy evidence earlier in the day that might incriminate her but she suddenly confesses everything to almost a stranger - a stranger she just deprived of a large inheritance?
3. Ransom sent an anonymous tip to the detective telling him that 'something is wrong' or whatever. Why not just send the anonymous tip that the nurse is the culprit. Because that is the outcome he eventually wanted to bring about. It is an anonymous note. What prevented him from doing that? Not a very good choice for him right if he wants to expose the nurse at any cost.
4. Ransom thinks he can destroy exculpatory evidence (the blood test report) by burning the lab down? Seriously? Was the report typed on a typewriter? Records are stored in the cloud. In this day an age can people really believe that if you destroy a physical place or computer or even server farm or whatever, that the information is destroyed?
Some gaps I can grant as being 'internal logic' -
SpoilerShow
like the police not noticing that the footprints on the trellis ladder would be made by the nurse. The logic I would grant here is that Craig knew that all along but was just leading everyone on.
But some of the things above just seem like writing that wasn't thought through. Like the motivations of the characters don't align and their actions don't make sense. It is hardly a smart or engrossing game when you have dumb chess players making blunders against each other. That is what this felt like sometimes. As if the script wasn't completely thought through.

And to think that many reviews are calling it a brainy or cerebral film.
SpoilerShow
1. Internal logic of the film, man. You just have to go with it. I'll say it once more - it's a self-reflexive genre whodunit, and it knows it!
2. It's not random, it's called a conscience. There isn't logic to it. Just like there isn't logic to her saving the maid's life at the end when it means her being implicated vs. getting away. The opposite of self-preservation. The most human instinct here is moral drive over self-preservation, which stands out against the rest of the family who only seek to serve their own selfish interests. People aren't solely logical robots, and this feels like a discrepancy we have throughout many film threads. Even if it's 'hokey' this is clearly the message of the movie if there is one. I mean Craig spells it alllll out for us in the last act with his praise for Marta's moral compass.
3. This is both to make it less suspicious (a definitive accusation wouldn't prompt Craig to examine all angles, and would turn the focus too much towards who sent the money and how do they know, raising more red flags making them suspect, rather than as a mysterious third party who isn't seemingly out for 'specific' blood), but mostly because it makes it more fun.
4. See response to "1"
Just because it doesn't exactly fit with real life doesn't mean it isn't a smart script. There's a difference between not being "thought through" in the context of the Scooby Doo mystery and not being thought through because Scooby Doo talks and doesn't bark, the latter of which it seems like many of your arguments are built around.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#40 Post by Finch » Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:00 am

I found it very entertaining and smartly written: the gags land and the twists don't come out of nowhere like in films with weaker scripts. I hope we see more of Ana de Armas as she more than held her own against the likes of Craig.
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Two of my favourite gags for me include Marta walking back over the footprints she left in the mud and the reaction shot of the dog to Blanc walking in to interrupt Marta from making her big speech.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#41 Post by Never Cursed » Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:39 pm

I thought this was fantastic, both one of the best comedies and one of the best mystery films in recent memory. I know it's probably the most praised aspect of the film, but it really cannot be overstated that the script for this is nothing short of a work of genius, constantly topping itself both in its audacious plotting and through its smart take on genre-informed social commentary. I think detractors asking for more "intrigue" or "suspense" from this film's story are simply asking for a different movie than this, but I also think it's more than "just" an entertaining whodunit. How many whodunits do we have that are as intricate or meaningful or (especially) as gut-bustingly hilarious as this one? All the jokes land, for sure, but I especially enjoyed Johnson's skewering of reactionary internet trolls (which must be viewed as a response to the vitriol The Last Jedi received from similar types)
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and also the hysterical undercutting of the film's sole act of violence against a person at the end, the best genre-subversive joke of an already inventive and playful film.
I know awards season is somewhat hostile to genre pics like this, but some year-end recognition for Johnson (or the incredible Ana De Armas, if I really want to dream) would be entirely justified. Knives Out is a brilliantly inventive movie and I hope everyone reading this decides to see it with as large an audience as possible.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#42 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Nov 29, 2019 8:10 pm

I think the intricacies and humor you speak of are the ingredients that make it an "entertaining whodunit," though it's certainly better than any I've seen in quite some time. The meaningfulness and moral center are clear with Ana De Armas' selfless characteristics in sharp contrast with the rest of the family, and the statements against white wealth and the myth of the bootstraps-capitalist American dream serve as both funny and witty food-for-thought, but the purpose of the film still didn't seem to be aiming for more than the best possible entertainment, even if that "entertainment" here is stretching the simple definition many see it as, to expand across a multitude of dimensions (a good example would be the meditations on the virtues and heartedness of Ana De Armas' character but even the heaviness of this is undercut with a very unique, funny, and entertaining quality she possesses that transforms the serious into silly, even in the final moments, diluting very mature themes into lighthearted entertainment - hardly a complaint against the film, if anything it only adds to its originality and genius - but in support of the reigning purpose of entertainment nonetheless).

And I believe Johnson has outright stated that the jokes on internet trolls, including the alt-right blogging grandson, are direct inspirations from The Last Jedi's detractors.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#43 Post by MichaelB » Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:51 am

Never Cursed wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 7:39 pm
I thought this was fantastic, both one of the best comedies and one of the best mystery films in recent memory. I know it's probably the most praised aspect of the film, but it really cannot be overstated that the script for this is nothing short of a work of genius, constantly topping itself both in its audacious plotting and through its smart take on genre-informed social commentary.
A work of genius? Up there with Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare and Rembrandt? Whatever you're smoking, I'd hide it pretty damn quick next time there's a knock at the door.

Maybe it's because I've been reading a lot of Agatha Christie lately as research for an upcoming project, but I just thought Knives Out was mildly clever in parts but without anything like the intricacy of Christie at her best. Not least because she'd also contrive a perfectly logical rationale for every character to legitimately come under suspicion at some point, a core genre pleasure that was almost entirely absent from Knives Out.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#44 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:12 am

That's an excellent point, Michael! I did find the blanket "they want money!" explanation as to why we should be suspicious of everyone to be underdeveloped.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#45 Post by MichaelB » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:18 am

Yes, for me the murder mystery and the back-biting family satirical aspects never really dovetailed satisfactorily - and because of this, the latter in particular felt decidedly thin, especially given the calibre of the cast.

Ironically, given the "nothing short of a work of genius" comment above, I thought the script was the film's weakest element by some distance, and if Rian Johnson had had the humility to hand it over to someone with a more established track record of concocting insanely twisty narratives, it would have been far more satisfying. The characters and the situation were all there, but it just wasn't thoroughly worked through with the same gleeful satisfaction that you get in the best whodunits.

Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed it well enough, but my entire (four-strong) family all felt the same "was that it?" reaction at the end. Given the hype, we were expecting a fair bit more.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#46 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Dec 02, 2019 6:16 am

He had some of the same issues with The Brothers Bloom - I admire the ambition, and found this to be a more successful attempt at that sort of twist-laden narrative than Bloom (or Looper, which also relied on a good deal of dazzling time travel logistics) but he's still never written a tighter screenplay than Brick.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#47 Post by Big Ben » Mon Dec 02, 2019 7:25 am

I liked this. Perhaps it's the cynic in me but I didn't feel the money angle needed to be explored more because it's about as common a motive as can be in these situations. That does not however mean I feel criticism should be forwarded for making it so basic. Perhaps the mundane nature of the motivations was the point but at the end the film feels significantly less threatening than the film's trailers make it out to be.

If Johnson wishes to do more with Craig's character in a possible sequel (Which is reliant on box office returns.) I imagine there is potential for improvement moving forward.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#48 Post by Roscoe » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:52 am

Enjoyable enough on a cruddy Sunday afternoon. Once a certain plot development occurred, it became pretty clear who was behind whatever was going on. Some of the surprises weren't exactly surprises, but hey. It's one of those stories that seeks to overwhelm with Way Too Much Plot to throw us off the scent. Whatever. It was fun. I could have done without the reverse-snobbery dig at Pynchon, but I'd love to know whose idea it was to have Daniel Craig belting Sondheim in that little car...

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#49 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:56 am

Roscoe wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:52 am
I could have done without the reverse-snobbery dig at Pynchon
I actually thought this was one of the film's funnier moments, and have read (and love) the book. It just added to Craig's puzzling offbeat detective who is supposed to be intelligent but tows the line on his own laid-back Southern drawl stereotype for most of the runtime as we wait for him to actually demonstrate the hype around his intellect and skill. I also didn't find this nearly as funny as many seem to have, which doesn't mean that I didn't laugh, but some posts and reviews I've come across brand it with hyperbole regarding the humor that I just didn't experience.

Michael's point about the underdeveloped dynamics and cause for the family members is a good one, and I suppose that I never saw the film as asking me to turn my brain on too much regarding this element, which does seem strange considering the genre - though I agree that the best "whodunits" a la Christie, and even le Carré - particularly Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, are "genius" because of their intricate developments of all suspects and thus anxious investment from the audience. Perhaps it's strange to say that this was a film where I turned my brain off despite it being of a traditional thinker-subgenre, but if I did have the (very fair) expectation of a complex and well-rounded whodunit, I may have been more disappointed.

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Re: Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

#50 Post by Roscoe » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:35 am

Interesting points. Earlier this year I read a little-known mystery novel from the 1930s, TRAGEDY AT LAW, that almost serves as a template for the kind of story that KNIVES OUT sets out to be. Lots of stuff going on, and an alert reader/viewer can pick up some general points as things go on, but ---
SpoilerShow
the real give-away is when a character suddenly starts being nice, inviting confidences and generally coming to the assistance of another character. They might as well hold up a sign saying "I DID IT" or more accurately "I WILL ULTIMATELY TURN OUT TO HAVE BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WHOLE MESS"
I was kind of wondering why there was a picture of Ricky Jay in the groundskeeper's shed.

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