BWW Review: I Didn't Like KNIVES OUT And Here's Why
Knives Out has just recently hit the cinemas.
It has gained great reviews from critics and audiences. Unfortunately, there was one fellow who left the cinema with a great sigh. Me, who just two hours earlier had waited for an interesting murder-mystery that would have kept me on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the end like The Prestige (Nolan, 2006) did.
As I stepped out of the cinema frustratedly, it was very difficult to find any different point of views of this film.
That's why I'm here to tell you why I didn't like Knives Out.
Director and script: Rian Johnson
Actors: Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford ja Jaeden Martell
Genre: Drama, Thriller, Comedy
Too many names, too little repeating
The family dynamics matter in this. Who is who and how are they linked to the murder of Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Everyone's introduced in a very classical way, with titles and everything, which is nice but still gets you quite worn out in the end. Most of the information is not even used in the end or in a way that could have made you question who's the murderer or what really could have happened. Names are hardly repeated in ordinary situations to ease the memorising and all in all, the different characters just blend into one mass in the middle of the film when Harlan's last will is on the table.
In the beginning I had fun. Some particular scenes had a great rhythm in them. For example how Detective Benoit (Daniel Craig) had figured out some of the things other characters hadn't told him in the pre-interviews and asked about them from Marta (Ana de Armas): in Marta's flashbacks we see how Harlan shares some truths with her, either a picture of an affair or a billing. And it happens in a great rhythm and ends up into a thing promised, puking-- which is funny for a couple of times, but then gets poorly repetitive.
Exposing of the "murder" in Marta's memory was way too early and the director surely tried to affect the audience into thinking something particular about it, which was a transparent move. And we know that if it's showed like this-- this early and in that way-- it isn't going to be all there is in the end.
And so, the audience is left up staring and following an awkward trip with Detective Benoit and Marta that is supposed to be funny or thrilling. And even though Benoit "knew all the while" that Marta's guilty, it doesn't ease the pain in the end.
The last ten minutes, let's say from the moment where Marta's about to confess her doings to the family are good. So is the beginning whatsoever till the moment Marta's murder is exposed and no other theories are offered.
So, there's at least an hour or more of just boring filling and...
Yes, the end has some relieving-moments but it doesn't help with the almost one hour hiatus of poorly rhythmed and non-focused film-making and storytelling.
The movie doesn't have a good focus. It has too many themes, topics, motives, symbols... We get a scratch from all of them but don't get into them, don't get guided of what is important and thus nothing is. Okay, we did got guidance with the knife scene where the camera moves in a way that we get a knife on top of Harlan's chest and so he picks it up and tells how Ransom (Chris Evans) wouldn't know a theatre-knife from a real one.
If there is a knife and the victim in a flashback scene so close to each other, so focused like this, there must be something extremely important said in that scene.
And so there was. And the last climax didn't come as a surprise.
A lot of information is given but very little used in a creative way.
The mystery's transparent and does not challenge to think
I was waiting for a good murder mystery with a lot of food for thought and things to ponder out, things to connect. But what I saw was a film that had a mixed up focus of things, surprised at the last minutes, perhaps, but in the meanwhile got you just extremely boored. The character Ransom who's the most distant is the most suspicious all the while and the barking of the dogs just confirm it. The cast is great but the characters are dull. So much of the jokes and other stuff are forced, as if the director would been there like: "see, this is a joke, huh?" or "see, this is important, huh?" and doesn't allow the audience think for themselves. So much is very expected, even the bit where Meg (Katherine Langford) claimed to be alone but there's the whole of the family listening to her phone call to Marta.
Were we as an audience falsely advertised?
The trailer, I heard, offered us drama and thrill but the outcome was comedy and farce. I should have known it from Detective Benoit phoney accent that made me cringe. Maybe I did step into the cinema with a bad attitude, with a hope to get into an aesthetic scenery (no no, I did enjoy the first shot of the movie where the dogs ran on the grass, which carried a good symbol. And how the dogs ran out of the shot just before Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis) heated up the letter, getting the message, though I thought it would have been written with a pen you could read with a led light, hm?) and into a story that would have offered a lot of to ponder on. But no.
I got jokes of donuts, scenes, which seemed to force me to feel certain feelings or think in a certain way... And a lot of puke.
Yes, I did leave the cinema unhappy.
Well, at least I can write this and offer peer support to everyone else there who did not enjoy.
Article: Rosanna Liuski / @rosannaliuski
Photos: Claire Folger