Welcome to the Thrombey mansion where “everyone has a motive and no one has a clue”. This slogan straight off the poster for Knives Out instantly hints at the intrigue, suspense, and humour that the movie dishes up in spades. It’s your Sunday night movie this week on M-Net and we promise, it’s not one to be missed. Here’s why we think you should be tuning in.
Not only has the movie’s director Rian Johnson helmed other excellent features, he was also behind the lens for what are often hailed as two of Breaking Bad’s finest episodes, Fly and Ozymandias. Whether it’s fine-tuning a twist (as in Looper) or wrangling an ensemble cast to deliver heightened drama (as in Star Wars: The Last Jedi), you can be guaranteed of entertainment…all while getting the little grey cells working too.
It’s a Murder Mystery
With cellphones and mentions of Google, Knives Out is clearly set in contemporary times. But it’s also a definite throwback to the classic whodunnit. Despite its modern setting, the gloomy grounds of the Thrombey mansion shrouded in mysterious mists provide a timeless quality alluding to murder mysteries of yore. This feeling is strongly helped by the film’s score, composed by the director's cousin, Nathan Johnson. Agatha Christie fans will love the movie too, and it’s very much meant as a tribute to the author and the genre she reigned over.
The Production Design
It’s more than just the music and setting that invoke this timeless feeling of intrigue and suspense. The eerie mansion filled with so many nooks and crannies promises suspicion and deceit around every corner. Piles upon piles of books allude to Harlan Thrombey’s illustrious writing career, while antiques provide an aesthetic that would make Christie’s famous detective Hercule Poirot feel right at home. And then there is the knife chair! A literal embodiment of the title, it both holds power and provides power to its ensemble of characters.
Speaking of ensembles! What’s a classic whodunnit without a large cast of characters you can gather in the living room during the closing scenes to give a blow-by-blow account of how the mystery was solved, culminating in the murderer being exposed? Christopher Plummer leads the pack as patriarch Harlan Thrombey with Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Shannon playing his daughter and son. Don Jonson is hubby to Curtis, while Toni Collette is delightful as Shannon’s flighty wife. There are a few entitled (and one very creepy) grandchildren in tow, with Chris Evans’s Ransom causing a lot of the friction. The gentle heart of the film is Harlan’s nurse Marta Cabrera, beautifully played by Ana de Armas.
But the real cherry atop this mystery pie is Daniel Craig’s detective Benoit Blanc, paying tribute to Christie’s Poirot. But Blanc, and the way Craig plays him, is still very much a unique creation and a welcome new addition to the genre. With eccentric accent and even more eccentric mannerisms in tow, Blanc steps in to solve the mystery of this story’s murder. For years, we’ve watched Craig be smooth and suave as James Bond, but once he hangs up his 007 holster for good, we’re more than happy and willing to watch him play this new character for many years more.
Chris Evans’s Sweater
Never try to make anything go viral because it’s so completely impossible knowing what people will latch onto and become obsessed with. Knives Out was ready to deliver an entertaining whodunnit, hoping for praise and box office returns, but it was never ready for the fascination with Chris Evan’s sweater. During the film – thanks to the chilly Massachusetts weather – the actor's character strolls into the family mansion wearing a crew knit jersey and fans went wild for it. There were memes. There were gifs. There were even screenings with audiences attending in similar sweaters, all in tribute to Evans’s chunky knitwear.
So whether you love murder and mystery, adore Agatha, stan stylish sweaters, or just love great entertainment with a dash of cleverness to boot, join us for Knives Out, your Sunday night movie on 6 December at 20:05 on M-Net channel 101.