“Knives Out” (MA) ***
THIS one comes on a wave of pre-release hoo-ha promising a great cast in a thrilling movie.
There are worse crime thrillers in the cinematic universe. But I don’t regard “Knives Out” as a contender for the top spot. Writer/director Rian Johnson shepherds his actors through a story suggesting he has read enough Agatha Christie to understand the formula and acknowledge its merits in an oversupplied market.
The structural template for “Knives Out” is surely Miss Marple. The characters are members of the Thrombey family and the household staff of crime-novelist writer and patriarch Harlan (Christopher Plummer), wealthy enough on his 85th birthday not to need to worry about anything for the rest of his life.
Wrong kind of worry not needing to be worried about! After the party, Harlan’s found lying in a pool of blood in the library. Murder? Suicide? All the family have a reason to want him dead. All that money. Who gets it?
The cops need to know who dunnit. And somebody has asked private eye Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to sit in on the investigation.
Harlan’s will leaves everything to his private nurse Marta (Ana de Armas), whose South American mother is illegally in the US. All Harlan’s descendants by birth or marriage would happily see Marta, or every other of them, go down for the murder.
Some commentators describe “Knives Out” as a very funny movie. Not the peculiar kind. Nor, I fear, particularly humorous comical funny.
The credits include a dialect coach for Daniel Craig. Didn’t work too well.
At all cinemas