Knives Out isn’t quite a masterpiece but certainly has roots in a classical Agatha Christie mystery with some modern, topical twists which at times come across as preachy. Other than that, however, this is a wonderful mystery-comedy with a fantastic ensemble.
Genre(s): Crime, Comedy, Mystery
Lionsgate | PG13 – 130 min. – $42.99 | February 25, 2020
Date Published: 03/17/2020 | Author: The Movieman
Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
Note: The screen captures were taken from the Blu-ray disc and do not represent the 4K Ultra HD transfer.
THE MOVIE — 4.0/5
Plot Synopsis: The circumstances surrounding the death of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER) are mysterious, but there’s one thing that renowned Detective Benoit Blanc (DANIEL CRAIG) knows for sure: everyone in the wildly dysfunctional Thrombey family — daughter Linda (JAMIE LEE CURTIS) her husband Richard (DON JOHNSON) and their son Ransom (CHRIS EVANS), daughter-in-law Joni (TONI COLLETTE) and her daughter Meg (KATHERINE LANGFORD), son Walt (MICHAEL SHANNON) and his wife Donna (RIKI LINDHOME) — are suspects. At the center of it all is Harlan’s personal nurse, Marta (ANA DE ARMAS). Now, Blanc must sift through a web of lies and red herrings to uncover the truth.
Review: Rian Johnson, to say the least, has become a divisive name for some following the release of his Star Wars: The Last Jedi and even though I too wasn’t very impressed, surprisingly mostly by the writing more than anything, I did love his feature debut, Brick, a modern film-noir.
Johnson has dipped back into what I think is his wheelhouse, this time an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery, Knives Out. Although there is a mid-point where some political discussion felt a tad forced, Johnson’s script in combination with some nice direction, which includes alternate POVs depending on who’s talking, made for a finely crafted film that does keep one guessing until the very end.
The performances from this ensemble are all well done, though Daniel Craig easily stands out as Blanc, a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot, with an accent that is a bit off, though still kind of works for the character, and Craig proves once more he is a talent, shame he seems to have contempt for playing James Bond…
In any case, Ana de Armas turns in yet another nice performance, solidifying herself as perhaps a star of the future, such as they are nowadays while you have some veterans like Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette and Michael Shannon all doing well for themselves, and that’s not to mention fun seeing Don Johnson in a major role, gets a bit lost with the rest but still shows he has some great charisma even when playing a smarmy character.
Knives Out isn’t entirely innovative taking the Agatha Christie murder-mystery blueprint and putting a fun little twist to it, but it shows once again, since Brick anyway, that Rian Johnson is a talented filmmaker, just in my eyes perhaps wasn’t the right fit for a Star Wars movie, at least unchecked.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 5.0/5
This release does come with a matted slip cover, inside contains the redemption code for the Digital HD copy. All of the features are on both the 4K and Blu-ray discs.
Both of these are enjoyable, the second more unique. Either way, Johnson shows his love for the project and moviemaking and, in terms of the first track, the three commentators do a good job breaking down the movie from different viewpoints.
Deleted Scenes (4:57) — Only two scenes here, neither of consequence. Comes with an optional commentary with Johnson.
Making a Murder (1:57:07) — 8-Part making-of featurette covering the inspirations, casting, costumes, production design, cinematography, editing and music & sound. Rarity nowadays for a new movie to have this extensive of a behind-the-scenes feature; includes interviews by members of the cast and crew.
Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder (6:17) — Pretty standard featurette with Johnson explaining his process of writing the script.
Director & Cast Q&A (42:09) — Filmed in Westwood after a screening. Includes Johnson, Jaeden Martell, Katherine Langford, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans and Daniel Craig.
4K UHD VIDEO – 5.0/5 | BD VIDEO — 4.5/5
|Lionsgate releases Knives Out onto 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray where it’s presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and given 2160p and 1080p high-definition transfers, respectively. Both of these do look rather fantastic, detail particularly on the 4K is sharp with the natural film noise giving it that theatrical look. Colors do shine through quite nicely with not a huge difference comparing the 4K and Blu-ray, perhaps a slight edge maybe due to the HDR, otherwise you can’t go too wrong with the Blu-ray picture.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
|Both formats come with a Dolby Atmos track which I didn’t feel was amazing but more than suitable for a movie that is mostly dialogue, coming through the center channel with good clarity, or mystery atmospheric music/soundtrack and the depth is decent enough, yet nothing awe-inspiring. Considering the type of movie this is, it didn’t need to be overpowering.
OVERALL – 4.25/5
Knives Out isn’t quite a masterpiece but certainly has roots in a classical Agatha Christie mystery with some modern, topical twists which at times come across as preachy. Other than that, however, this is a wonderful mystery-comedy with a fantastic ensemble led way by Daniel Craig and, to a lesser extent, Ana de Armas. This 4K UHD/Blu-ray combo pack offers up great video and audio transfers and comes with a fair amount of bonus features.
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.