TIFF 19 Review: ‘Knives Out’

I’m calling it now: “Knives Out” is hands down one of the best movies of 2019. It might even be the best.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, TIFF 19 film Knives Out is a black comedy-thriller whose cast includes everyone from Jamie Lee Curtis to Chris Evans to Daniel Craig to Katherine Langford. An uproariously funny love letter to the murder mystery genre, the movie follows a wealthy family who become entangled in a complex mystery after the death of the family patriarch causes a world-class detective to come investigate.

I can say with complete certainty that this movie is flawless. Whether it’s the all-star cast giving career-best performances, the impeccably intricate set design or the tone that masterfully transitions from playful to grim at the drop of a hat, there are countless points that make “Knives Out” one of the must-see movies of 2019.

First of all, I have to applaud Johnson for crafting a movie based completely on an original idea, a rarity of sorts in today’s cinematic landscape. Fast-paced, brimming with wit and ferociously funny, Johnson’s script is a breath of fresh air in a time when the majority of movies being made are little more than fill-in-the-blanks. Of course, while “Knives Out” is incredibly original, it borrows heavily from the murder mystery genre in the most wonderful way possible. Johnson indulges in all the tropes and markings of the genre, creating a modern mystery that is sure to delight and thrill anyone who has the pleasure of tagging along for this spellbinding adventure.

The phenomenal script is matched only by the impressive cast. Johnson knew exactly when he was doing when he cast this masterpiece of a movie because each actor is tailor-made for the role they play. Veteran stars like Curtis and Toni Collette entertain and amaze in roles like “cold-hearted mogul” and “ditzy lifestyle guru” respectively, giving performances that are exactly what murder mystery fans are yearning for. As the irresponsible nephew Ransom, Evans delivers a performance that is so deliciously dramatic that it’ll completely change how you see the actor. This is perhaps Evans’ finest hour on screen.

Every actor in this collection of characters knows exactly what type of movie they’re in, working together in a way that most casts aspire to, but rarely achieve. Of course, the true stars of “Knives Out” are Craig as renowned investigator Detective Benoit Blanc and newcomer Ana de Armas as timid caregiver Marta, respectively. These two anchors the movie with their gripping and masterful performances, managing to effortlessly blend comedy and drama into every scene they’re in. Make no mistake, de Armas is a star on the rise and I’ll be eagerly looking forward to whatever project she pursues next.

“Knives Out” is simply must-see cinema. A laugh-riot that is simultaneously one of the darkest and most captivating stories that you’ll see at the movies this year, I can’t recommend this crowd-pleaser enough. If you’re looking for a perfect movie that summarizes the glory of going to see a movie on the big screen, than “Knives Out” is the movie for you

Watch the trailer for Knives Out below!

Lionsgate Films releases Knives Out in theatres on Friday, November 27, 2019 

[Review by Luke Elisio]

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