I love mystery movies. Stuff like Clue, the Sherlock Holmes movies and shows, murder mysteries, ect. It’s all great to me. I love twisted tales of figuring out who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, and how someone is trying to cover their tracks and blame someone else for their crimes. When these stories are done right, there is a great […]
I love mystery movies. Stuff like Clue, the Sherlock Holmes movies and shows, murder mysteries, ect. It’s all great to me. I love twisted tales of figuring out who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, and how someone is trying to cover their tracks and blame someone else for their crimes. When these stories are done right, there is a great sense of satisfaction in seeing something like a well crafted story coming together in way you didn’t see coming. It’s like watching a magician do their trick. You, the audience, know that that you’re being tricked and that what you’re seeing is a series of misdirection’s, but when it’s done well, the surprise makes none of that really matter. And it’s that feeling that I was able get out of Knives Out.
This article will have spoilers for Knifes Out, but I’m going to do my best to dance around the actual things that happen, and the names of the characters being mentioned. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet and want to go in completely fresh, now’s your chance to bail out. So with that out of the way, I wanted to talk about this movie because it managed to do something that really impressed me, even though I came in expecting a classic “whodunit” movie with misdirection’s all over the place. It managed to make me and the audience forgot the movie was a “whodunit” movie within the first 30 minutes of watching.
So in order to explain, I’m going to have to talk about that first 30 minutes in more detail, so again, this is the last SPOILER WARNING I will be giving.
We good? Cool.
So the story picks up a week after the apparent suicide of Harlan Thrombey, a massively successful mystery writer and head of the Thrombey family, who’s success is the foundation for the family’s massive wealth. The estranged family has gathered to bury him, and immediately it’s apparent that this family is not the “loving, caring, support each other” type, and more the “I’m only staying as long as I have to, otherwise I’m going to murder someone” type. The family does not get along, and as they’re questioned by the enigmatic private detective Benoit Blanc, they start to put a picture together of what happened the night Harlan Thrombey killed himself. We’re also introduced to our main protagonist, Marta Cabrera: Harlan’s nurse and caretaker who had a close relationship with him.
Then the Bombshell drops when it’s also revealed to the audience that she is the reason Harlan killed himself, as she had given him the wrong medicine, and he killed himself before it could kill him so she wouldn’t be blamed for it.
It was at this moment that the movie truly surprised me. Normally during these types of movies, the mystery lies in who killed the person and why. Within 30 minutes, you know exactly who did it, how and why it happened, and how they got away with it. Now the movie has gone from a mystery movie to a suspense movie, causing tension as she is almost caught at almost every turn, and that is the real trick of the movie. The movie has just started, and now the genera has been swapped for a suspense movie, all the while still having bits and pieces of the the night explained to you. It’s so tightly crafted to keep the pace of the movie going, that you seem to get new information eveny scene that changes the context of the rest of the movie.
That’s what I mean about making you forget you’re watching a “whodunit” movie. Because you’re explained the who right from the start, and the rest of the movie keeps moving and feeding you more information, you stop thinking about what else might have happened that night in something so clear cut. It’s no longer a story about “who?”, it’s a story dealing with “what now?”. Now that we know what happened, we’re trying to see if she is able to get away with this accident with the detective Blanc constantly getting closer to finding her out.
There is a lot more to this movie than I’m talking about here, and while that is a large plot point of the movie, I feel okay talking about it because that movie is such a tangled web of plotlines and character interactions that know it won’t lessen the enjoyment of it, and it’s far from the biggest revelation the movie has to offer. Like I said with the magician, the fact you know you’re being tricked doesn’t make the trick any less enjoyable. And this movies has plenty of tricks up it’s sleeves.
And THAT is what impressed me about Knives Out.
Posted by Austin Hamblen, Owner and Main writer of Endlessmonkey.com