Knives Out review: lots of wool, lots of fun

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Daniel Craig and some quality knitwear headline Knives Out – here’s our review.

Knitwear porn has rarely been as prevalent as it is in director Rian Johnson’s delicious murder mystery Knives Out. Big-name actor after big-name actor pops up on the screen, wearing a variety of outfits that would happily keep the chill out. Only the recent Shaun The Sheep movie has eclipsed the film for wool content. The film itself? Well, it’s one of the most gleefully fun movies of the year. It’s worth noting up front that it feels a touch too long – the journey passes two hours, and perhaps shouldn’t – but that aside, there’s not much to grumble about. The opposite, in fact.

The scene is set when Christopher Plummer’s Harlan Thrombey meets a premature end, and given the size of his estate, there are no shortage of suspects. In fact, I could have happily watched a standalone movie about Toni Collette’s Joni, Jamie Lee Curtis’ Linda, Don Johnson’s Richard and Ana de Armas’ Marta for a start. What really ramps up the fun is when Daniel Craig’s by turns baffling and brilliant detective Benoit Blanc turns up to try and sort it all out.

If you recall Craig’s wonderfully off-piste performance in Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky and wished he’d do more stuff like that, then rest assured it was a memo he got. He’s the standout of an excellent ensemble, in one of those rare films where both audience and cast seem to be having an equal amount of fun. It’s a triumph particularly for Johnson, who penned the script. It feels like a modern-day Clue, with a healthy rooting in Agatha Christie mysteries, and straight away would make a strong double bill with the also terrific autumn release Ready Or Not.

The argument sometimes runs that the film you make is oftentimes a reaction to the one that came before. Johnson has taken his Star Wars: The Last Jedi experience, and the toxicity from elements of its fanbase, and channelled it into something wonderfully positive and hugely entertaining. I’m deliberately light on plot here, as there’s fun to be had from unravelling the genuine mystery at the heart of the film. But most of all, it’s a thoroughly tasty evening out at the movies. And I for one can’t wait to see the inevitable cosplay.

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