Sunday, November 24, 2019

Knives Out

It's the Only Way You'll Know I'm Telling the Truth


One of the best 2010s American films. It's not a pastiche of Agatha Christie any more than, say, Bend of the River [Anthony Mann, 1952] is a pastiche of Western Union [Fritz Lang, 1941]. It does, however, rejuvenate the whodunnit in a manner akin to Ford's Stagecoach's [1939] modernization and modulation on the western. A cross-class group portrait, a social allegory of American heritage (both in the sense of "inheritance" and "the ancestral"), which brings to mind the families Trump, Murdoch, etc...

Rian Johnson wanders the house, or the house wanders the movie. It's one of the first mystery pictures in which the production design does not serve merely as a backdrop scrim of 'atmospheric touch.' Johnson doesn't dwell on the house as wealth-porn nor aspirational fetish; just as we are at the brim of projecting our own desires, our property envy, the film shifts to a lower-middle class milieu.

Final thoughts for now:
- The script and plotting are ingenious. I think RJ said it's a screenplay he'd been working on for seven years. There are no plot-holes or details unaccounted for.
- It's very funny.
- Maybe most movingly, Knives Out and Rian Johnson are earnest enough to imagine the idea of the pure Heroine (cf. Austen, et al) in a 2019 setting.

Very possibly a masterpiece.


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