Knives Out combines comedy and mystery


Photo/ Knives Out

Knives Out was released on Nov. 27, 2019 and is nominated for three Golden Globe Awards.

Rae Malik, Opinions Editor

Rae Malik
Opinions Editor and Online Layout Editor

Released only this November, Knives Out has already grossed $163.8 million. Directed by Rian Johnson, this film has received three Golden Globe nominations and has anticipated Oscar buzz.

Knives Out revolves around the suicide of a famous wealthy author Harlan Thrombey. However, the suicide is thought to be a murder and is being investigated by detective Beniot Blanc, portrayed by Daniel Craig. Thrombey’s family, and caretaker Marta, are being questioned for their involvement in the possible murder. The family consists of Harlan’s three kids and three grandkids.

Harlan’s eldest daughter Linda Drysdale, married to Richard Drysdale and mother of Ransom Drysdale, built her company from the ground up with a small loan from her father. Although Harlan’s first son passed away, he still takes care of his daughter-in-law Joni Thrombey and granddaughter Meg Thrombey. Harlan hired his second son, Walt Thrombey, to help run his company. Walt is married to Donna Thromeby and has a teenage son Jacob Thrombey.

It was refreshing to see how Chris Evans plays the role of the notorious jerk Hugh Ransom Drysdale, Harlan’s oldest grandson. This role was quite different from his most notable role of Captain America. Hugh prefers to be called Ransom and relies heavily on Harlan for financial stability.

On the night of Harlan’s 85th birthday party, he commits suicide. However, detective Blanc is not convinced that it was a suicide and has 48 hours to solve the case. As each character is interrogated about that night, it is slowly revealed that each character had a motive to kill Harlan. However, as each character is recounting the events of that night, it is evident that no one is being entirely truthful. This allows the audience to recognize when the characters are lying and enables them to for their own opinions on who the killer is.

While discussing the inspiration behind the movie, Johnson told The Reel, “I grew up reading Agatha Christie. I wanted to make a whodunit. I love the genre and all the conventions of it. But then trying to kind of put an engine in the middle of it that is more of a Hitchcock thriller.”

Knives Out is actually named after a Radiohead song. Johnson is a big fan of the rock band Radiohead and chose the song title Knives Out for the movie. In addition, knives are referenced throughout the movie and there is prop featured in the background of several scenes. The prop is made up of different knives all making a circular shape.

Although the movie is entertaining, it brings light to current issues by addressing sensitive topics such as immigration. This is primarily seen through the character Marta Cabrera, as she is an immigrant. Marta is a registered nurse and was originally employed by Harlan as a caretaker, but as time passed, Marta and Harlan’s relationship blossomed into a wholesome father/daughter connection. Throughout the movie, the family is divided on the issue of Marta’s immigration, since half the family is very conservative, while the other half are pretty liberal.

No one in the family can correctly remember which country Marta is from, each member stating a different country from which they think she is from ranging from Paraguay, Columbia, and Ecuador. Even though the family constantly state how thankful they are for Marta and think of her as a part of the family. Little hints such as this highlight how the family is unaware as to where Marta is from, showing their ignorance.

The soundtrack throughout the movie brilliantly sets the mood for each scene. In the trailer, the upbeat rhythms of “I’m Gonna Live Till I Die” by Frank Sinatra creates suspense and tension between the characters. In addition, the trailer does not give too much away as it just briefly describe that a murder has occurred and is being investigated.

Cinematography is another element remarkably carried out with careful attention by cinematographer Steve Yedlin. The movie was shot in three different locations, one of which was a small stage. The other two locations were different houses. The stage was transformed into a room that would usually not be found in a house. The interrogation scenes were filmed on this platform-turned room.

Steve Yedlin recognized key grip Matt Mania on twitter for his work on a specific close up scene. Linda Drysdale, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, is recounting the night from her perspective. To prevent the stage lights from being reflected in her glasses, Mania used forced perspective by placing a cutout of windows above the cameras. Therefore the windows were able to get reflected through Linda Drysdale’s glasses, not the stage lighting equipment.

Overall, the movie is entertaining and takes a new twist on the murder mystery genre. It’s important to pay attention to small details throughout the movie, as it all comes together in the end. Knives Out is worth watching, not only because of the talented cast but also because of the intricate storyline.