If you are intending to see Knives Out and want no plot spoilers, stop here.
On the other hand, let me tell you about a movie that is as disgusting in its baseline plot as any film I have ever seen. Also 96% from the media critics at Rotten Tomatoes which in itself might give you a clue. And while we normally shy away from Hollywood because of its messaging, this seemed like an Agatha Christie plot-line knock-off, so how bad could it be?
Turned out to be the most far-left looney politically-driven plot I have seen in years, whose underlying thread actually came up quite early on, when the family are sitting around after the death of this wealthy millionaire author whose will they are expecting to benefit from. There they are discussing open borders and migration. And while it was astonishing to see any such thing in the midst of a Murder-She-Wrote kind of plot, it turned out to be what the entire film was metaphorically about. Here’s one of the trailers for a bit of background before I go on. Keep an eye out for a young and pretty girl with an Hispanic look. Her name in the film is Marta Cabrera played by a Cuban actress named Ana Celia de Armas Caso. It is she that the plot ultimately revolves around.
Might just mention this although you needn’t bother going to the link: REVIEW: Ana de Armas’s Character in ‘Knives Out’ Is the Latina Heroine We Need in the Trump Era. Get the message? In bare bones, this is the story as related by the film producers:
Acclaimed writer and director Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper, The Last Jedi) pays tribute to mystery mastermind Agatha Christie in KNIVES OUT, a fun, modern-day murder mystery where everyone is a suspect. When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death. With an all-star ensemble cast including Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford and Jaeden Martell, KNIVES OUT is a witty and stylish whodunit guaranteed to keep audiences guessing until the very end.
So here is the metaphorical meaning of the story, this time by me.
When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, we get to see what a bunch of rotten persons his family really are, so that when the will is eventually read, we are not at all dismayed to find all of the money he had earned from his novels has been given in its entirety to his sweet young Hispanic nurse, who is shown by Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to be the worthy inheritor of all of the family’s accumulated wealth in spite of the work many in the family had put in to assist this renowned crime novelist over the years. The nurse, Marta, however has a loving heart. At the end she stands on the upstairs verandah of the house she has just been given as part of the will, as the author’s family stand below in the driveway about to drive off pennyless and disinherited. Her coffee cup reads “My House, my land, my something or other.”
From the Wikepedia entry for the film here are some of the critics’ responses.
On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 96% based on 136 reviews, with an average rating of 8.53/10. The website’s critics’ consensus reads: “Knives Out sharpens old murder-mystery tropes with a keenly assembled suspense outing that makes brilliant use of writer-director Rian Johnson’s stellar ensemble.” Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 85 out of 100, based on reviews from 26 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.
David Rooney, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, described the film as an “ingeniously plotted, tremendously entertaining and deviously irreverent crowd-pleaser” and “a treat from start to finish”, praising the film’s script, the throwbacks to the murder mysteries of the 1970s, and the actors’ performances.
Am I reading too much into the film? I do not think so. But the very invisibility of the point the film obviously in spades is making is a major problem in itself. If no one can see it here, I fear they cannot see it anywhere else.