I think I must share a common sensibility with Rian Johnson, the writer/director of the upcoming movie Knives Out, because the film so perfectly matches my idea of what a purely entertaining movie should be. It’s a murder mystery set in a posh but isolated location, peopled by diverse and glamourous characters who are all hiding secrets.
The plot to my dream movie should be reminiscent of an M. C. Escher print. One big switch isn’t enough—there should be switches-on-switches. And switches-on-switches-on-switches.
And the location matters. A snowbound English country house is an ideal setting, but a snowbound train works as well. Even a luxurious boat will do if it’s in a suitably exotic part of the world, just as long as there’s a room large enough to assemble all the suspects and expose the killer(s) in the closing moments of the film.
Let’s think. Who’s famous for that sort of thing? (Hint: Her initials are “A. C.”, and she’s not Al Capone.)
Knives Out has Agatha Christie’s bloody fingerprints are all over it, and Rian Johnson happily acknowledges his debt to the best-selling fiction writer of all time, with the possible exceptions of Shakespeare and the authors of the New Testament. Johnson has improved on his inspiration by adding a dash of wit to the mix; Christie’s works are conspicuously devoid of humour.
He’s also assembled the kind of All-Star cast that brings in an audience for those remakes of Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile that earn nice profits every decade or so, even though everyone in that audience found out whodunit years ago.
And what a cast it is! The film has Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette(!), Lakeith Stanfield, and Christopher Plummer. Best of all, there’s James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, playing a detective with the intriguing surname of “Blanc”. I can only hope he introduces himself as “Blanc. Benoit Blanc.” For reasons yet to be explained, Craig plays the part with a Southern accent.
Here’s the latest trailer for Knives Out:
And here’s the original one:
Knives Out opens on 27 November 2019, the night before (US) Thanksgiving Day. Can’t wait for this one.
Professor Plum, in the Library, with the Candlestick