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What Critics Are Saying About Knives Out

Expect a blast, and 'one of the best movies of the year'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2019 11:00 AM CST

(Newser) – A mystery novelist's death prompts a whodunit, and a whole lot of suspicion on his own family, in Knives Out from writer-director Rian Johnson. He works with a star cast, including Christopher Plummer (as the novelist Harlan Thrombey), Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, and Chris Evans. But that's just one reason to watch, according to critics, who give the film a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Four takes:

  • "Self-aware but not self-conscious, Knives Out acknowledges its debts to the trappings of mystery and frolics in them like a field of clover." The result: "one of the best movies of the year, and one of the most purely enjoyable," writes Linda Holmes at NPR. She compliments the production and costume design, the "sharp" dialogue, and the "loving attention to detail," while noting that several actors "have maybe never been given such a good workout for their comic chops."
  • "A dazzling whodunit in the vein of Agatha Christie," the film is "as smart, witty, stylish and exhilarating as any movie lover could wish for," writes Joe Morgenstern at the Wall Street Journal. "If there's a false note from start to finish I must have been laughing or gasping when it sounded." Awed by a "brilliant" cast and the "startling quality" of production, he hopes you'll take him at his word: "You'll have a wonderful time."

  • Just a few minutes in, "I knew Knives Out was going to be a good," Mick LaSalle writes at the San Francisco Chronicle, applauding "the sure hand of a serious talent" who mixes old style with a script that "is very much a witty response to today's world." He was also impressed with the "outstanding" cast, but spotlights Ana de Armas, who plays a Latina immigrant and Thrombey's nurse. For her, "this movie is a breakout."
  • "It's as if Agatha Christie came back for a visit, after getting caught up on pop culture in the beyond"—and "count me delighted," writes Moira Macdonald at the Seattle Times. "By the time it was finally revealed whodunit, I just wanted to start over and play again." She gives a thumbs up to Plummer, Curtis, Collette, and Evans, but argues it's Craig who "steals the show" as the detective. "He's having even more fun than we are."
(Read more movie review stories.)

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