Film Review | Knives Out

Who killed world-famous and ultra-wealthy crime writer Harlan Throsby (Christopher Plummer)?

Was it his son Walt (Michael Shannon) who is set to inherit Throsby's publishing empire?

His offbeat daughter Joni (Toni Collette) who will lose her ability to pay for her daughter's private school education?

Decadent son Ransom, (Chris Evans) whose ability to live a fast and loose life will disappear when his inheritance gets cut off?

And there's more suspects with motives that would take too long to unravel in one film review.

That is the crime and some of the suspects in Rian Johnson's Knives Out. Questions, questions, and more questions with seemingly no answers. Until the arrival of crime-solving private investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig).

It's a story worthy of one of Throsby's very own crime novels.

Unlike Cluedo, it's not a case of the victim being killed by Mr Lemon in the library with a golf club.

The story winds and diverts with enough clues over which you stumble, misleading details that lead you astray and decoys to keep you guessing and reassessing your certainty about the identity of the killer.

Even when you convince yourself that you have captured the culprit, there are enough U-turns, diversions and sidesteps to maintain the slightest doubt and make you change your mind as each potential killer is revealed.

When Blanc unravels the ball of string and confirms the killer, you act as if you were 100 per cent sure the entire time.

Knives Out is an old-fashioned whodunnit brought into the 21st century.

It follows the standard structure of a murder, a list of suspects with motives that stretch from the front door to the local shops, a smarter than smart detective, and an ensemble of actors including Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Frank Oz and Ana de Armas.

The cast are all playing up without overplaying.

The mandatory lengthy resolution of the murder and motives is a bit too lengthy but necessary because the leads, clues, suspects and distractions are longer than a piece of string.

The script and the director keep us engaged and keen to listen and watch the evidence unfold and toy with us as we think we are cleverer than the scriptwriter and can determine the who, what and why of the murder.

Pay attention. Although there are abundant clues, they may not be what you think.

As to my deductive powers equalling Benoit Blanc's ability in solving the crime, I was right when I said it was...oh, no you don't. No spoilers in this review.

See the movie and work it out for yourself. It's all good fun and amusing.

And don't arrive late. The first 30 seconds of the film are important.