Opens: November 28
Duration: 130 minutes
US writer-director Rian Johnson made his name with complexly plotted entertainments including his 2005 debut, school-based detective story, Brick, and ingenious time travel brain-teaser, Looper, though he’s most widely known for his 2017 Star Wars instalment, The Last Jedi, which received a hostile reception from many fans.
This latest film, Knives Out sees him steering away from corporate blockbuster territory and back to more familiar ground, which is all to the good.
The film is a self-conscious and consistently entertaining send-up of the Agatha Christie school of murder mystery, centred (of course) on a large mansion and featuring, if you will pardon the pun, a cast to die for. Christopher Plummer is the family patriarch, a bestselling mystery author who dies on his 85th birthday.
Among those playing his suspected family members are Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson and Toni Collette, while the juiciest role goes to Daniel Craig as a private investigator with a southern drawl so thick and smoky it deserves to be bottled.
Johnson’s plotting is cleverly twisty and unpredictable and the dialogue witty. Even those without fond memories of the Cluedo board game or Anthony Shaffer’s classic two-hander, Sleuth, should find Knives Out a rewarding amusement.