Knives Out is a classic whodunit mystery. When Harlan Thrombey dies in a suspicious way, Daniel Craig's character Benoit Blanc is hired to investigate. Who hired him? He's not sure. A stack of cash & an article about Harlan's death showed up on his door one day. Harlan was a very rich man & had upset almost every main member of his family the night before he died - everyone had a motive. The fun part of this movie? Who killed Harlan is actually revealed part way through the movie & it heads down a very different path than you might think.
🚨 SPOILERS AHEAD 🚨
WHAT MAKES IT SO GREAT?
This movie contains twist after twist. The first shocking twist comes with the reveal that Harlan actually killed himself - it wasn't anyone else. Now obviously there are lots of elements at play here, but this was a shock.
Rian Johnson managed to find the absolute best cast for this film. From Avengers star Chris Evans as the leading villain to Bond stars Daniel Craig & Ana De Armas as our main heroes, and even Jamie Lee Curtis as a severely out-of-touch rich daughter, this cast was amazing.
Director & writer Rian Johnson put his all into this script, which is evident by the fantastic dialogue. It's filled with hints and callbacks that are just subtle enough to miss on the first watch but, upon a rewatch (or several), are easier to pick up on.
DETAILS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED 🔎
There are so many great details hidden throughout the movie that hint things aren't as they seem. Check out some of my faves.
When telling the story of Harlan's birthday, his children each tell the police that they were beside him while he blew out the candles. They changed the story so that they each seemed like the most-favoured child who deeply loved their father.
When recounting the events of the night, we learn that Harlan's dogs were barking late in the evening. We also learn during the film that Harlan's dogs don't bark at people they know & like. Roughly half way through the movie, Ransom shows up for the will reading & the dogs charge at him, barking away. This is an early hint to the audience that Ransom did return in the evening, though he had apparently left.
Harlan catches Richard cheating on his daughter Linda. He writes a letter to Linda & tells Richard that if he doesn't admit to his wife that he cheated, Harlan will send the letter. After Harlan's death, Richard breaks into Harlan's desk to see what he wrote & finds it blank: Harlan was bluffing. At the end, we discover Harlan & Linda communicated using invisible ink. This is actually revealed to the viewers for a split second while Richard is holding the 'blank' letter.
In the very first scene of Ransom & Marta at the restaurant, we hear Ransom ask the waitress for an extra bowl. Later, the waitress brings the bowl. It's very casual & super easy to ignore. Only later in this scene do we realize, Ransom only asked for the bowl so that Marta could throw up in it if she was lying to him. It was very subtle but a nod to how he meticulously planned everything, including this 'spontaneous' dinner.
At the end of the movie, Benoit reveals that he knew Marta was involved in the death of Harlan in some capacity because of the blood stain on her shoes. He says he noticed it the moment they met & that can be seen earlier in the movie. Upon meeting, Benoit says "I've been doing a little poking *pause* You were hired..." and continues on. For most of this dialogue, including the pause, Benoit is staring at Marta's shoes. It's a quick moment & viewers thought nothing of it.
Near the end of the movie, Ransom attacks Marta with a knife he pulls from the chair of knives that Harlan kept around. Thankfully, and somewhat comedically, it's revealed that the knife was only a prop. Marta wasn't injured. This fate was hinted at much earlier in the film, when Harlan tells Marta that Ransom has never been able to tell the difference between a real knife and a prop knife.
Chris Evans had recently played America's hero Captain America for the last time in Avengers: Endgame. Considering one of his iconic Avengers quotes is "Language!" when Tony Stark swears, hearing Chris Evans go on that quick rant in Knives Out was quite shocking. It really told audiences that he wasn't just a good guy anymore.
THE WILL READING
When a very rich man like Harlan passes away, it's natural for everyone to be curious who will get what from him. Who gets the money? Who gets the property? Who gets his company? In a twist of events, the answer to all of this is one person: Marta. The entire scene, from the initial reading to the family pause & their eventual chaotic breakdown, is so fantastic. Marta fleeing the very house she now owns to hide from Harlan's enraged family is such a tense but fun moment.
At the beginning of the movie, we see Harlan owns a mug that says 'My House. My Rules. My Coffee!!'. At the end of the movie, once Marta is now clear of any wrong-doing and has taken possession of his entire estate, mug included, we get our final shot of Marta drinking from this mug. This time, however, her hands are blocking the bottom two sentences, so we only see her mug with the statement: My House.