Knives Out – TIFF 2019 Review

Knives Out is a film best experienced with knowing as little as possible, so don’t worry fellow reader! The following review is 100% spoiler free!

Knives Out is the newest film from acclaimed filmmaker Rian Johnson. The film stars an all-star cast that consists of Daniel Craig, Ana De Armas, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Lakeith Stanfeild, Christopher Plummer, Katherine Langford and Jaeden Martell. It revolves around a detective and a trooper, who travel to a lush estate, in order to interview the quirky relatives of a patriarch who passed away during his 85th birthday.

I have liked Johnson’s prior work, such as Looper and The Last Jedi. However, until this point, I never really saw him as a great filmmaker. He’s a very talented artist behind the camera, as he knows how to make visuals stimulating, as he really adds some dynamic techniques while directing. However my problem with him has always been that he isn’t that great of a writer; which is easily his greatest kryptonite. I was still very excited for Knives Out, given the massive cast and the genre it represented. I went in expecting a very good film, and what I got at the end of the day, is what I can proudly say is my favorite film I saw at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival!

The first thing that stood out about Knives Out for me was the unique structure of the narrative. The film begins in a way, that I have not seen done in many conventional high-budget films. Without saying much, Johnson really gets you into the lives of the whole entire cast of characters, and draws you in almost instantly as an external family member. What this all does in the end, is to create a surprising and truly thrilling experience that will have you on the edge of your seat. So much of what happens in the film truly subverted my expectations on what a film’s genre can do in order to add onto a story. Every twist was not just only amazing, but made sense within the context of the story. The film will sure to have you engaged through it’s twists and turns, where the film will come together to one hell of a third act, which had me truly locked in.

This all comes from the brilliant mind himself, Rian Johnson, who truly upped his writing and directing game to a whole new level. The screenplay he wrote here is stunning, to the point that it should honestly be in contention for best original screenplay at this year’s Academy Awards. Like I mentioned before, the structure is so unique, and the film had me on the edge of my seat; which was fully because of the writing at play. There is also many complex themes that Johnson manages to write into the film, that adds so much more depth. To continue, the characters Johnson created are nothing short of excellent, as they are all super engaging and compelling throughout. Then their’s his direction, which is equally just as marvelous as his intricate screenplay. Johnson manages to add such immense visual energy to the film; where the camera work really adds to the personality and vibrance of the plot.

The whole entire cast also kills it! There is just so many cast members involved, and while some get more screen time then other members, they all have a significant purpose towards the plot. There are three main stand outs in particular that I would like to mention. Daniel Craig was perfect as the lead detective, who really commands the screen whenever he is present. Ana De Armas is continuing to be such a wonderful actress, as she also gives a charming side-character performance. However, the biggest surprise of the cast was Chris Evans. Evans plays his character in such a way that I have never seen him accomplish before. From his behavior to mannerisms, I honestly really hope from now on, that he continues to choose more ambitious roles like this.

Knives Out is awesome! The reason why this was my favorite film at the Toronto International Film Festival, is that it reminded me why I love film in the first place. This is a project that is fun, engaging, thrilling, and has a plethora of engaging, well-written and directed characters. This film is gonna be huge come November,and I cannot wait to re-watch it then!I’m glad to say that I’m officially on the Rian Johnson hype train now!

Knives Out screened at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The film will hit cinemas on November 27th

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