“Because I’m not playing to beat you. I’m playing to build a beautiful pattern.”
My first encounter with Rian Johnson was while he was putting his heart and soul in the extraordinary, and extraordinarily overlooked Brothers Bloom, a tad too idiosyncratic for the reviewers to digest, or apparently for peoples that managed to see it. Maybe because it was meant for ones who did not get the chance, who knows. So he went on to helm one of the three good films in the Star Wars saga – The Last Jedi (other two, the equally misunderstood Revenge Of The Sith, and obviously, canonical The Empire Strikes Back), because along with possessing the gift of cinematic craft, Johnson fully grasps the point of the heroic journey – its high operatic certainty, a desire for soul integrity, and adherence to the logic of myth with the fragility of the mundane. Incidentally, he also directed the most impeccable piece in TV history, Breaking Bad‘s antepenultimate episode Ozymandias.
This zany caper film no one talks about when interviewing Mr Johnson is evident in Knives Out, sans the overtly peculiar, bubbling merrily in its humanity and impishly clear in exposing societal rot through the cleverest of cinema lenses – a whodunit in the tradition of A. Christie and the Hollywood all-star mysteries of yore. And all the stars are game, so here’s a group portrait: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, LaKeith Stanfield, Chris Evans, Jaeden Martell, K Callan, Edi Patterson, Riki Lindhome, and Frank Oz.
Although I mostly write spoiler analysis, due to the nature of these reviews, I won’t do this here, for the sheer pleasure everyone should have while watching this most enjoyable of cinematic experiences of the year, or just generally. An antidote, if you will, to the nasty landscapes it depicts, with extreme wit and a big heart.
Go see it. It’s about inheritance.
And yes, I give it five stars, without explaining why.
My blog, my rules, my mind.