Movie Review - Knives Out
The film introduces us to an entire family, but introductions to them is the most we get. Each family member is nothing but a caricature, either to be mocked or dismissed. They are the products of wealth and privilege who are not worthy of any kind of empathy or sympathy. It's not that dissimilar with how the characters were in Clue. None of them were really worthy of empathy or sympathy, but Jonathan Lynn's cult classic spent more time with them and gave them more scenes where they're interacting and bouncing off each other. That amount of time builds natural empathy or sympathy as just a consequence. Johnson's film doesn't have that amount of time with the family to build any kind of connection like that. The family members are so disposable. It doesn't make the ending that literally disposes of them all that effective.
She has a family, a single mother and a sibling. It's never explained where her father is or why he's not in the picture. It is revealed later that her mother is an undocumented immigrant. Her mother's status becomes a plot point, but it's clear that immigration is an idea or issue that is atop Johnson's mind. Yet, it is just a plot point.
The film runs through six members of the family in the center of this narrative. We're given their names and a bit for them to play, but that's it. The casting is fine, but we blow past them so fast that mentioning them at all almost feels pointless. They are all apart of the Thrombey family. The patriarch of which is Harlan Thrombey, played by Christopher Plummer (Beginners and All the Money in the World). He's the one who is found dead and it's his death that has to be solved. His family members are all positioned as suspects. A couple of them are teed up with motives, but it ends up being all for nothing, again as all are just dismissed.
Rated PG-13 for brief violence, some strong language, sexual references and drug material.
Running Time: 2 hrs. and 10 mins.