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Starring: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Mystery crime drama written and directed by Rian Johnson. Knives Out (2019) follows a family gathering gone horribly awry when the family’s patriarch (Christopher Plummer), dies and three detectives, (Daniel Craig, Lakeith Stanfield, Noah Segan), are sent to investigate the crime.
Our Favorite Quotes:'The complexity and the gray lie not in the truth, but what you do with the truth once you have it.' - Benoit Blanc (Knives Out) Click To Tweet 'We must look a little closer. And when we do, we see that the doughnut hole has a hole in its center. It is not a doughnut hole, but a smaller doughnut with its own hole, and our doughnut is not holed at all!' - (Knives Out) Click To Tweet
Trooper Wagner: [after Harlan’s death, as Elliott and Wagner interview each family member] We’re very sorry for your loss.
Linda Drysdale: Thank you. That means a lot.
Lieutenant Elliott: So, we understand that night, the family had gathered to celebrate your father’s eighty-fifth birthday.
Linda Drysdale: Yes.
Lieutenant Elliott: How was it?
Linda Drysdale: The party? Pre my dad’s death? Oh, it was great.
Lieutenant Elliott: [referring to who attended Harlan’s birthday party] Did anyone, besides the family, show face?
Linda Drysdale: Fran, the housekeeper. Marta, Harlan’s caregiver. Good girl, hard worker. Family’s from Ecuador. And Wanetta. Greatnana, Harlan’s mom.
Lieutenant Elliott: His mom? Wow. How old is she?
Linda Drysdale: We have no idea.
Lieutenant Elliott: [referring to Harlan] You two were very close.
Linda Drysdale: We had our own secret way of communicating. You had to find that with dad. You had to find a game to play with him. And if you did that, and you played by his rules.
[she shrugs her shoulder, smiles and nods]
Richard Drysdale: Everyone idolizes their dad, right?
Lieutenant Elliott: I don’t know. Do they?
Richard Drysdale: Very much not. I don’t know why I said that. But my wife, Linda, does. Harlan started out with a rusty Smith-Corona, and built himself into one of the bestselling mystery writers of all time.
Lieutenant Elliott: Wow. It seems like all his kids are self-made overachievers.
Richard Drysdale: Sure.
Lieutenant Elliott: For the record, I’m speaking with Walt Thrombey, Harlan Thrombey’s youngest son. So, you run your father’s publishing company?
Walt Thrombey: Yeah. It’s my, it’s our, it’s the family’s publishing company. Dad trusts me to run it. Thirty languages, over eighty million copies sold. A real legacy. You guys fans?
Lieutenant Elliott: I mean, I don’t do much fiction reading myself.
Trooper Wagner: Big fan. I’m a big fan. I mean, his plots are just like… Like I won’t spoil it for you. But, okay, like “A Thousand Knives”, the cow and the shotgun. Like where do you come up with that?
Walt Thrombey: Well, dad said the plots just popped into his head fully formed. It was the easy part for him.
Lieutenant Elliott: [referring to Harlan’s birthday party] So the night went well?
Walt Thrombey: I mean, we’re all gutted, but I was happy to have that night with him.
To be by his side, to think about our book,s and what we’ve accomplished with them. It’s like I can still feel his hand on my shoulder, passing the torch.
Joni Thrombey: [referring to Blanc] Who is that guy? And why are we doing all this, again?
Lieutenant Elliott: This is just some followup questions. We’re tending to be thorough, so we can figure out the manner of death.
Walt Thrombey: So by “manner of death”, you mean if someone killed him? If one of us killed him. One of his family killed him.
Lieutenant Elliott: No, no. Walt, Walt. No, no.
Walt Thrombey: Is that what you’re suggesting, Lieutenant?
Lieutenant Elliott: No one is saying that, okay? This is all pro forma.
Richard Drysdale: Okay. So who the f*** is that?
Lieutenant Elliott: This is Benoit Blanc.
Richard Drysdale: Benoit Blanc?
Lieutenant Elliott: Yes. Mr. Blanc is a private investigator of great renown.
Joni Thrombey: [referring to Blanc] Wait a minute. I read a tweet about a New Yorker article about you. The last of the gentlemen sleuths? You solved that case with the tennis champ. You’re famous!
Lieutenant Elliott: Mr. Blanc is not with the police department, and not officially involved in the case, but he’s offered to consult. Now, I happily obliged, and I can vouch for him.
Linda Drysdale: Mr. Blanc, I know who you are. I read your profile in the New Yorker. I found it delightful. I just buried my eighty-five year-old father, who committed suicide. Why are you here?
Benoit Blanc: I’m here at the behest of a client.
Linda Drysdale: Who?
Benoit Blanc: I cannot say. But let me assure you this, my presence will be ornamental. You will find me a respectful, quiet, passive observer of the truth.
Lieutenant Elliott: See, I might be a victim of my own expectations here. But when the great Benoit Blanc comes knocking at my door, I expect it’s going to be about something, if not extraordinary, then at least interesting. But I’m sorry, this is an open and shut case of suicide. And, quite frankly, Benny, we’re getting to the point where I need to know what we’re doing here.
Benoit Blanc: The method. Throat slit. Typical for a suicide?
Lieutenant Elliott: Yes, I mean, that’s dramatic. But look around. I mean, the guy practically lives in a Clue board.
Benoit Blanc: Miss Cabrera. I’ve been doing a little poking. You are hired on a part time basis as a registered nurse, yes?
Marta Cabrera: Yes, I don’t work for a VNA. Harlan hired me directly.
Benoit Blanc: Take a seat, please. And you’re paid a flat rate for how many hours a week?
Marta Cabrera: Well, I started at fifteen, and then he needed more help.
Benoit Blanc: Medical help?
Marta Cabrera: He needed a friend.
Benoit Blanc: Does having a kind heart make you a good nurse?
Benoit Blanc: [referring to himself, Elliot and Wagner] Marta, we were just discussing possible motives in the family. I suspect that Harlan has told you much unfiltered truth about each of them. And a little bird has told me, how should I put this delicately? You have a regurgitive reaction to mistruthing.
Marta Cabrera: Who told you that?
Benoit Blanc: Is it true?
Marta Cabrera: Yes.
Benoit Blanc: Oh.
Marta Cabrera: It’s something I had since I was a kid. It’s a physical thing that I… Just the thought of lying, yeah, it makes me puke.
Benoit Blanc: Really?
Benoit Blanc: [after Marta’s told them that she pukes if she lies] Is Richard having an affair?
Harlan Thrombey: [we see flashback to Marta with Harlan] Why do men instinctively pull at loose threads on their parachutes?
Marta Cabrera: What?
Marta Cabrera: [Harlan shows her a photo of Richard kissing a woman] Richard?
Benoit Blanc: Mm-hmm.
Marta Cabrera: An affair?
Benoit Blanc: Yeah. A yes, or no, will do.
Marta Cabrera: No.
Lieutenant Elliott: [suddenly Marta vomits] Oh, s**t!
Benoit Blanc: Dear, girl, I’m sorry. I assumed you were speaking figuratively.
Benoit Blanc: [to Elliott] Now, we look at the pattern. Harlan was cleaning house.
Benoit Blanc: You have been very patient my friend. And, yes. You are right. None of these weak alibis and domestic squibbles answer your question. “Why is Benoit Blanc here?” Well, now I will tell you why. I’m here because this morning someone dodged a very important question.
Lieutenant Elliott: Who?
Benoit Blanc: Me. Linda asked who hired me.
Lieutenant Elliott: Who hired you?
Benoit Blanc: I do not know.
Benoit Blanc: Physical evidence can tell a clear story with a forked tongue.
Lieutenant Elliott: What?
Benoit Blanc: And as we can see from this morning, everyone can lie. Well, almost everyone.
Harlan Thrombey: [flashback to Marta with Harlan before his death] This goddamn fortune. You know, sometimes I think that everything I’ve given my family, I’ve done, maybe, without knowing, or maybe to keep them beneath me. I certainly should have. I don’t know. I encouraged Walt to write his own stories, not just be a caretaker of mine. Like you said I should. And then be a father, not just a provider for Joni, like you also said. I could’ve been kinder to Linda and Ransom. Jesus, Ransom. Oh, there’s so much of me in that kid. Confident, stupid. I don’t know, protected. Playing life like a game without consequence, until you can’t tell the difference between a stage prop and a real knife. I don’t fear death. But, oh, God, I’d like to fix some of this before I go. Close the book with a flourish. I guess we’ll see. Hm?
Marta Cabrera: I guess we will.
Marta Cabrera: [in flashback after she accidentally gives Harlan an overdose of morphine] I’m going to give you an emergency shot of Naloxone, so you don’t die in ten minutes.
Harlan Thrombey: Oh, well, no pressure. You know, this is an interesting and efficient method of murder. I need to write this down.
Walt Thrombey: Are you alright?
Linda Drysdale: I was just thinking about dad’s games. This all feels like one. Like something he’d write, not do. I keep waiting for the big reveal, where it all makes sense. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Benoit Blanc: Something is afoot with this whole affair. I know it, and I believe you know it too.
Marta Cabrera: So you’re going to keep digging.
Benoit Blanc: Harlan’s detectives, they dig, they rifle, and root. Truffle pigs. I anticipate the terminus of gravity’s rainbow.
Marta Cabrera: Gravity’s Rainbow.
Benoit Blanc: It’s a novel.
Marta Cabrera: Yeah, I know. I haven’t read it though.
Benoit Blanc: Neither have I. Nobody has. But I like the title. It describes the path of a projectile, determined by natural law. Et voilà, my method. I observe the facts, without biases of the head or heart. I determine the arc’s path, stroll leisurely to its terminus, and the truth falls at my feet.
Benoit Blanc: Tomorrow morning I search the grounds and the house, begin my investigation. I want you to be by my side for it.
Marta Cabrera: What?
Benoit Blanc: My confidant, my eyes and ears.
Marta Cabrera: Wait, Detective. Why me?
Benoit Blanc: I trust your kind heart. Also, you’re the only one who had nothing to gain from Harlan’s death. So, how about it, Watson?
Marta Cabrera: Detective, if you want my insight into this family, none of them are murderers. That’s my insight.
Benoit Blanc: And yet, be it cruel, or comforting, this machine unerringly arrives at the truth. That’s what it does.
Marta Cabrera: Always?
Benoit Blanc: Tomorrow at eight.
Benoit Blanc: [as Marta is petting the family dog] Best judge of character is a dog.
Marta Cabrera: Good boy.
Benoit Blanc: I’ve found that to be true.
Marta Cabrera: I’ve never been to a will reading.
Benoit Blanc: Oh, you think it’ll be like a game show, but think of a community theater production of a tax return.
Lieutenant Elliott: [as Ransom arrives at the house] Hugh Drysdale?
Ransom Drysdale: Ransom. Call me Ransom. It’s my middle name. Only the help calls me Hugh.
Lieutenant Elliott: Okay. This is Trooper Wagner. I’m Lieutenant Elliott. We just want to ask a few questions.
Trooper Wagner: [Ransom ignores them and just enters the house] Excuse me! Sir? We’re officers of the law.
Ransom Drysdale: Are you going to run me in? I don’t feel like talking. I’m distraught.
Lieutenant Elliott: [to Blanc] Hey, Benny, you want to ask this guy some questions?
Ransom Drysdale: Alright, what is this? What’s this arrangement?
Benoit Blanc: Mr. Drysdale.
Ransom Drysdale: CSI: KFC?
[then walks off]
Ransom Drysdale: Hey, Frannie, how about a glass of cold milk?
Meg Thrombey: Hey, a**hole. Not her name. Not her job.
Ransom Drysdale: Hey, Meg. How’s the SJW degree coming?
Meg Thrombey: Trust fund pr**k.
'Physical evidence can tell a clear story with a forked tongue.' - Benoit Blanc (Knives Out) Click To Tweet