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Knives Out Review [Tiff 2019]

With his first feature retort following Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson’s Knives Out sees the polarizing filmmaker twirl around a cinematic top hot, pulling off a happy assortment of magic tricks. For 130 minutes, the writer-director disorients and delights, confidently trailblazing through his murder mystery two, maybe even three steps ahead of the audience. This isn’t a simple, direct testament to the slick, sidesplitting script, nor the fully committed, second-to-none ensemble, but rather a passed inspection of these cogs and their ability to form a purely entertaining experience.

The film calls back a time before the genre turned into a parody of itself, when audiences could be both astonished and impressed by a well-told caper. Architected in part by the penny novels and Agatha Christie stories from back then, Knives Out never devolves into a caricature of its form, but rather exploits its common cants for winning results.

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