'Knives Out': a whodunit set in contemporary America

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Agatha Christie never imagined anything quite like this.

FILE PHOTO: Cast member Daniel Craig attends the premiere of “Knives Out” in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 14, 2019. REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Murder mystery “Knives Out,” arriving in U.S. and British movie theaters on Wednesday, may be inspired by the work of the prolific British crime writer but its twist on the genre couldn’t be more modern, or more humorous.

Directed by Rian Johnson, the director of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and with a star-studded cast, the whodunit sees Daniel Craig play a debonair southern American detective seeking to unmask the truth behind the death of a wealthy and eccentric patriarch, played by Christopher Plummer.

In the process, the film touches on other aspects of the moral landscape of the United States in 2019, including such topics as immigration and white privilege.

“We set this movie today in America and the whole idea was this isn’t going to be timeless, this isn’t going to be a sepia old story. We are going to engage with the culture right now,” said Johnson.

While the movie has serious things to say, it’s all done “in a way that you’ll be able to have a laugh at,” he said.

Rarely for a Hollywood movie, the film puts a Latina caregiver, played by Cuban actress Ana de Armas, front and center.

“I could never think that a Latina in this scenario would just have that much presence and also be highlighted with all these good values,” said de Armas.

She “is the moral compass of the story and the heart of the story,” the actress added.

Running through the murder mystery, complete with red herrings and a large dysfunctional family, is what actor Don Johnson describes as a humorous and honest look at “how entitled people behave towards immigrants and people of color.”

Jamie Lee Curtis plays Linda Drysdale, the eldest daughter of the multi-generational family.

“It is not an anti-Trump movie and it is not a pro-Trump movie,” Curtis said. “It is family conversation about the issues that are plaguing our country.”

Editing by Jill Serjeant and Sonya Hepinstall


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