Johnson's writing is so strong that it is only fitting his cast is full of top-tier names. Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine, Hereditary), Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies, Freaky Friday), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), Don Johnson (Django Unchained), and Chris Evans (The Avengers) create a dysfunctional family dynamic that is believable and yet shocking to watch. If those names aren't enough to keep you interested in this film, the cast also includes Christopher Plummer (Beginners), Daniel Craig (Casino Royale), Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049), LaKeith Stanfield (Sorry to Bother You, Short Term 12, Selma), Katherine Langford (Love, Simon), and Jaeden Martell (It, Midnight Special). Every member of the cast is nothing short of amazing. No one is given too much time on screen or too little time on screen. To me, Daniel Craig really stands out in his role, with an accent that I would have never expected to hear from him. With a southern drawl, it takes a good ear to stay focused on what his character is saying. Furthermore, I have seen very few movies with Ana de Armas and this film really makes me want to become more familiar with her acting. Certainly, everyone will find a character that is most enjoyable or most relatable to them in the film.
This cast works so well because the script and story is consistent throughout the whole movie. This is a suspenseful and yet comedic murder mystery. There are constantly new revelations in the story, but with so many twists and turns one might expect the film to grow tiring. Contrary to this expectation, the twists and turns are perfectly timed and keep the viewer on the edge of their seat. Within the plot we get a lot of family banter, especially with Chris Evans's character. Evans plays Ransom Drysdale, a rebellious grandson of Harlan, who constantly bickers with the family. Ransom provides most of the comic relief in the film, being crude and clever with his banter.
Once all of the pieces are put together for the mystery, the audience is left craving more still. Similarly to a Soderbergh (Traffic) heist film, Knives Out, releases the audience's tension at the end of the film. The payoff is worth the nearly 2 hour wait, just as it was worth the wait for Rian Johnson's first original film in 7 years.
The Bottom Line: Rian Johnson is back with one of his best films yet. This is a wholly original murder mystery with a crazy cast that portrays Johnson's writing skills with gravitas.