One part Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery, one part dark comedy about an exceedingly weird family, and entirely fun, Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” followup “Knives Out” is a classic whoddunit with plenty of big surprises. The film, which recently debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival to great acclaim (IndieWire’s own David Ehrlich called it “a crackling, devious, and hugely satisfying old-school whodunnit with a modern twist”), is preparing for a Thanksgiving weekend release, where it will likely delight plenty of weird families looking for their own holiday distractions.
Featuring a star-packed cast that includes the likes of Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Noah Segan, Edi Patterson, Riki Lindhome, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer, “Knives Out” attempts to unpack the mysterious death of the very rich patriarch of the Thrombey family. While Johnson’s film is quite keen to stick to its “whodunnit” roots, it also takes some amusing diversions that only add to its appeal.
But, yes, there is a mystery to solve, and Johnson and his film cleverly unspool it over the course of “Knives Out.” And while the latest trailer for the film doesn’t give too much away, it’s loaded with key clues for curious moviegoers to enjoy. No spoilers ahead, we promise, but plenty to ready audiences for Johnson’s smart new spin on a beloved genre.
1. The items in Harlan’s study
It may sound a bit cliched, but the sprawling Thrombey mansion is very much its own character in the film. Big, imposing, and crammed with interesting artifacts, it’s where most of the action of “Knives Out” plays out, including the death that sets the plot in motion. The most important room in the house: likely Harlan’s (Plummer) study, which figures prominently in both the film and the newest trailer. It’s laden with special items, including at least one very large dagger, Harlan’s notebook, the board game “Go” that Harlan and his trusty nurse Marta (de Armas) like to play, and the aging author’s many medications. It’s basically it’s own set of Clue items, all tucked up in one cozy room.
2. That cracked piece of trellis
Johnson’s film both subverts and embraces the constraints of the whodunnit crime drama, so while the inclusion of a clue as seemingly obvious as a cracked piece of trellis might seem like a misdirect, it may not actually be a trick. Plus, the discovery of such clues gives the audience a chance to appreciate the (maybe great? possibly out of his element?) sleuthing of Craig as the famous detective Benoit Blanc, as he smartly picks up the potential clue with his natty handkerchief.
3. The secret door
That same trellis sentiment goes for a secret door that appears late in the trailer, the kind of intriguing architectural element that further hints at the secrets of the mansion itself.
4. All those financial concerns
One of the biggest questions of “Knives Out”: was Harlan actually murdered or did he, in fact, die by suicide? If there’s a murder, there’s got to be a motive, and this latest look at “Knives Out” puts forth a classic one for the seemingly cash-obsessed family. While Harlan is a wealthy man, thanks to his healthy career as (of course) a murder mystery author, the rest of the Thrombey family doesn’t appear to be nearly as solvent. What’s going to happen once Harlan stops cutting the checks?
5. The dogs
In a cast filled with big names, Harlan’s lively two pups still manage to run away with a number of scenes, from harassing wayward grandson Ransom (Evans) to tromping across some likely important footprints. But are the dogs more than just furry distractions? Keep an eye out for their many appearances in the trailer, as they come lumbering into frame during a number of key sequences.
Check out the newest trailer for “Knives Out” below. Lionsgate will release the film in theaters on November 27.