Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers to Knives Out.
Knives Out has hit theaters, and seemingly to the surprise of pretty much everyone out there, it blew people away. Personally, it somehow managed to exceed all expectations as both a Rian Johnson movie and a textbook murder mystery whodunnit. In an age where tentpole franchises with $150 million budgets are all the rage, this original $40 million picture manage to enchant audiences in a way not even Murder on the Orient Express could do a couple of years back.
Like any good murder mystery, the film spends a good amount of its opening twisting audience’s heads around the possibility of who could have committed the murder, only for the story to get turned on its head when it’s revealed that Ana de Armas’ Marta accidentally overdosed Harlan Thrombey, leading him to kill himself in hopes that she wouldn’t get blamed for the murder.
The story then turned into the innocent Marta doing her best to avoid detection from the clever Benoit Blanc, who was hired by an unknown benefactor to take on the case. When all said and done, the real villain turned out to be Chris Evans’ Ransom Drysdale, who simply wanted a cut of his grandfather’s fortune — as all good murderers do.
There were a lot of twists and turns there, and one can’t help but wonder that, in a story like this, if there were multiple possible endings — not unlike Clue, which featured a few different murderers.
“No. Because, if you work that way,” Rian Johnson told the Reel Blend podcast, regarding to his own methods, which involve starting structurally from the top-down, and then filling in the blanks as you go, “hopefully you construct it so it dramatically can’t be [anyone else]. There’s only one way it really works, because it’s designed to work that way.”
I think that adds to the strengths of the film. Leaving the theater, I felt like all the potential gaps had been filled, and thinking back to previous scenes, it didn’t feel like there were any other ways for that story to turn out, when all said and done.
What do you think of Johnson’s approach to writing his mystery? Let us know down below!
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SOURCE: Reel Blend Podcast