Is Rian Johnson only a Master of the Sci-Fi Action Genre or is he a Jack-of-All-Genres?
Given his recent body of work, writer-director Rian Johnson has become known predominantly for sci-fi action projects. From “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” to “Looper” to some of the most impactful episodes of “Breaking Bad,” you could reasonably expect Johnson’s next idea to follow in the same vein of blockbuster intensity. In fact, Lucasfilm has already signed him up for his own Star Wars trilogy project.
Before Jonson gets to work on that next big-budget Disney assignment, though, he has been having some fun pursuing a passion project with Lionsgate that will come out on November 27th. The film is called “Knives Out,” and while it may not be the cinematic epic that audiences have come to know Johnson for, it just might satisfy us all the same.
The Answer is Yes — He Masterfully Blends Comedy, Mystery, and All-Star Cast For this Fun-Filled Thrill-Ride
The premise of “Knives Out” has nothing to do with space battles or time travel. The movie is an action-comedy-drama about a family whose patriarch dies under suspicious circumstances and an eccentric detective who’s tasked with figuring out the truth. However, rather than having the film be a straightforward hard-boiled noir story, Johnson borderline parodies the genre, with hilariously hyperbolic characters moving the twisty plotline along with on-the-nose dialogue and wit.
These funky characters are portrayed by an all-star cast. Foremost, Daniel Craig plays the detective: a super-serious, inquisitive leading man dead-set on unraveling the mystery. Endearingly, Craig almost seems to poke fun at himself in this role, mocking his own performances as the latest, ultra-stoic version of James Bond.
Standing alongside Craig as members of the family are Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Christopher Plummer, and many others. Additional recognizable faces in the film include that of young Jaeden Martell from “It,” veteran Don Johnson from “Miami Vice” and legendary puppeteer, director, and actor Frank Oz, who reprised his famous role as Yoda in Johnson’s last Star Wars film.
Although it Came after Great Success Elsewhere, ‘Knives Out’ is Certainly a Passion Project Worth the Wait
Johnson first pitched the idea for “Knives Out” way back in 2010. He wanted to create a classic murder-mystery style film, drawing inspiration from Agatha Christie stories and retro thriller-comedies such as “Murder On The Orient Express” and “The Private Eyes.” The film was not officially announced until September 2018 and began filming in October 2018, wrapping at the end of the year.
“Knives Out” finally premiered at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival and met excellent reviews, being praised for its originality, humor, and star-studded performances. While the film mostly satirizes the bygone murder-mystery genre, it manages to keep the audience engaged and interested all the same. To sum it up in a word—critics deem the film incredibly fun, a thrilling treat bound to make viewers smile and enjoy themselves throughout.
So before we settle in for Johnson’s new Star Wars project, let’s return to something in the spirit of his earlier, indie-style work. Let’s be reminded of the filmmaker’s affinity for screenwriting, comedy, and getting the best out of talented actors. Let’s put franchise fandom and studio divisiveness on hold for a minute and have some fun.
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