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Yes No Maybe So: Knives Out

by Ben Miller

Director Rian Johnson can do what he wants these days.  After helming a Star Wars movie, directors have the cache to explore different realms of entertainment.  Johnson decided to go with Knives Out, an original story inspired by Agatha Christie murder mysteries.  Let’s break it down with our Yes, No, Maybe So™ system...


  • Johnson had an impressive filmography before The Last Jedi hit theaters.  He's three for three and we have no reason to expect that this will disappoint.

  • That is a MONSTER of a cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas, Michael Shannon, Jamie f-ing Lee Curtis, Toni f-ing Collette, Don Johnson, future Oscar winner Lakeith Stanfield, a pair of young up-and-coming stars in Jaeden Martell and Katherine Langford, the criminally underused Riki Lindhome (who is hilarious by the way) and Oscar-winner Christopher Plummer as the murdered family patriarch

  • The production design is bonkers, in a good way.  Apparently, there is some kind of Iron Throne made of knives!  Also, plenty of libraries and studies in the big mansion where the film takes place.

'How was it?' The party? Pre-my dad’s death?  Oh, it was great!”

  • We need more adult dark comedies in the world.
  • Craig is so obviously enjoying doing anything that is not James Bond related.  (I have a personal soft spot for any actor who is clearly enjoying themselves.)

  • It’s taken less than 24 hours for the “Eat shit, eat shit, definitely eat shit” to become a meme, so let's put this in the plus column.  This has also evolved into a statement on Johnson’s career and criticisms against it.

  • Johnson has always excelled at filming action, and this looks like the perfect use of his talents.

  • Chris Evans mouthing “Wow” while Daniel Craig flips coins is indicative of public feelings.

  • Everything looks pretty as Johnson has brought along his cinematographer Steve Yedlin, as well as his editor Bob Ducsay, who might have quite the task ahead of him


  • Daniel Craig is so definitely British, so it's worrisome when he tries another accent.  It worked in Logan Lucky, but you can't call him skilled in the accent department.


  • Chris Evans got his start playing an asshole-type with Not Another Teen Movie, but we haven’t seen him go full heel since he became Captain America.  A possibly welcome (?) sharp contrast to the shining beacon of light that we've all become accustomed to. 

  • Is it too much to ask to get Toni Collette’s real accent in two movies in a row?  She has such a great American accent, I constantly forget she is Australian.

  • Some of the jokes are a bit broad... at least within the trailer format.  I’m not a big fan of the CSI:KFC joke, but it might be played as corny in context

Full disclosure: I was already a yes the second I heard Johnson was making another film. Now with this story, cast, and tone, it's an 'all the way in' kind of "Yes". How about you? Are you a Yes No or Maybe So on the trailer evidence? 



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Reader Comments (25)

Yeah,not sure on the tome from the trailer,it looks fun but might be more dark than first glance would appear,JLC is on a roll,Collette's face is a gif in itself.

Who's the old man or woman in the trailer is that a cast memebr done up as someone else or a character in the film,so many questions.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Die hard Agatha Christie fan here. I was thrilled as soon as i heard about this. Now I'm going to need at least a handful of acting nominations, Evans included.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Looks fun with lots of fantastic sets and performers, so yes.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I was really let down by THE LAST JEDI (a movie whose fans only make it harder to love). Based on this trailer, I’m starting to think LOOPER was a fluke and his films just aren’t for me. The first shot is gorgeous, but why the incessant medium close-ups? Also, the writing is... awkward, to say the least. Nevertheless, Johnson’s got exquisite taste in thespians.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEli

With this crazy, inspired cast alone, it is an absolute yes

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

I am a yes just for Chris Evans. Shit indeed!

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

A good "Murder Mystery" is not all that easy to pull off. (Agatha Christie is a master at misdirection.) So, I'm all in for this cast, genre, and director - pretty much in that order. But, I will be really impressed if the script is as good as the cast.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

All I can say is... OH HELL YEAH!!!!!!

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

If this weren't Rian Johnson? Maybe So. Because it is? Still yes, but a milder yes than I was hoping.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Eli: Yeah, I didn't see a titanic game changing take on Star Wars, I saw a great thought experiment take down of JJ Abrams' storytelling toolkit (basically everything with Rey and Luke was amazing) marred by the casino subplot, which went for righteous, but exceedingly blunt, social commentary. It's a B+ movie in pretty much the opposite way as The Force Awakens, which was safe and simple to a fault. Cut all the casino stuff (which also shortens the movie by 20-30 minutes), and you've got an A/A- movie right there.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I was a YES until I saw this trailer. Now I'm verging on a NO.

What a hot mess. It looks like the tone and performances are all over the place.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Looks like the actors signed because of the director not the script.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

I am a Christie fan and this movie is not giving me good vibes. The tone is all over the place. Some actors are trying to be funny and it comes off as cringy instead. Johnson really blew any goodwill fanboys had with him since he keeps trolling people who criticize the last Star Wars film. I passed on Bad Times At El Royale last year and will probably pass on this too.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

This is terrifying in the worst way.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterP.U.

Yeah doesn’t seem to be all that. I actually still haven’t seen the Last Jedi (I cant believe Im saying this, but Im kinda over Star Wars for now), but I suppose I trust Rian Johnson on Looper alone. These star-studded ensemble films are usually apt to ride off the charisma of the cast and not much else, but we’ll see. I see the whole tone thing, but the trailer seems muted somehow. As if they didn’t want to give away too much of the plot or any big scenes/jokes. Could be wrong.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkris01

I think we need to come to tears of endearment that these are all bad actors.

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

Very into Lakeith Stanfield's mustache and all things Toni Collette and Jamie Lee-Curtis.

July 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

With such a stellar cast, it definitely is disappointing that they are focusing on Chris Evans (blah).

July 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKl

Yes! Can’t wait!

Love the cast, love the genre, love the director.

July 5, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteradri

I love that you refer to Lakeith Stanfield as future Oscar winner. I just hope one day he could win as Leading actor and not as supporting.

July 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

I love dark comedies too.

I don't remember to watch a review or recomendation about a movie from Alex de la Iglesia in this site. He is terrific.

July 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCésar Gaytán

A big YES! Anyone who only knows Rian from Star Wars is missing out on his debut masterpiece that is BRICK. So good. Plus, I’m loving all these Agatha Christie remakes airing on the BBC with amazing casts. This one looks sublime as well.

I think he and Karina Longworth are my favorite Hollywood couple.

July 5, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPam

A murder mystery movie needs a witty script. When your presumably best lines are syntactically clumsy ("How was it?'The party? Pre-my dad’s death? Oh, it was great!”) or crudely repetitious ("Eat shit!" ad nauseaum), then your movie is in trouble.

July 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMatt L.

It will surely be better than "Crooked House" (surprisingly bland) and "Murder on the Orient Express" (badly directed, inferior to Lumet's version in every aspect).

July 7, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTheDrMistery

I'm a yes on Johnson without this stupendous cast and trailer, so now I'm a YES.

July 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

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