Written, produced and directed by Rian Johnson
Opening shot is divine. Grand old house silhouetted against foreboding sky and in the foreground piles of crunchy autumn leaves lie looking crunchy and autumnal. Two black dogs appear in the distance and run towards camera.
Sort of goes downhill from there. Not downhill, just not particularly memorable.
Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc had me guessing for a little while. Is that a really bad French accent? Surely not. Is he trying to be Hercules Poirot? And then it became clearer – it was a Southern US drawl. Confusing. He was softly spoken but that’s about all. He wasn’t intuitive. He wasn’t passionate. He wasn’t particularly interesting. Sadly he was a spineless anaemic character up on the big screen and Daniel didn’t really have much to play with.
Ana de Armas as Marta Cabrera plays her nursing role beautifully with wide-eyed innocence and sincerity. A nice portrayal of a young Latino woman in a sticky situation. But could she be involved in this –? And Michael Shannon as Walt with his menacing walking cane. Could he have – ? Would he – ? And the fabulous ditsy Joni (Toni Colette)? It’s fun to guess.
Christopher Plummer gives a fine portrayal as the 85 year old patriarch, full of life, full of money and probably the only one full of good sense. The question is what will he do with all that wealth? And will his beloved family like his decision?
But some gripes…
The sunburst of knives that figures in so many scenes is wonderful. It frames anyone who sits in front of it like an evil halo. But there’s little other imagery that stands out.
Thought it would be a lot funnier than it is. There’s a few jolly moments but not many. The murder/mystery genre has a grand history but the dialogue in this particular movie was pedestrian (“asshole, asshole, asshole”) and lacked wit. Some ruthless script editing would do wonders…it doesn’t need to be 130 minutes long.
But at least it’s entertaining to watch a seemingly together family descend into chaos because of that bothersome old thing called greed.