Knives Out (film)

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Knives Out
Knives Out poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRian Johnson
Produced by
Written byRian Johnson
Music byNathan Johnson[1]
CinematographySteve Yedlin
Edited byBob Ducsay
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • September 7, 2019 (2019-09-07) (TIFF)
  • November 27, 2019 (2019-11-27) (United States)
Running time
130 minutes[3]
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million[4]

Knives Out is a 2019 American ensemble black comedy mystery film written and directed by Rian Johnson. Described as a modern take on the whodunit murder mystery, the film follows a family gathering gone horribly awry, after the family patriarch's death leads a master detective to investigate. The film stars Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer, Riki Lindhome, K. Callan, Noah Segan, Edi Patterson, Frank Oz, Raúl Castillo, and M. Emmet Walsh.

The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019 and is scheduled to be theatrically released in the United States on November 27, 2019, by Lionsgate.


Wealthy crime novelist Harlan Thrombey invites his extended dysfunctional family to his mansion on his 85th birthday in hopes of reuniting them all. However, during the birthday party, Harlan is found dead by the family and Detective Benoit Blanc is called to investigate the case. Soon enough, everyone in the family becomes a suspect.



In June 2010, writer/director Rian Johnson expressed interest in making an Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery film. He told The Independent that he wanted to make the film after finishing Looper (2012).[5] However, Johnson's next film project after Looper turned out to be Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).

Knives Out was announced in September 2018, with Daniel Craig starring in the film. It was sold to distributors during the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.[6] In October 2018, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon, Ana de Armas, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Toni Collette joined the cast.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] In November 2018, Christopher Plummer, Jaeden Martell, Katherine Langford, Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, and Raúl Castillo joined the cast.[14][15][16] Frequent Johnson collaborator Noah Segan was announced as being in the film in December.[17] Shannon has compared the film to the works of Christie.[18] In March 2019, Frank Oz, who previously worked with Johnson in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, revealed that he would be appearing in a small role.[19]

Johnson cited several classic mystery thrillers and mystery comedies as influences on the film, including The Last of Sheila, Murder on the Orient Express, Something's Afoot, Murder by Death, Death on the Nile, The Private Eyes, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun, Deathtrap, Clue, and Gosford Park.[20]


Principal photography began on October 30, 2018, in Boston, Massachusetts and wrapped on December 20, 2018.[21][22][23]


Knives Out had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2019.[24] It is scheduled to be theatrically released on November 27, 2019, by Lionsgate.[25]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 98% based on 59 reviews, with an average rating of 8.46/10. The website's critics' consensus reads, "Knives Out sharpens old murder-mystery tropes with a keenly assembled suspense outing that makes brilliant use of writer-director Rian Johnson's stellar ensemble."[26] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 83 out of 100 based on 18 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".[27]

David Rooney, writing for The Hollywood Reporter, described the film as "[an] ingeniously plotted, tremendously entertaining and deviously irreverent crowd-pleaser" and "a treat from start to finish", praising the film's script, throwbacks to the murder mysteries of the 1970s and the actors' performances.[28]


  1. ^ "Nathan Johnson to Reteam with Rian Johnson on 'Knives Out'". Film Music Reporter. March 13, 2019. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  2. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (September 7, 2018). "Toronto Whopper: MRC Buys World Rights To Daniel Craig-Rian Johnson Whodunit 'Knives Out'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  3. ^ "Knives Out". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  4. ^ Scott Roxborough (September 7, 2019). "'Knives Out' Director Rian Johnson on Shifting From 'Star Wars' to Agatha Christie-Style Whodunnit". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  5. ^ Battersby, Matilda (June 3, 2010). "Rian Johnson: How I went from Brick to Brothers Bloom". The Independent. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  6. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (September 4, 2018). "Toronto Kicks Off With Hot Package: Daniel Craig Stars, Rian Johnson Directs & Scripts Murder Mystery 'Knives Out'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (October 4, 2018). "Chris Evans To Join Daniel Craig In Rian Johnson's Red-Hot Murder Mystery 'Knives Out'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  8. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (October 8, 2018). "Lakeith Stanfield Joins Daniel Craig & Chris Evans In Rian Johnson's Murder Mystery 'Knives Out'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 8, 2018). "Michael Shannon in Talks to Join Rian Johnson's 'Knives Out' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  10. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (October 18, 2018). "'Blade Runner 2049' Star Ana De Armas Joins Daniel Craig & Chris Evans In 'Knives Out'; Shoot Begins Next Month". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  11. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (October 19, 2018). "Don Johnson In Advanced Talks For Rian Johnson's 'Knives Out'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  12. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 25, 2018). "Jamie Lee Curtis Joins Rian Johnson's 'Knives Out' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  13. ^ Kroll, Justin (October 30, 2018). "Toni Collette Joins Rian Johnson's 'Knives Out'". Variety. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (November 2, 2018). "Christopher Plummer in Talks to Join Rian Johnson's Murder Mystery 'Knives Out' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  15. ^ Kit, Borys; Galuppo, Mia (November 9, 2018). "Katherine Langford Joins Rian Johnson's 'Knives Out' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  16. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (November 9, 2018). "'Knives Out': Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, Raúl Castillo Join Rian Johnson Movie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Wampler, Scott (December 4, 2018). "Noah Segan Is In Rian Johnson's Knives Out". BirthMoviesDeath. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  18. ^ Giroux, Jack (January 10, 2019). "'State Like Sleep' Star Michael Shannon Discusses Christopher Walken, Working With Rian Johnson on 'Knives Out,' and the 2018 Movie Everyone Should See". /Film. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  19. ^ Pearson, Ben (March 12, 2019). "Yoda Actor Frank Oz Reuniting with 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Director Rian Johnson to Act in 'Knives Out'". /Film. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
  20. ^ Johnson, Rian [@rianjohnson] (January 31, 2019). "Edit room posters: Knives Out edition..." (Tweet). Retrieved February 1, 2019 – via Twitter.
  21. ^ "Knives Out - Production Listing". Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  22. ^ Marc, Christopher (September 30, 2018). "Rian Johnson Reuniting With 'Last Jedi' Cinematographer Steve Yedlin For 'Knives Out'". GWW. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  23. ^ Trumbore, Dave (October 30, 2018). "Rian Johnson Reveals On-Set Image as Filming Starts on 'Knives Out'". Collider. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  24. ^ Lang, Brent (July 23, 2019). "Toronto Film Festival: 'Joker,' 'Ford v Ferrari,' 'Hustlers' Among Big Premieres". Variety. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  25. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (December 13, 2018). "Thanksgiving 2019: Lionsgate To Release MRC's Rian Johnson Murder Mystery 'Knives Out' With Daniel Craig & Killer Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  26. ^ "Knives Out (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
  27. ^ "Knives Out reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  28. ^ Rooney, David (September 7, 2019). "'Knives Out': Film Review | TIFF 2019". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 12, 2019.

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