This is one of the most enjoyable and entertaining movies of 2019. It is a twisty, turning tale of murder and intrigue that drips with delight. It is full to overflowing with great characters played by great actors and captured with beautiful photography.
The story concerns a wealthy family gathered in the patriarch’s house after his untimely death. The patriarch is Harlan Thrombey played perfectly by Christopher Plummer. His spoiled and nasty kids and grandkids are gathered like flies to a picnic with shows of mourning and knives hidden behind their backs. The police are here to ask further questions and interrogate everyone’s stories about the night he died. Among the police is a private investigator named Benoit Blanc, played with a thick dripping southern accent by Daniel Craig, who doesn’t think all the pieces add up. The one piece of the puzzle that Blanc latches onto is the old man’s nurse Anna, played by Anna De Armas. She has the delightful problem of vomiting every time she lies or considers lying.
Her response to lying isn’t just a character quirk. It is played for comedic effect, but it has real ramifications for the plot. That could be said of almost every detail revealed in this movie. Every line spoken is filled with meaning. It is a tightly written and masterful screenplay that can be followed easily for a casual viewer, but it also offers a million little touches for the audience member paying close attention. Jokes come back and have real meaning. Lines that sound like nothing turn out to be important clues. And character traits are all brought together in a well crafted symphony.
There are some really delightful moments early on when each character describes Harlan’s birthday party which took place just before Harlan’s death. Each person tells a slightly different account of the event that puts themselves in the best light. This tableau of flashbacks is deeply revealing of the characters while also just being plain entertaining.
It’s a fun mystery in that every time I thought I had it figured out, the movie took a left turn and kept me guessing. It has the delightful ability to zig and zag freely while never making the audience feel jerked around or mislead.
Ana De Armas is fantastic. She is engaging and the perfect point of view character for the film. It really is her film and her story, and she nails it. Chris Evans plays a pitch perfect spoiled jerk. He nails the entitlement and arrogance of one to the manor born. Jaime Lee Curtis is wonderful as a woman so tightly wound she looks like she could snap any second. Michael Shannon is both pathetic and menacing in every scene. Daniel Craig devours his role with relish. He seems to be loving every minute of his outrageous Southern accent and deductions. There is pure joy in this performance.
I have very few drawbacks. The movie is on the long side. It could have been shortened up a little bit. It takes a minute to get the traction going. The movie spins it’s wheels slightly at the very start. However, once the ball gets rolling, there’s no holding back. It is a fun movie. It is a great time at the movies. See it in theaters and enjoy the listening to the audience try to figure it out. Listen to the shocked gasps, and the sighs of recognition as the plot unfolds. It’s a great time.
I loved it. It’s my cup of tea. A+