Knives Out

‘Knives Out’ takes its cue from multiple murder mystery comedies. ‘Murder by Death’ and ‘Clue’, are a few films amongst others that have continually garnered audiences for their witty whodunnits. Unlike those, ‘Knives Out’ is set in the modern era in spite of its Agatha Christie-style trappings. As fun as trying to work out who the evil doer is, ‘Knives Out’s is a consistently enjoyable ensemble romp sure to please even the darkest of viewers.

Crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) invites his extended family to his 85th birthday party. Among his brood are grandson, Ransom (Chris Evans), and daughter, Linda (Jamie Lee-Curtis). The day after festivities are over, Harlan is found dead. Suspecting foul play, seasoned private investigator Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is tasked with uncovering the crime as a potential killer lurks in the shadows.

‘Knives Out’ is a fun, twisty turny mystery full of style. Rian Johnson directs with the perfect light touch needed to tease out the comedy and small thrills. He’s clearly a fine student of similar works and uses the best of them to conjure fine viewing. He is ably assisted by an excellent ensemble with Craig clearly having a grand time in a rare comedic role.

An effective whodunnit, ‘Knives Out’ expertly keeps you guessing until the end. Not many of these films know how to blend humour and thrills well. ‘Knives Out’ does this with ease. The ‘old dark house’ location aids in crafting the typical thriller atmosphere as does the stirring music score.

An amiable journey to suspense and mirth, ‘Knives Out’ is consistently entertaining. The direction and cast are top notch with all giving the script the energy it needs for a successful production. There’s no need to have murderous thoughts against the film-makers as ‘Knives Out’ is devilish fun for any secretly blood-thirsty audiences.

Rating out of 10: 8

Ford vs Ferrari

Sports films have always been popular with audiences. The thrill of competition, how the seemingly impossible was achieved has seen many such movies pass into enduring fame. What these works have in common is showing how sport isn’t the most important thing but about the personalities involved. ‘Ford vs Ferrari’ remembers this with the intense real-life battle of emotional will just as gripping as the sport itself.

In the early 60’s, American car maker Henry Ford (Tracy Letts) offers to buy French manufacturer Ferrari. When his overtures are rebuffed, Ford instructs his chief engineer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) to design a racing car. This is no ordinary car as Ford wants it in the fabled Le Mans car race against Ferrari. Enlisting the help of British driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), Ford’s pride knows no limits in the race to the finish line.

Under James Mangold’s steady direction, ‘Ford vs Ferrari’ turns into a winner. These types of ‘underdog trying to overcome the odds’ type movies can fall into cliché territory. That doesn’t happen here as Mangold teases the best out of his performers and paces the story well. You barely notice the lengthy run-time with the corporate interference, family dramas and determination to win maintaining a compelling edge.

Although the acting is of a consistently high standard, the real star of ‘Ford vs Ferrari’ is the racetrack. The way the racing scenes are shot really brings you into the danger and excitement of the sport. Blood, sweat and tears are certainly felt with the sporting and emotional elements packing an equal punch. The period setting is effectively utilized, giving a sense of time in an interesting era in car racing.

‘Ford vs Ferrari’ is a very solid piece of film-making. The story is allowed to ‘breathe’ with the bitter rivalries and sportsmanship captivating. Even those who don’t like any sport should be enraptured by the speedy visions which may make viewers gain respect for those partaking in such daredevil exploits.

Rating out of 10: 8