The movie is a classic whodunit, with a Rian Johnson twist, that sees Chris Evans as Ransom, the entitled grandson of his family’s newly deceased mystery author patriarch. Evans’ character is the family slacker who only arrives in the movie (outside of flashbacks) when it’s time for the reading of the will, and when he does, it’s one hell of an entrance.
He walks in the door chomping on cookies and the first thing he does is ask the housekeeper if she could get him a cold glass of milk. He’s instantly seen as terrible, which is exactly why Rian Johnson wrote the scene that way. As the director explained on our own Reelblend podcast...
As Rian Johnson says, we know from what other characters have said about Ransom that he’s just an entitled, awful, person. When he arrives, he successfully proves everybody right. He’s rude to literally every person in his family, He clearly has no respect for them.
A good murder mystery needs lots of suspects, and Knives Out has one of the best casts of the year that includes not only Chris Evans, but Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson and more. With so many characters to juggle, there is a lot of information that Knives Out needs to get across quickly and cleanly, and it’s moments like this that very much do that. You know everything you need to know about Chris Evans character (at least up to that point) after only spending a couple of minutes with him.
While Knives Out isn’t quite a traditional whodunit parlor mystery, it contains all of those classic elements, and fans of those sorts of stories are almost certainly going to enjoy themselves. I don’t know what the chances are that Daniel Craig’s private detective character Benoit Blanc might be seen again solving another mystery, but I for one would love to see that happen.
To hear more of Rian Johnson’s ReelBlend interview, check out the complete episode below.