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Caught this today and Rian Johnson has outdone himself - and I either like or love all of the films he’s made to date.
While it’s filmed with all the necessary grace and wit - full of theatrical zooms and exaggerated angles - the script is a wee little masterwork. It’s full of dastardly machinations without giving into the cheap temptation of red herrings or loose ends. Everything fits together like a dream, and the immediate stakes and mystery shift and complicate in delightful ways.
What’s crucial is that Johnson plays it straight while still mining the situations for comedy. It’s an extremely funny film (Daniel Craig in a southern drawl reflecting on metaphorical donuts is magnificent), but the central murder mystery is also played with the sort of gravity that’s needed. It has fun right up until the end - one of the final twists of the knife had the audience I saw it with break out in well earned spontaneous applause - but is a pure whodunnit at its heart. And a magnificent one at that. It’s pure Johnson in that sense - the same way TLJ is a great Star Wars films while expanding and twisting the canvas, or how Brick marries the old school with modern sensibilities so elegantly.
Also, after the bland fence-sitting of Joker, I was particularly pleased to see how Johnson wades right into the contemporary discourse with such playfulness. This is
The cast are all having such fun, but Daniel Craig is having the most fun, and it’s great to see. Not a weak link in the mix though, and kudos to Johnson for having one of the least known actors in the mix - Ana de Armas - carry so much of the hard stuff.
It’s a blast, and the most fun I’ve had in the cinema since One Cut of the Dead (struggling to think of a recent American film that’s quite so outrageously enjoyable). The only advice I have is: see it with a crowd if you can, because this is crowdpleasing in the most generous sense of the word.
Like all of Rian Johnson's genre pictures, this one is clever, fast, and most of all, fun. After noir and con-men, he now delivers a take on a whodunnit that twists and turns with the best of them. The cast is uniformly great - all these old actors hamming it up as one of those terrible moneyed families - and Daniel Craigs detective is one for the ages. Ana de Armas is fantastic, the direction is crisp and witty, the music is cool, and you just walk away with a big grin on your face
An wholly original whodunnit with ample important social commentary (that I won't spoil here). Brilliant plot, crackling script, dazzling sets and beneath it all an exquisite message. Rian Johnson's best by a country mile.
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