Agatha Christie Strikes Again: Box Office Destroyer

Knives Out, Agatha Christie’s newest book-turned-movie, hit theaters this past weekend, looking like something filmed straight on a Clue board, enticing mystery and all.


Popping two thumbs up for Knives Out, the latest crime drama in theaters this past week, Elyse Sommer and her youngest sister smile in front of the promotional poster at AMC Southlands before viewing the film. The movie, originally written by Agatha Christie as a novel, features Daniel Craig (007 extraordinaire), Chris Evans (did someone say Captain America?), and Ana de Armas (another former James Bond star) in a set straight from a historic Victorian melodrama.

Elyse Sommer, Managing Editor

When you think of murder mystery, what comes to mind? For me, the first thing that comes to mind is the board game, Clue, followed by the name Agatha Christie.  And then, blood and knives and secrecy and poison and conspiracy. In that order. 


If you don’t know who Agatha Christie is, you’ve been living under a nice and fuzzy rock, with butterflies and ponies skipping through a meadow in perfect harmony.  Not to say that a flower-studded pasture with frolicking insects and horses doesn’t sound amazing, it’s just not all that realistic nowadays. We all need a little balance, i.e. the gasp-worthy, cold-blooded genre that is the mystery category of films and movies, a sphere of influential pop-culture that Agatha Christie not only swims in but preys on, like a shark feasting on lesser fish in the sea, a megalodon in an ocean of baby sharks (doo doo doo).


Good thing Christie modeled Clue.  


Christie’s latest book-turned-movie, Knives Out, is set in a house that looks as if it was snatched off the soft fibers of the Clue board game and the illustrious, top-billed cast fill the conspiratorial roles of the game wonderfully. Captain America himself, Chris Evans, plays the dramatic eldest grandson, Ransom Thrombey, of the film’s unfortunate murdered character, Harlan Thrombey, a wildly successful mystery author, ironically enough, played by Christoper Plummer, who is arguably perfect for his role as the stubborn patriarch of the Thrombey family. Considering Plummer’s success in his role as the fabulously wealthy oil tycoon J. Paul Getty in the 2017 film, All The Money in The World, it’s no wonder that Rian Johnson, the director of this new crime drama, chose him.  Johnson, known for directing Looper and Star Wars: Episode VIII (the newest one with my fave A-Lister, Adam Driver, just to clear it up), chose other Hollywood favorites, such as Toni Collette (fresh off the heels of success in her role as Detective Grace Rasmussen in Netflix’s newest biographical mystery, Unbelievable), Katherine Langford, and Daniel Craig.  


Oh, Daniel.  How far M16 has fallen.  


Evans, in one part of the movie, refers to Daniel’s forced Southern accent as “Kentucky-fried foghorn” and that’s generous folks.  I was going to go with a “gag-like drawl of a man who’s forgotten Southern vernacular yet moves back to Tennessee to be with family and wants to fit in at the cost of his sexy British accent.”


As soon as he opened his signature pursed lips and spoke, I cringed.  Two painstaking hours of my life spent listening to his very expensive and not very effective Southern impression, vocal coached to the point of oblivion.  I’ll never be able to listen to James Bond the same again. 


Putting aside the terrible accent, I really enjoyed the fervor Craig injected into his role as a private investigator, uncovering family mysteries and protecting the naive but powerful main female lead, Harlan’s nurse, Marta, played by Ana de Armas. Featured in other films like Craig’s very own No Time to Die (yet another installment of the never-ending Bond franchise) and Blade Runner 2049, de Armas is no stranger to success and she plays Marta with an innocence that does nothing to hide the true powerhouse behind the pretty, panicked face.  


I’m a ginormous fan of mysteries, I love trying to solve the crime alongside everyone else, right to the point of abandonment where you have to give up hope of solving it, and waiting with bated breath for the detective to lock away the murderer, saving the innocents and ringing justice’s bell for all to hear.  However, I was the only one in my family who thought this movie was at all enthralling. Pardon me for enjoying the slow build-up that’s Christie’s signature style. 


Emme Sommer, my freshman sister, said, “I enjoyed it and I liked the ending and the fact that you didn’t really see it coming, but I thought it was… snoozy at times.” That’s the exact word she used to describe the film, and her sentiment was echoed by my parents and my youngest sister, in sixth grade.  


So, if you don’t have any patience and you want instant knowledge gratification, maybe go see Frozen 2.  Which, let’s be honest, is not better than the first one, even though Olaf and Kristoff found their stride, boy-band music video and all.  


I enjoyed it, I was watching Marta and Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig’s “Southern” name) in rapt attention amidst the literal snores of my parents.  If you generally fall asleep when there are more than two minutes without the crime being solved, take a pregame nap or shot of espresso.  This is some quality acting and an overall kick-butt mystery.