These days, Rian Johnson is mostly known for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. However, the director initially made a name for himself with Brick, a high school noir that brought the aesthetic of Dashiell Hammett detective stories to mid-2000s suburbia. His latest effort is another set in contemporary times but with a heart clearly situated in the past.
With Knives Out, Johnson has assembled an A-list cast to pay homage to single-location whodunits revolving around dysfunctional families. Think Agatha Christie with a modern twist and a terrific sense of humor. It’s all here — the isolated mansion, the unknown killer, and a cast of eccentric characters with potential motives for committing the crime.
Ahead of the film’s release next month, we’ve been treated to a final trailer that provides plenty of laughs and mystery. Check it out below, then join me as I break it down.
The trailer opens with the Trombey family gathered in the mansion of their father, Harlan (Christopher Plummer). Walt Trombey (Michael Shannon) stands up and objects to the news they’ve just received, so we can only assume that it must not have been what he wanted to hear. And judging by the look of shock on everyone’s faces, the rest of the family appears to be just as dismayed as him.
We then cut to Joni Trombey (Toni Colette) being questioned by a man in a chair. She requests to “pause” for a moment and asks her interrogators why they’re doing whatever it is they’re doing. She’s on the defensive, and it’s clear that she’s not happy with the way the conversation is going.
This scene also gives us our first glimpse of Detective Lieutenant Elliot (Lakeith Stanfield), who is quietly observing the situation.
Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) smiles and tells Joni to “back it up.” He seems rather amused and friendly, but it’s clear that this sleuth wants to go over every minor detail of her story. He’s an outsider in this world, but you know that he’s in command of the situation.
Here, we see Harlan’s mansion from the outside. Leaves are scattered over the ground, and the sky is grey. It’s a creepy shot that gives us a sense of terror and isolation. All in all, this looks like a house that boasts plenty of mystery and dark secrets.