Knives Out is slowly starting to make it’s release worldwide and as the film comes out in the U.K. today I thought it was time to drop a breakdown that discusses everything that you need to know about the movie.
Throughout this, I’ll be breaking down the movie’s big twist and discussing how it changes the plot elements of the film from the start.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you haven’t had a chance to watch Knives Out and don’t want to know what’s really going on in the donut within a donut then I highly suggest that you turn off now.
With that out the way I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this. Now let’s get into our breakdown of Knives Out!
Knives Out Plot Recap
Knives Out centers around the death of Harlan Thrombey, a successful crime novelist that was found dead from an apparent suicide after his 85th birthday. As with all deaths like this, the police have been called in to rule out any foul play and joined by criminal consultant Benoit Blanc, they slowly begin to unearth the truth about what lead to the character’s demise.
Initially, everyone in the family is a suspect and each one of them has a motive for killing Harlan after he cut them out one by one from his vast fortune, meaning that they would have to go off on their own to make something of themselves.
From the off Knives Out is elevated above a lot of crime mystery movies due to its amazing cast that is really made up of some A-Listers that relish playing the duplicitous, self-centred trust fund babies. Watching Blanc interrogate them as we learn what could have driven them to murder is amazing and early on the film really sets up its key players in an enthralling way that made me instantly engage with the movie.
Where Knives Out differs from your typical whodunnit though is that it actually reveals what really happened in the run-up to Harlan’s demise early on and within the first half-hour we discover that the person apparently behind it all was Harlan’s nurse Marta. Marta comes from a poor immigrant family but due to her kind heart, Harlan has gained a lot of appreciation for the young girl.
Marta The Murderer?
After the birthday party Marta and Harlan retired to his study to have a game of Go and during it, Harlan playfully tips over the board when he realises he’s losing, this knocks his medication over too and Marta mistakingly picks up the wrong bottle and injects him with 100 milligrams of morphine. Unable to find an antidote and with only ten minutes left to live, Harlan gives Marta instructions on how she can leave the house, re-enter through a secret passage and then make it so that it looks like Harlan was still alive. Marta carries out this plan and Harlan slits his own throat in front of her when she returns to the house. Everything pretty much goes according to plan though and it looks like the girl is in the clear.
However, a mysterious benefactor has paid Blanc to investigate the crime and this is when suspicion falls upon the family. Marta is seen as trustworthy as every time she lies she vomits and during the reading of Harlan’s Will we discover that he has left all of his possessions to the character, much to the family’s dismay.
Everyone seems angered by this except for Hugh Ransom Thrombey, played brilliantly by Chris Evans, who already knew that they were going to be cut out of their father’s fortune as Harlan told him at the party which caused him to storm out and apparently have an epiphany on the way home that it was the right thing to do.
Ransom rescues Marta from the enraged Thrombeys and at a restaurant she confesses to him what really happened. He says that he will cover it up in exchange for his cut of the fortune and together the two form a team that tries to evade the eventuality of the investigation all whilst a mysterious blackmailer tries to threaten Marta with Harlan’s autopsy report.
It’s a brilliant set up and having a massive amount of the mystery revealed early on is an inspired choice. I may not have been the biggest fan of Rian Johnson after The Last Jedi and hey, I may have even called him Ruin Johnson at some points, however, I can’t deny that he does a brilliant job of creating his own well-developed characters and twisting narrative that has surprise after surprise in its storyline. What makes Marta so engaging is that you do genuinely believe that she is a good person and it’s easy to put yourself in the character’s shoes as this was all just one big mistake that got out of hand.
She’s intimidated, threatened and manipulated by all members of the family who pressure her into giving back the fortune at every opportunity.
Fran With A Plan
We learn that the blackmail note is from one of Harlan’s housekeepers known as Fran and she leaves a time and place for the two to meet. Through thick and thin, Marta manages to get to the location and find Fran tied up and drugged. Marta unties her and Fran says ‘you did it’ before passing out. Marta calls for an ambulance and in the car ride back to the manor confesses what really happened to Blanc.
Everyone returns to the home to see what Marta is going to do about the inheritance but this is stopped by Blanc, who, at the last minute, has realised what’s going on.
Now in order to talk about the end of the film, I have to basically blow the big twist wide open right now as it adds a lot of context to the prior events and what happens in the last act of the movie.
Knives Out Twist Explained
It’s revealed that Ransom was in fact behind the death of Harlan and after storming out of the party, he snuck back in using the secret entrance that Marta did. Ransom took Marta’s medical bag and which the labels on the medication and removed the antidote so that the character would inject him with the fatal dose.
He then hired Blanc to investigate the crime as he knew that he would get to the bottom of it and unearth Marta as the perpetrator of the character’s death. As she was complicit this would mean that her position in the will would be null and void and thus all of Harlan’s possession would be split amongst the family and thus he would get his cut.
Harlan’s maid discovered Ransom going through his room during the funeral and thus tried to blackmail him which forced the character to kill her. When she said ‘you did it’ she actually said ‘Hugh did it’ and though Marta could have got away with it, she stayed to help Fran and thus ended up confessing to Blanc what had really gone on.
Marta Didn’t Kill Harlan
Now, as we know that Ransom switched the bottles, it means that Marta didn’t give Harlan the lethal dose and that his death was indeed a suicide. This means that Marta is in the clear and though Ransom didn’t kill Harlan either he gets arrested for the death of Fran.
I’ve skipped over a couple of points there, most notably a scene in which Marta tricks Ransom into believing that Fran is alive so that he confesses to the plan thinking that he won’t be convicted for her death but I just wanted to streamline the plot as there are a lot of threads that could have lead to it being confusing. There’s also a bit where it says that because Marta is such a good nurse she instinctively went for the correct medication for Harlan and therefore wasn’t complicit in his death.
As Ransom was the only one who knew that he was out of the will ahead of time he concocted this entire play in order to get his share of the will once more and honestly it’s a twist that I really didn’t see coming. Throughout movies like this, I think we all are guilty of trying to guess the ending and though I did have a suspicion that the morphine may have been switched around, I really didn’t see the twist coming that it was Ransom behind the entire thing.
Knives Out Ending Explained
Marta vomits on Ransom after lying about the Fran thing and in a fit of rage, Ransom tries to kill Marta with a knife that turns out to be a prop one that Harlan mentioned earlier in the movie.
In the end, Ransom is taken away into custody past the shocked family who all gather on the drive to see what has happened. Marta takes one of Harlan’s cups that is labeled ‘My House, My Rules, My Coffee’ and she goes to the balcony to overlook the pack of vultures. They all turn round and peer up at her and she moves one of her fingers covering the cup which reveals the top line that says ‘My House.’
Now the movie cuts to credits after this and whilst we don’t get complete confirmation on exactly what the character is going to do with the fortune, personally I believe that she’s too nice of a person to not at least give them all something, especially meg who she vowed to take care of.
I would have loved to have seen her tell them where to go but Marta is still the nicest person in the movie, maybe the nicest person of all time, maybe the new mother theresa.
It’s clear she’s keeping the house though and after the tricks that the Thrombey’s pulled I’d be surprised if she didn’t oust them from it too because yeah, let’s face it, they deserved it.
Knives Out Review
But what did I think of the movie overall?
Well, I really enjoyed Knives Out and it shows that in Hollywood there can still be original properties that make for great movies. All the actors complaining that superhero films have stopped there being a focus on anything else need to take a good look at Knives Out because it’s a perfect example of why they’re wrong and when a good idea is executed well it makes for a really entertaining ride.
Everything in Knives Out just works really well and I could have happily had another half hour of the movie just following the family and all the kinds of things that they got up to.
The cast really compliments the work and overall the film is a brilliant deconstruction of what a whodunnit mystery is that takes the classic elements apart and celebrates them.
Films like this are pretty much either made or broken on their twist and this did keep me guessing throughout which was nice as doing a channel like this often means you pretty much watch the same tropes over and over again.
Knives Out feels like the perfect movie to close out the year and it’s definitely worth going to see in the cinema. It feels like a throwback to Poirot and the murder mysteries of old that retains all of the right elements whilst updating them for modern audiences.
Overall Knives Out is a blast and it gets an…
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on Knives Out and what you thought of the movie. Leave your review in the comments section below!