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Knives Out

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Knives Out, Rian Johnson’s much-hyped addition to the mystery genre, is a forgettable, self-indulgent film whose flashes of competence are incapable of redeeming its trite plot, pathetically unfunny script, and aggressive commitment to political correctness.

The film has all the trappings of a classic murder mystery in the style of Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers. A wealthy patriarch, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer, in remarkably good form at 90) is found dead in his mansion after celebrating his 85th birthday with his dysfunctional family; a gentleman detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig, sporting an atrocious Southern accent), is called in to investigate. Motives abound: Harlan had just argued with his grandson, cut off his daughter-in-law’s allowance, fired his son from his publishing company, and confronted his son-in-law about his affair.

On the night of Harlan’s death, his Hispanic nurse, Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas), accidentally administers him an overdose of morphine — or so she thinks. Harlan, himself a bestselling crime writer, gives Marta a detailed set of instructions to follow so that she will have an alibi. Before slitting his throat in anticipation of his impending death, he points out that Marta’s mother is an illegal immigrant and that she could be deported if Marta is suspected of murder. This neatly summarizes his priorities, and Johnson’s.

De Armas is a pale-skinned, hazel-eyed actress of Spanish descent — a far cry from the swarthy gnomes who comprise the vast majority of illegal immigrants and their offspring. Johnson probably figured that white audiences would be slower to side with a more indigenous-looking actress — which, interestingly, is an implicit acknowledgment of the fact that white people naturally empathize more with their racial kin.

When the will is read, it is revealed that Marta has inherited all of Harlan’s assets. The family’s feigned kindness toward Marta sours into overt hostility, and they try to persuade her to renounce the inheritance.

Harlan’s family is portrayed as vacuous, entitled WASPs. They are all unlikeable: His son is a scheming businessman who wants to sell the rights to his father’s books, his daughter is a bossy millionaire who poses as a self-made entrepreneur, his daughter-in-law is an “influencer” with New Age beliefs who embezzles money from him, his son-in-law is a mainstream conservative with an obnoxious demeanor, and his younger grandson is an “alt-right troll” who spends the party masturbating in the bathroom.

The only thing the Thrombeys have in common is that they are one-dimensional caricatures who each embody negative stereotypes pertaining to a certain type of white person: conservative boomers, well-meaning yet clueless liberals, etc. It goes without saying that a film portraying blacks or Jews in a similar manner would be thoroughly condemned. Whites are the only group one is allowed to ridicule.

Marta, meanwhile, is a paragon of saintliness. She calmly endures the insults directed toward her and is unfailingly altruistic. She is so innocent and pure that being dishonest causes her to vomit, a ridiculous device with no basis in reality.

I will now spoil the film, though there’s not much to spoil, given that the identity of the murderer is obvious early on. The murderer is Ransom, Harlan’s elder grandson and the black sheep of the family. His guilt is evident not only due to certain giveaways (the barking of the dogs, Harlan’s mother’s remark), but also simply because Ransom is a masculine white man, making him the opposite of the consummately innocent Marta. And since his outsider status distances him from the rest of the family, Johnson needed to find another way to associate him with villainy.

Ransom attempts to incriminate Marta by swapping the labels on Harlan’s medication so that he would die of a morphine overdose by Marta’s hand. The slayer rule would prevent her from inheriting Harlan’s assets. But since she is incapable of wrongdoing, Marta ends up administering the right medication anyway.

Ransom has antisocial traits, but his motive was not objectionable. What angered him was not merely that he himself was denied his inheritance, but that his grandfather had given all that he had to a racial alien. Would he have committed the murder had Harlan cut him, alone, out of the will? Probably not. It is the opposite of what Johnson intended, but Ransom actually comes out looking like a man of principle. Even though he is hated by his family and hates them in return, he still believes that they should have been Harlan’s heirs.

Blanc, of course, mocks Ransom’s desire to defend his family’s home and claims that Harlan purchased the mansion from a Pakistani real estate mogul in the 80s.

The writing gets lazier as the film progresses. Ransom sets about destroying the toxicology report that proves Marta’s innocence by burning down the medical examiner’s office. When Ransom and Marta later arrive at the scene, they are spotted by Blanc, which ignites an utterly pointless chase scene. Johnson displays a bit of self-awareness here; a local detective remarks that it was “the dumbest car chase of all time.”

Ransom then murders the housekeeper, Fran (who saw him with Marta’s medical bag), and lures Marta to the scene of the crime in an attempt to frame her. His plot is foiled because Marta tries to resuscitate Fran and calls 911. Blanc concludes his explanatory spiel with feel-good drivel about how Marta’s “good heart” is what enabled her not to become ensnared by Ransom’s machinations.

Johnson clearly thinks he is smart. Blanc’s risible characterization of the case: “The doughnut hole has a hole in the center. It is not a doughnut hole, but a smaller doughnut with its own hole.”

On a technical level, Knives Out is not awful. The pacing is solid, and the editing during the first third or so was tight and effective. Johnson also makes judicious use of flashbacks. But the film’s strengths are far outweighed by its defects.

Incredibly, Knives Out has received nearly universal critical acclaim. Its approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes is 97%. Johnson’s self-congratulatory anti-white prejudice is undoubtedly the main source of the film’s huge appeal among mainstream critics.

The final shot of the film shows the exiled Thrombey family leaving the mansion while Marta smugly looks on from the balcony. It’s a potent illustration of our enemies’ vision for the future of America.

 

10 Comments

  1. Sunshine
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    “…vomit. A ridiculous device…”

    Exactly! I gave up reading Stephen King over 25 years ago because of this. There was not one story or novel in that guy’s work that didn’t have a character upchucking. It seems unlikely. I don’t have a strong stomach, but I rarely vomit, maybe three times a decade. I don’t see other peoole doing it either. But with King you can turn to any page at random in any one of his 1300-page bricks, and some character, anyone—infant, child, he-man, career woman, etc.–is offending the reader by emptying their stomachs.

    Apologies for my off-topic rant but it had to come out, so to speak. King and the other white hater Moore seem overdue for a book on their damage to our psyches.

    • Peter Quint
      Posted February 18, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink

      What offends me about Stephen King, is his endless promotion of miscegenation.

      • Amoux
        Posted February 20, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        his endless promotion of miscegenation.

        In which books was miscegenation promoted? His newer books and/or movies don’t count; I’m interested in discussing the classics such as The Stand, Cujo, Pet Cemetery, IT, etc.

        Wouldn’t it be reasonable to say that The Stand was supportive of Traditionalism and apprehensive of Modernism?

  2. DP84
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m really glad Counter Currents posted a review of this film. I’m going to expand on a few of the points in the review. Also, as a side note, I recommend that one of the CC writers also review Frozen 2, as it deviated from what made the original so memorable and instead went with a post colonial/reparations narrative, which believe it or not, pissed off the Left – a worthy point of analysis. Anyway, Knives Out:

    Before slitting his throat in anticipation of his impending death, he points out that Marta’s mother is an illegal immigrant and that she could be deported if Marta is suspected of murder. This neatly summarizes his priorities, and Johnson’s.

    More on Harlan Thrombey later, but in the meantime, I’m going to go full conspiratard here: I think this was Rian Johnson’s petty revenge for the massive backlash he got on social media from directing Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He could have easily written a compelling Whodunnit script without the pro-illegal immigrant message. He wrote that in because he wanted to stick it to the legion of Star Wars fans who eviscerated him all over the internet the last two years.

    The teenage “Alt Right masturbator” was a dig directly at us in the WN Movement, but the character Marta Cabrera was there to trigger normie Star Wars fans, and to sell Johnson’s own filthy ideology – an ideology which he also gets from his wife, Karina Longworth, whose work has appeared in the Daily Beast and the Huffington Post.

    De Armas is a pale-skinned, hazel-eyed actress of Spanish descent.

    For those of you who have seen Bladerunner 2049, Ane de Armas plays the AI program “Joi” in that film. Not only can she pass for White, but her demeanor on camera is sweet and pleasant, which only compounds the massive lie that Rian Johnson and his Jewish funders are pushing on the audience. Mexican immigrants don’t just tend to look like ugly squatters, they also have horribly unpleasant attitudes.

    At least Blacks know how to be fun and jovial when they are in a good mood. Mexicans and Latinos usually don’t even have that going for them. I would have rather seen an unpleasant squatter play this role than Ane fricking de Armas. Throw this on the pile of evidence why Rian Johnson should be kicked out of Hollywood and ejected into space.

    When the will is read, it is revealed that Marta has inherited all of Harlan’s assets.

    That right there was the moment when I found out who the real villain is, regardless of who the actual killer is: Harlan Thrombey. It didn’t matter to me who did it at that point, because Harlan was a narcissistic traitor who stabbed his family in the back.

    First of all, none of the reasons he had for cutting his entire family out of the will had any validity, as not one of them – not even Ransom at that point – had murdered or raped anyone. He cut them out of the will simply because he didn’t like them. I’m not saying it should be illegal to do that, but Harlan is the one who tore his family apart and got himself killed, and his death at Ransom’s hands was well-deserved.

    Second of all, as if it isn’t bad enough for him to crap all over his own flesh and blood by cutting them out for petty reasons, he gave his inheritance to an illegal immigrant who not only was his nurse, but who also smoked dope with him in the attic. Literally, she was his stoner buddy. He’s an 85 year old effing Great Gen, and he’s smoking dope with some illegal in his attic. Utterly contemptible. He is a powerful symbol of the degeneracy that the White Race has sunk to, and I walked away from the theater that day feeling visceral hatred towards old white traitors like him, the same scum who sold us out in the 50s and 60s.

    Harlan’s family is portrayed as vacuous, entitled WASPs. They are all unlikeable

    Thank you for highlighting this, as it struck a nerve with me. That right there is less from Rian Johnson and more from spiteful Jewish hatred towards Yankee families, a hatred that Madison Grant called out and that stretches back to the founding of America.

    I know that a lot of people in the Pro-White Movement, particularly Southern Nationalists, have a bone to pick with White American Northerners, but guys, what you see in Knives Out should evoke sympathy in you for how Jews portray us. Knives Out is to Yankees what Deliverance is to Southerners. In the White Ethnostate, we need to produce a steady stream of films showing Jewish duplicitousness in all its wretched glory.

    and his younger grandson is an “alt-right troll” who spends the party masturbating in the bathroom.

    As an extra dig towards us, that grandson is the one family member who is NOT a suspect. Benoit Blanc says so explicitly. Johnson wasn’t just portraying Alt Righters as teenage losers, he was dismissing us as irrelevant. It was his way of saying, “you White Nationalists don’t matter at the end of the day.” Hopefully we can prove him wrong about that over the long run.

    Marta, meanwhile, is a paragon of saintliness. She calmly endures the insults directed toward her and is unfailingly altruistic. She is so innocent and pure that being dishonest causes her to vomit, a ridiculous device with no basis in reality.

    That’s also a really bad reflection on the tastes of the audience who liked this film. Good characters are always nuanced, and ideally are at least somewhat morally grey. Marta Cabrera had less complexity than a Tally Tubby. She’d be a mediocre kids character, and made for a horrendously shallow adult character.

    Ransom is a masculine white man, making him the opposite of the consummately innocent Marta.

    Of relevant note, he’s also portrayed by Chris Evans, the same actor who played Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Mark Brahmin idiot in me wants to believe that this was a dig at Cap for being “Too White.” Evans agreed to play the role, so it isn’t that, but lets just say I would have much rather seen Robert Pattinson play Ransom than Chris Evans.

    Ransom has antisocial traits, but his motive was not objectionable. What angered him was not merely that he himself was denied his inheritance, but that his grandfather had given all that he had to a racial alien.

    It was for that reason that I was hoping Ransom would gut Marta when he grabbed the knife and charged her during that climactic scene, which unfortunately ended in an aha! moment when she was wearing the equivalent of mithril.

    I also loved how he lectured Marta on how she had the nerve to take away his “ancestral family home.” No matter how saintly Johnson made her look, she didn’t give a damn about his family, just like Latinos in general don’t give a damn what happens to the White Race. They eagerly await our decline. Shakira, J-Lo, and their band of petulant children singers made that clear during the Super Bowl.

    It is the opposite of what Johnson intended, but Ransom actually comes out looking like a man of principle.

    Not only was Ransom a man of principle, but it’s never made clear exactly what he did to make himself the “Black Sheep” of the family. At least the other family members objectively did something questionable. What did Ransom do? Get drunk too much in college?

    Btw, one of the first things Ransom says when he appears on screen is a dig at his leftist sister: “How’s that SJW degree going for you?” That’s the first time I’ve heard the phrase “SJW” in a mainstream film. Johnson took personally what he was being called on social media.

    Blanc, of course, mocks Ransom’s desire to defend his family’s home and claims that Harlan purchased the mansion from a Pakistani real estate mogul in the 80s.

    Blanc also never questions or suspects Marta. Not once. He concludes she’s a “Good Person” upon first meeting here. Lousy detective. Again, it’s all part of Johnson’s absolute, black and white agenda. The average White Nationalist and Fascist has more complexity to their morals than Rian Johnson. Let that sink in.

    Johnson clearly thinks he is smart.

    Which is probably the worst part of his personality, beyond the jam-my-fingers-in-your-eyeballs Leftism. He unironically thinks he did Nothing Wrong with the script of The Last Jedi, and he thinks that everyone else shares his morals and his worldview. He’s a caricature of an Evangelical, Right Wing Christian from the 80s and 90s, only in Leftist form. He has zero ability to comprehend the morals and viewpoints of his opponents.

    I know Rise of Skywalker wasn’t well received on Counter Currents, but I for one am happy that Jew Jew Abrams returned and outright retconned a lot of what Johnson did, because that punchable scumbag deserved to have his work unmade. Knives Out has only made a modest $302.9 million as of February 17, which means it doesn’t qualify as a Blockbuster film. May Rian Johnson never be allowed to direct one of those ever again.

    • Esoteric Du30ist
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you on every point. And I shared your observations about Chris Evans portraying the “evil white man” version of Captain America with everyone when discussing the movie. I’m glad others picked up on these details.

      One more subtle nod to the “alt right troll” smear was Random’s use of protonmail. As if to say that people who don’t trust the beneficence of Google for their email needs are all evil white men plotting to frame saintly feisty latinas with murder.

    • Randy
      Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      I have met many friendly and nice Latinos in my long experience out here in California. Where I worked there were quite number of Latinos and of all the people in the organization the 2 nicest guys there were Latinos, bred in America Latinos. Differentiating the Mayan type from Latinos those guys can be genuine, open hearted people, because they aren’t ruined by modern USA, yet. I don’t want my country flooded by Spanish speakers (it has been) but denouncing their essential friendliness in toto as you are doing is a bit much.

    • Lord Shang
      Posted February 18, 2020 at 1:05 am | Permalink

      I disliked this film intensely, but that is a lot of money for this type of low CGI, no foreign sets, non-action film. I think it qualifies as a huge success. I saw the film around Thanksgiving, and at the multiplex where I saw it … it’s STILL playing (Feb 18!). Dozens of movies (few of which I saw) have come and gone from that cinema during that time. Indeed, I have been dismayed at this film’s longevity, womdering if it is another independent example of America’s decline.

      Otherwise, I agree with your observations.

  3. Peter Quint
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    I wasn’t going to watch it anyway because of the black in the trailers, who I notice you did not address. So was the black a lover of one of the white characters?

  4. Hubbub
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    …that being dishonest causes her to vomit…

    It’s a rule of movie making since the “Exorcist” that every movie – and TV episode – have at least one unnecessary vomit scene. It’s the only thing I now anticipate in a movie – when will it happen…humorous to a fault. Why there must be such a scene, I don’t fathom.

  5. Esoteric Du30ist
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    I had the distinct displeasure of seeing this film after Thanksgiving with my in-laws. They were either entirely oblivious as to the director’s anti-white intentions or were feigning their obliviousness for my benefit. Contrast that with the discussion I had with my cousins after Christmas. They all were loudly upset about the portrayal of white America as something sleazy and in need of being replaced. “Knives Out” is definitely a midwit novie in that the rubes won’t really get it or appreciate the film beyond it being a caper (though a laughably bad one), while the big-brain types won’t be happy that their entire civilization is being metaphorically given away to angelic latinxes that can’t even give their patient the right medication except by accident.

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