Many issues squarely fall on Rian Johnson's shoulders. He delivers more head-scratchers as his telegraphing is so blatantly obvious that the film was actively painful to watch. It became a checklist as I was looking for elements that were spotlighted and communicated to the audience as being important. Johnson suffers from using too many close-ups as his only tool to say "this is important". His desire to have every element in the movie connect probably comes from a good place, but that doesn't excuse the monotony of the entire ordeal.
The picture reeks of someone thinking they are telling a clever story, something that defies expectations. Some might describe the sequence of events as "twists and turns", but they feel more like a kid going, "and then, and then". It relies heavily on humor to keep the pace moving since there is no suspense to drive the movie forward. For me, much of the humor felt like the film asking the audience to laugh rather than being genuinely funny. Everyone seemed to fall for it as the rest of my theater did laugh a lot.
The only praise I can offer to the film is the performance by Ana de Armas. As the focus of the movie, she does a great job acting like someone that doesn't know what's going on. It's a significant departure from her work in Bladerunner 2049 and is probably much different than her work in the upcoming Bond film. While the challenges she faces in the story are not that strong, thanks to Johnson's script, she adds validity to them through her performance.
So Knives Out wasn't for me, precisely because its construction was broken from the start. It reminds me of Christopher McQuarrie's comments on how he worked as a script doctor on Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. His job there was to reveal the things that drove plot and hide the emotional beats to encourage curiosity. Nothing resembling that is present in Knives Out, it just fumbles about until it's over.
After rereading that review, its seems definitive, but seeing the film again changed my mind. Knowing the plot from the start and forgetting about the marketing material helped to ease my frustrations. I laughed at more of the jokes, was more intrigued by the plot, and overall felt a little happier. There are still plenty of issues I have with the movie, but it's undeniable that this fun romp is cozy. I'm still a little hesitant on what score I think it deserves, somewhere in the 5-6 range, but it seems better than an average picture, so it'll be a 6 for now.
There was one shot where the camera was on a tripod and then ripped off of it to transition into handheld and it was very distracting