The Reel Review

B+

An all-star cast rounds out this delightfully silly whodunit, with Daniel Craig as a Southern detective investigating the mysterious death of acclaimed mystery writer Harlan Thrombey at his Massachusetts estate. A series of interviews reveals many of the greedy family members have personal reasons for seeing old man Thrombey dead.

The more cartoonish characters are fun but we don’t really see much of them – Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, and Michael Shannon all get relatively little screen time compared to relative newcomer, and soon-to-be James Bond girl Ana de Armas (Blade Runner 2049). de Armas, as Thrombey’s sweet nurse who uncontrollably vomits when she tells a lie, is the star of this film, and she carries it quite nicely. The national origin of her character also is a cute recurring gag in the film. (For the record, de Armas was born in Cuba.) Chris Evans is also fun as Thrombey’s very un-Captain America-like, playboy grandson.

Despite a completely absurd story that ventures into the nonsensical, writer/director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) manages to thread the needle between the mystery and goofy humor, making it the perfect, mindlessly entertaining murder mystery for the holidays. You just need to pay a little more attention to a few key scenes if you want to figure it all out before its deliriously twisty (and extremely wordy) ending.

REEL FACTS

Ana de Armas and Daniel Craig will star in No Time To Die

• Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas also co-star in the next James Bond 007 film, No Time To Die, which hits theaters in April 2020.

• The name of Christopher Plummer’s character, Harlan Thrombey, bears a striking resemblance to the title of Edward Packer’s 1980 ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ novel, Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?

• M. Emmet Walsh replaced Ricky Jay, who died of natural causes on November 28, 2018 during production of the film. A photo of Jay is visible for a few seconds before Walsh first appears onscreen as the estate security guard.

 

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