Rian Jonson’s back after babysitting a divisive Star Wars outing, ready to have another brain child of his own. The result is a delicious homage to the whodunnit genre, with an all-star cast to play his rabble of over-privileged suspects.
Even though it acts as a patchwork of all the ace detective stories you’ve seen and read, it’s hugely exciting to see someone introduce something new to the canon, and with a big budget Hollywood movie at that.
Daniel Craig again relishes the opportunity to shake off the granite-faced murderer image that his Bond tenure has carved him out, with a frankly bizarre but pleasingly eccentric accent dragged kicking and screaming from the Deep South, to match his hyper-logical gentleman detective image. My mum found it disorientating but I found it a lovely nod to David Suchez’s absurd Belgian caricature Poirot, especially with his faux French name.
However, Detective Benoit Blanc is not our focal point, as our audience surrogate “Watson” Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) guides us through the investigation. Her performance is sincere and empathetic, providing a lovely antidote to the deplorable suspects of crime writer Harlan Thrombey’s murder.
Marta is a suspect still of course. As are the whole Thrombey family. And what a family it is. Toni Colette, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon and Chris Evans all help to deliver Jonson’s portrait of the amoral, trust fund, shit-eating Americans that embody Trump’s rotting carcass of America. It’s a morbid joy to watch this all-star cast tear to pieces the sort of insidious sweater-wearing parasites the actors have likely shared rooms with whilst dwelling in the upper echelons of America.
Unfortunately, by giving this great 21st century spin to the high society murder mystery trope, finding out who did it isn’t hugely suspenseful as you wish equal sentence to be passed on the pack of them.
But that is my only real gripe. Otherwise it’s a well-executed murder mystery which pays its respects to its influences with varying levels of subtlety and with a pace and intricacy that Jonson’s pal Edgar Wright would be proud of. There’s huge fun to be had, with Easter eggs and twists abound, but will Detective Blanc extend his southern hospitality again? I certainly hope so.