The New Film from the Director of The Last Jedi

Knives Out, the newest film by writer/director Rian Johnson, premiered this past weekend at the Toronto International Film Festival and the first reactions and reviews have been spreading out all over Twitter. Unfortunately for movie fans, the movie appears to be a riff on contemporary politics that threatens to stratify viewers.

Rian Johnson’s breakout 2012 science fiction film Looper put him on the map. He’s also directed smaller movies like Brick, The Brothers Bloom and directed the series finale episodes of Breaking Bad. His reputation though is most famous/infamous as the director of Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi.

Regardless of your opinion on that film, it has utterly divided film audiences into two camps — abject disdain and unbridled love. That movie’s audience score on Rotten Tomatoes has slid between 40% and 60% since its premiere. At the same time though the movie has maintained a consistently high critic score above 90%, rare for most blockbusters.

Are Critics Blinded by Ideology? 

Many have contended that this rating has been artificially bumped up and that progressive critics are only giving the movie positive reviews to movies that agree with them. Generally speaking this isn’t true. Take a look at other progressive films. As much as Ghostbusters and Captain Marvel were lauded preemptively by the film press, the actual reviews for those films are mostly lukewarm to negative. Alternatively, Black Panther got universally good reviews but it was made by the director of Creed so at the least there were talented filmmakers working on it.

Rian Johnson is a filmmaker who is extremely talented (see Looper, Breaking Bad) but he’s seemingly  best suited to creating a kind of cinema that purposely flatters the sensibly of cinephiles and progressives and actively antagonizes fan culture and certain groups of filmgoers. With his newest film, Knives Out, he appears to be positioning himself for a career pivot as the director of choice for a generation of progressive cinephiles.

A Whodunnit for the Progressives

Knives Out is a mystery thriller homaging the style of Agatha Christie that follows a situation wherein an elderly writer/family patriarch is found dead and the entire family is immediately suspect. As the reactions and reviews have slowly dripped in, it’s become immensely clear that the movie is awash in “white” liberalism, eat-the-rich sentiments, white privilege sentiments, and negative references to MAGA supporters.

While it’s not necessarily clear how blatant and distracting these themes are, it would seem that the film in question could become one of the most controversial of 2019.

‘Knives Out’ Review: Rian Johnson’s Hugely Entertaining Whodunnit Offers Sharp Takedown of White Entitlement



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