Over the past few years, Rian Johnson's name has become synonymous with Star Wars, so you'd be forgiven if you've forgotten - somewhere amidst all the rapturous and hysterically angry responses to The Last Jedi - that he's also the guy who made Looper. And Brick. And The Brothers Bloom. There's no arguing that Star Wars made Rian Johnson a household name, but it's important to remember that he got hired onto that gig because he was an established, respected, visionary director before all that. The first trailer for Johnson's next film, Knives Out, premiered at CinemaCon today in Las Vegas, NV, and served as a welcome reminder of Johnson's talents outside of that pop cultural behemoth.
Beforehand, Johnson took to the CinemaCon stage to explain that Knives Out is basically him doing an elaborate Agatha Christie riff, mashing up everything he loves about that author's work with a Hitchcockian thriller set in modern day America. You hear a description like that coming from Johnson, and you know right off the bat the results are gonna be stylish, snappy, and maybe a little bit weird. As it turns out, this is exactly what Knives Out looks like.
For the most part, Knives Out appears to be set in and around a single location: a familial estate where a murder has occurred. It appears that everyone in the house at the time of the murder is a suspect, and Daniel Craig - clearly having a goddamn blast in a role that's probably inspired by Hercule Poirot - is the guy who's been tasked with figuring out whodunnit.
Everyone you love is in this movie, from Jamie Lee Curtis to Lakeith Stanfield to Chris Evans (who, at one point in the trailer, goes around the room telling each of the other actors to "eat shit") to Michael Shannon (rocking what you might consider a unique facial hair situation) to Toni Collette, and they are all very, very displeased with one another. Whatever the story with this family is, it's clear that it's underscored by a tremendous amount of dysfunction. The footage we saw looked, as predicted, stylish and quippy, with more than a few bits of eye-catching production design (some scenes took place in a room containing a giant, pinwheel-esque sculpture comprised entirely of knives) and Daniel Craig doing a very smooth southern accent.
Johnson said this was the little movie he wanted to knock out before returning to "that galaxy far, far away". I was a big fan of The Last Jedi and look forward to whatever Johnson does next within the Star Wars universe, but hot damn am I excited to see him taking the time to make a film like Knives Out, which really does feel a piece with his earlier efforts. The trailer for this movie was hands down one of the best things we saw at CinemaCon this week, and I can't wait for the rest of you to see it.
Rian Johnson and MRC's Knives Out hits theaters on November 27th, just in time for you to see it with your own dysfunctional family over the holidays. Get hyped, gang.
(Note: Header photo by Dick Thomas Johnson, used with permission via Wikimedia Commons)