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November 30 2019
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Rian Johnson (right) on the set of Knives Out with Chris Evans and Ana de Armas.

Knives Out, which opened this week, shakes off the dustier conventions of the whodunit genre to tell the tale of a fabulously wealthy mystery writer (played by Christopher Plummer) who meets his untimely demise following a family gathering to celebrate his 85th birthday. Enter famed detective and all-around odd duck Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig, armed with a thick Mississippi drawl), who deploys his formidable powers of deduction to finger the greedy guttersnipe who’s snuffed out Gramps. The cast, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, and Ana de Armas, is a knockout. Here, Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed the movie, discusses how he devised his flawless puzzle of a plot, and his experience shifting from the all-consuming work of directing Star Wars: Episode VIII to the lightning-fast journey of making his latest film.

Rich families in grand houses behaving like lunatics has been a bit of a theme in movies this year (Parasite). Your film shows how extreme wealth can narrow our view of ourselves and the world.

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