Author Topic: Knives Out  (Read 188 times)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Knives Out
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2019, 04:33:59 PM »
Perhaps the reason Harlan and Marta can be friends to begin with is that they are both generally good-natured people. I'm not sure how that dampens the messaging. If anything, I think the conversation here is a bit backwards. The politics here certainly informs the ideas and worldviews of the characters but I think that it is first and foremost in service of telling a compelling story. I think in the year 2019 we worry far too much about everything having a message and agenda that advances certain ideas and forget that while art certainly is political, trying to say that a work of art fails for not being political enough is to reduce and marginalize art into propaganda.

If you want to argue it misuses or construes its politics, that is one thing, but this film is very much set up as an ensemble piece with an array of characters and a winding plot. You don't have time to flesh out every character or give everyone a flaw. The two cops certainly don't have any flaws and exists mostly to be foils to Blanc. I think Johnson is very aware of the kind of film he is making, doesn't try to hit the audience over the head with his themes, and focuses on crafting a compelling story.

Bondo

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Re: Knives Out
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2019, 11:47:32 PM »
Just got back from a second viewing and one thing I'll say about Marta...she obstructs justice multiple times (deleting the security tape, ruining the footprints, trying to get rid of the lattice piece) and leads a car chase from the police. I suppose this all can fit in a certain logic of being too much a heart of gold type, but I'd say it shows a capacity for deceit/selfishness. It is a bit of complication to her character, she just stays ultimately way nobler than the family. And as bad as the family is, I am not sure Harlan's cutting them out completely and giving it to Marta is far to either the family or Marta. We see how the attention of the will creates problems for Marta. His desire to make a game and a lesson of everything is actually a bit of a flaw. And one interesting thing with regards to the grandchildren is you do get a kind of balance of the alt-right troll and the SJW...though notably she is a hollow SJW who cannot see past her own privilege even as she professes the correct views. It is in fair respect a broadside against Trumpism, but it has that bit of nuance that it doesn't actually let people off easily.

On the broader level, it was definitely a less compelling viewing. I don't know that I gained a lot in the second watch and the atmosphere wasn't quite as electric as an opening night film festival gala with director present. Not the most fair comparison. My friend enjoyed it. Still, the other movie I watched twice this year is Midsommar...that did have the advantage of being a directors cut the second time, but I'd say that second viewing was more involving than Knives Out, so it might get the edge.

Will

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Re: Knives Out
« Reply #22 on: December 04, 2019, 02:07:44 AM »
Perhaps the reason Harlan and Marta can be friends to begin with is that they are both generally good-natured people. I'm not sure how that dampens the messaging. If anything, I think the conversation here is a bit backwards. The politics here certainly informs the ideas and worldviews of the characters but I think that it is first and foremost in service of telling a compelling story. I think in the year 2019 we worry far too much about everything having a message and agenda that advances certain ideas and forget that while art certainly is political, trying to say that a work of art fails for not being political enough is to reduce and marginalize art into propaganda.

If you want to argue it misuses or construes its politics, that is one thing, but this film is very much set up as an ensemble piece with an array of characters and a winding plot. You don't have time to flesh out every character or give everyone a flaw. The two cops certainly don't have any flaws and exists mostly to be foils to Blanc. I think Johnson is very aware of the kind of film he is making, doesn't try to hit the audience over the head with his themes, and focuses on crafting a compelling story.

It feels like you're tying to have your cake and eat it too. We're not discussing THE INCREDIBLES here. As Bondo notes (and notes again, I will respond properly to the comment later), this is a film that is very clearly about Trump, this is a film that is clearly about The Time We Are Living In Today. This is a story of a rich man bequeathing his millions to an undocumented immigrant in a time and in a movie where people talk openly about the current rise of white supremacy in the United States. You cannot separate the film's politics from what it brings to the table, plot and entertainment-wise.

I bring up THE INCREDIBLES because it is very much a film that people attack because they see it as libertarian propaganda. They may or may not have a point, but there's no mention of political ideology, explicit reference to Ayn Rand, or even an attempt to connect with the modern day (it exists in a timeless modern atmosphere). KNIVES OUT doesn't exist in that cultural vacuum as you seem to be suggesting.

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Knives Out
« Reply #23 on: December 04, 2019, 03:07:23 AM »
Point: Marta is not an undocumented immigrant, her mother is, but I remember no reference during the film to Marta being one. As evidence: when Walt goes to her place after the will reading, he only threatens to tell on Marta's mother, not her.

Why is the entire family racist but Harlan is not? I think that's an interesting question that Rian doesn't go deep enough in addressing. Do you?

What is your evidence that the entire family is racist? They are a bunch of jerks to everyone (each other included), we are told the grandson is an alt-right troll, but there is neither evidence he is or that the trolling he does is racist (to be alt-right does not necessarily mean racist as far as I know, but I am not well versed in the definition), further we are told this by unreliable sources. So what is the evidence they are all racist, or is it they did some thing that was racially inappropriate?