利刃出鞘影评 –一部妙趣恒生的侦探小说

2020-04-30 看过

Knives Out review – a deliciously entertaining whodunnit

利刃出鞘影评 –一部妙趣恒生的侦探小说

Rian Johnson’s homage to Agatha Christie delivers laughs, twists and thrills with aplomb


Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

作者:Mark Kermode电影观察批评家





Describing his thrillingly playful attitude toward genre cinema, writer/director Rian Johnson once told me that he loved the “slightly meta conversation it opens between you and the viewer” – the way that a shared set of ground rules can be assumed and then subverted. That’s been a feature of Johnson’s career since his low-budget debut feature, Brick (2005), transposed a dark, 1940s noir narrative to the sunny environs of a modern California high school, with attention-grabbing results. In 2012’s Looper, he turned a time-travel adventure into a bleak meditation upon the consequences of solving problems through violence. More recently, his 2017 Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi, outraged some hardcore fans who didn’t think the series’ ever-evolving mythology should be up for discussion.

编剧兼导演的莱恩·约翰逊在形容他对电影类型的戏谑态度时曾告诉我,他特别爱那种“你和观众之间那一点微妙的特定对话”- 那种相信彼此共享一套基本原则,然后又把它们颠覆的过程。那是约翰逊导演生涯的一个特点,他的首部低预算剧情片《追凶》(2005)把1940年代的黑暗叙事转向了现代加利福尼亚洒满阳光的高中校园,这取得了引人注目的成就。在2012年的《环形使者》中,他把时空旅行转变成了一种对通过暴力解决问题的现象的冷静思考。更近一段时间,2017年的星球大战系列电影《最后的绝地武士》激怒了一些铁杆影迷,他们认为该系列循环式的神话不应该被拿出来讨论。

In the deliciously entertaining Knives Out, Johnson goes back to his roots with an updated homage to the Agatha Christie whodunnits he loved as a child, and to those “cheekily self-aware” screen adaptations in which Peter Ustinov would lead an all-star cast through a labyrinthine murder mystery.


The setting is a gothic pile in modern-day New England where crime-writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) has recently capped his 85th birthday celebrations by dying dramatically in his attic study. It looks like an open-and-shut suicide, but could one of Harlan’s variously leechy family members (witheringly described as a bunch of “self-made over-achievers”) have slit his throat? After all, the old man spent the evening settling old scores and “cleaning house”…


Perhaps black-sheep Ransom (Chris Evans, oozing privilege) did it – he was heard arguing with his grandfather that night. Or what about the ever-so-slightly snivelling Walt (Michael Shannon, playing against type), whose publishing fortune depended on his father’s faltering favour? Then there’s son-in-law Richard (Don Johnson), a Trumpy horror with a wandering eye; and widowed lifestyle guru Joni (Toni Collette, channelling goopy Gwyneth Paltrow), both of whom had axes to grind.

也许是害群之马兰森(克里斯·埃文斯饰)干的 – 有人听见他那晚和他的爷爷争执过。又或者,是那个稍微有点哭哭啼啼的沃尔特(迈克尔·珊农饰,角色大转型),他的出版社资产完全仰仗他父亲对他所剩无几的怜爱。然后还有他的女婿理查德(唐·约翰逊饰),一个特朗普式的有着游移眼神的讨厌鬼;还有寡居的养生大师乔妮(托妮·科莱特饰),双方似乎都蠢蠢欲动。

Only Harlan’s nurse and carer Marta (Ana de Armas) appears above suspicion, blessed with a “regurgitative reaction to mistruths” that makes her vomit when lying. As for eldest daughter Linda (Jamie Lee Curtis in career-best form), she can’t help “thinking about Dad’s games” and “waiting for the big reveal…”


Helping to divine the nature of Harlan’s “manner of death” is gentleman sleuth Benoit Blanc, a cigar-smoking, coin-flipping interloper played with an outrageous southern US accent (Ransom calls him the “CSI-KFC”) by Daniel Craig. Blanc describes himself as a “passive observer of the truth”, but a web of intrigue surrounds his own presence at this party. Who hired him? And what for?


As with the very best whodunnits, everything is set up and sneakily signalled in the opening moments of the drama, but it’s only on second viewing that those early clues become evident. There’s real pleasure to be had watching Johnson wind the coiled springs of his steel-trap plot, yet none of it would bite if we didn’t care about the characters, who remain just on the right side of caricature. Built upon a wittily verbose script that delivers more laugh-out-loud lines than most of the year’s alleged comedies, Knives Out retains a beating human heart into which daggers are regularly plunged. Witness Linda delivering a stinging reminder that all this entertaining mystery is playing out in the wake of a family tragedy, with Curtis’s imperious performance capturing that balance between the arch and the empathetic that is the film’s signature.


As with Christie’s novels, there’s a strong element of social satire too. Although Marta is repeatedly told that she’s “part of the family”, she wasn’t invited to Harlan’s funeral, prompting more than one wealthy suspect to insist confidentially: “I thought you should have been there, but I was overruled.” Significant, too, that the oft-mocked Blanc remains a fish out of water in this cloistered environment, presenting a clownish facade that distracts the unsuspecting from his more serious purpose.


All this plays out in a house that is rightly likened to a giant Cluedo board (plaudits to production designer David Crank), replete with trick windows and creaky stairs, handily overheard by clock-watching light sleepers. Steve Yedlin’s cameras prowl through its rooms with stealthy zest, slithering around characters, pushing in on their faces – eyeing them with close-up suspicion from below or maintaining a facade of objective distance from above. Editor Bob Ducsay intercuts between past and present as voiceovers establish a dynamic dialogue between disparate time periods.

这一切都发生在一个可以被比作妙探寻凶董事会的房间里(在此为制作设计师大卫·格兰克鼓掌),那里满是花案繁复的窗户和嘎吱作响的楼梯,很容易被睡得很浅的人听到。史蒂夫·叶德林的摄像机带着隐秘的热情在房间里徘徊,在角色周边滑动,靠近他们的脸部 – 以从下往上的角度带着怀疑凝视他们,或从上方拍摄,保持一个比较客观的角度。编辑鲍勃·杜赛在过去和现在之间切换着镜头,同时旁白也在完全不同的时间段之间营造了一种动态的对话。

The cherry on the cake is Nathan Johnson’s terrifically ripe score, as sharp and spiralling as the theatrical crown of knives that hangs behind key interrogation scenes, pointing and prodding accusingly as we wait for the sword of Damocles to drop.



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