Osita Nwanevu is a staff writer at The New Republic.
Don’t forget to select your favorite films!
Credit where credit is due: Knives Out is, as advertised, a real puzzle. This is the La La Land of whodunits - a film that's earned a lot of credit for being a homage to a dusty, underappreciated genre even though it mishandles certain fundamentals of the form. Possibility is the heart of any good detective story, but after a decent start, this one radically constrains the range of potential resolutions very early on. The narrative doesn't give very many…
This is a film whose reputation has very obviously been built on its premise. Consider: Whenever someone talks about Groundhog Day, what parts of the film do they actually reference? Is there a particular scene or moment people find particularly memorable? A great line somewhere? The praise is vague because there's not much there there, which is a shame given the potential of the central idea. There are existential bits here and there, but by the end of the film…