Magazine December 31, 2019, Issue

Families Are the Murder Victims in Knives Out! and Marriage Story

Daniel Craig in Knives Out! (Lionsgate)

Two of the more entertaining films of this holiday season, scene for scene and line for line, are murder mysteries, though only one technically involves a corpse. In both, the most important victim isn’t an individual but a family, its generational bonds dissolved and its resources devoured, with outsiders as the major beneficiaries.

The two movies are Knives Out!, a cozy, giddy country-house murder mystery from Rian Johnson, in full flight from his unhappy experience making The Last Jedi, and Marriage Story, a hyper-articulate divorce drama from Noah Baumbach, our longtime chronicler of bicoastal creative-class pathologies. You will not find them

This article appears as “A Pair of Murders” in the December 31, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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