The mystery novel is something that has always had a rather large air of classicism to it, that I've often felt has been lost somewhat in imitation. Agatha Christie was a woman of means herself but part of the fun of her novels was the fact the wealthy were exposed as a bunch of cheating, lying, backstabbing assholes. Which was true to the life of the time period and today, I say as someone who grew up as part of the Country Club set before my family went from multi-millionaires to middle-class thanks to a certain 2008 Financial Crisis. People remember the big houses and quirky personalities but forgot the fact that they were meant to parody the Ruling ClassTM.
|Game of Thrones-esque chair of knives.|
|Chris Evans does a remarkably effective sleazy performance.|
While Don Johnson plays a smarmy rich white guy who hates illegals, we have Toni Collette playing a transparent parody of Gwyneth Paltrow who has made her "fortune" selling snake oil wellness supplements that appeal to rich New Age West Coasters. While Don Johnson has an Alt-Right troll as a son, Toni has a liberal activist daughter who has never had to work a day in her life. The kind of person, a generation or two earlier, would have paid well for a Che Guevera t-shirt.
|Daniel Craig does an incredible Southern Poirot parody.|
Contrasting to this collection of not-so-different jerks who remind me far too much of a bunch of people I knrew growing up is Marta (Ana de Armas), Harlan's live-in nurse has become his surrogate daughter, probably because she takes care of him and she's not objectively terrible. Marta is a beautiful saint and hard-working innocent who literally throws up when forced to lie. Ana de Armas is charismatic enough that the somewhat flat character is still a joy to watch, especially when trying to befuddle both the Thrombey family as well as police investigators.
|Marta has a nice doe-eyed look even if she's a bit 1-dimensional.|
While I harp on the classicism on display in the film and that it engages in a "both sides"-esque duality, I think they really do nail the fact that they're all a bunch of people who have been warped by their privilege. His eldest daughter, Linda (Jaime Lee Curtis), is the most successful of them and believes she's self-made but did it with a million dollar loan. Gee, can't imagine who that's a joke about. However, he's also employed his son, Walt (Michael Shannon), for years while constantly shutting down every idea he's ever had then summarily firing him for "his own good." Even the seemingly sympathetic and beautiful liberal college student Meg (Katherine Langford) has spent 400K on tuition with no sign she's close to getting her degree or that it's in anything useful.
|A truly all-star cast.|
In conclusion, this is a solid movie and entertaining from beginning to end. Unfortunately, I feel like its politics are a bit less enlightened than it thinks. I do think that the characters are wonderfully trashy (in the way only the spoiled elite can be) and true-to-life, though. I would have liked a more nuanced Marta and less hammy Daniel Craig but it was a great film that I still enjoyed. It's not as good as Murder on the Orient Express but it was a fine comedy as well as a good whodunit.