Rian Johnson’s crime comedy “Knives Out” is an absolute highlight, despite the tried and tested recipe, which is now celebrating its free TV premiere.

With “Knives Out – Mord ist Familiensache” a refreshingly well thought-out and entertaining crime comedy with a star cast came to the cinemas in 2019. One that impressively demonstrated that Daniel Craig (54) has far more than just James Bond in his repertoire. In fact, Rian Johnson’s (48) whodunit story was so convincing that the Netflix streaming service immediately secured the rights to two sequels and promoted Craig to Hollywood’s top earner. On June 27, “Knives Out” can be seen for the first time on free TV (8:15 p.m., the first). For whom is the complex search for the murderer worthwhile?

An (apparent) suicide: That’s what it’s all about

Renowned crime writer and family patriarch Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead the morning after his 85th birthday. Everything looks like suicide, but doubts quickly arise. The well-known private snooper Benoit Blanc (Craig) suddenly appears for the police questioning of the eccentric relatives and the domestic servants.

The casually elegant detective begins his investigations and while all the guests present are anything but cooperative, the situation escalates and mutual mistrust grows. A complex web of lies, false leads and red herrings must be sifted through to uncover the truth behind Thrombey’s untimely death.

Rian Johnson proves to be a multi-talent

The plot of “Star Wars – The Last Jedi” was penned by Rian Johnson, who brought the eighth episode of the legendary saga to the screen in 2017. With “Knives Out” the director, who also produced the film, proves that he could also work as a crime writer. His well thought-out screenplay tells the story of a mysterious murder in the style of detective novel legend Agatha Christie (“Murder on the Orient Express: A Case for Poirot”), in which in the course of the investigation new clues come to light again and again that the viewers themselves think look for the solution to the riddle.

Unexpected, but not far-fetched twists ensure that it is not clear until the very end who transported the very rich victim to the afterlife – and why. In addition, with his portrayal of the wealthy Thrombey family, Johnson openly expresses social criticism that is thought-provoking. Despite very different character traits, its members are all driven by greed and resentment, which are based on different psychological problems.

“007” without a license to kill, but with razor-sharp investigative skills

The characters, which Johnson created with great attention to detail, live from the representation of their great cast – above all “James Bond” Daniel Craig. With his performance, the Brit shows that he cannot be reduced to the role of super agent. As an investigator with the hilarious name of Benoit Blanc, Craig is as charming and composed as Bond, but also unusually funny and compassionate – and was rewarded with a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Actor”.

“Blade Runner 2049” star Ana de Armas (34) also competed for “Knives Out” as “Best Actress”. The Cuban, who also starred opposite Daniel Craig as the Bond girl in ‘No Time To Die’, shines in her role as the wealthy murder victim’s carer and confidant from a poor background. With her key character, director Johnson created an unexpected antithesis to Harlan Thrombey’s spoiled relatives.

The conclusion: Turning it on is worthwhile

The recipe of “Knives Out – Murder is a Family Matter” is not new: Take a murder and many suspects, add a brilliant investigator and let the story unfold until the mystery is solved. What makes the difference are the extraordinary ingredients that Rian Johnson uses.

All leading and supporting roles are filled with top stars. Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Jamie Lee Curtis (63), Toni Collette (49), Chris Evans (41), Don Johnson (72) and Michael Shannon (47) are in top form in front of the camera. In addition, the filmmaker has located his story in a lovingly designed mansion, surrounded by a gloomy landscape that creates the atmosphere typical of a crime thriller. And finally, the humor in “Knives Out” is delicious through and through.