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Knives Out: 10 Best Performances In Rian Johnson’s Murder Mystery

Knives Out is a comedic, ensemble murder mystery penned and directed by Rian Johnson. And these are the 10 best performances in the film.

Rian Johnson's Knives Out is the perfect movie for Thanksgiving. Not only does it offer a great escape from your real family, but it satirizes everyone else's outstanding performance from its cast. Johnson has assembled one of the best, if not the best, ensembles of the 2019.

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Made up of icons of the big screen, long time hardworking A-listers, and up and coming future stars, Knives Out features many of the most fun performances of the year.

But which ten actors in Knives Out provided the best performances? Let's take a closer look.

10 Katherine Langford As Meg Thrombey

Katherine Langford is known by many for her role in Netflix's 13 Reason's Why, as the lead character Hannah Baker. She has continued her up and coming career through her work in Love, Simon, not to mention her small cut role in Avengers: Endgame.

Though her role is small in Knives Out, her performance is both capable and unexpected. She plays a young girl going to a liberal arts college, often butting heads with her conservative family. But, the interesting aspect of her character comes when her beliefs hit up against her greed.

9 Christopher Plummer As Harlan Thrombey

Christopher Plummer is one of the greatest actors of his generation. There is a reason that the ill-fated All The Money In The World recast Kevin Spacey with him. The man is an icon dating back to The Sound of Music and The Battle of Britain.

His role as the murdered patriarch of the Thrombey family is much smaller than most of the cast, but his presence is felt throughout. You can feel how much he cares about his family and friends, even when their actions make them out to all be awful people. His sweetness and wit are infectious, and his fate is utterly tragic.

8 Lakeith Stanfield As Lieutenant Elliot

Lakeith Stanfield has been quite the breakout performer since his role in FX's Atlanta. Pair his role in Boots Riley's Sorry To Bother You, and you get an actor who plays anything but the straight man. So, seeing him in such a role as Police Lieutenant Elliot in Knives Out was a great opportunity to see the extent of his range as an actor.

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Stanfield kills it in the role, providing a grounded character to Daniel Craig's far more theatrical Private Investigator role.

7 Don Johnson As Richard Drysdale

Don Johnson's role in the film can come across as one-note on paper, but his personality really comes out on the screen. Johnson plays the ultimate scumbag uncle. He has offensive politics, cheats on his wife, and is filthy rich.

All of these qualities are fairly surface level, and in a lesser actor would come across as nothing more than a caricature. But, Johnson's ability to imbue his performance with personality really makes you believe this is a real guy with the worst ideas.

6 Toni Collette As Joni Thrombey

In a similar vein, Toni Collette plays a role that is once again a parody of many types of people. Collette plays the widowed inlaw to the Thrombey family, who schemes Harlan out of his money to support her health guru schemes. Collette kills it with her valley girl accent and mannerisms, bringing Rian Johnson's script to life beautifully.

It just shows once again how amazing of an actress she is in regards to range. In a film like Hereditary, she can embody absolute madness and grief while just killing it with comedy chops in this.

5 Michael Shannon As Walt Thrombey

One of the best parts about this cast is a lot of them get to play totally against type. Michael Shannon's role as Walt Thrombey is a perfect example of this choice. So often Shannon plays really physically and emotionally imposing roles. He is a perfectly villainous performer.

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While a lot of his intentions and beliefs certainly are villainous, he is a far more toned-down version of Shannon. He certainly has an explosive moment or two, but this is a character that has always sat in the shadows, playing second fiddle. This far more subordinate and feeble version of the actor was a treat to watch.

4 Jamie Lee Curtis As Linda Drysdale

Jamie Lee Curtis is a national treasure. Her role as the Harlan's eldest daughter Linda is one of both hilarity, sass, and empathy. She is a powerful woman who knows what she wants and will get it no matter what.

Often that leads her down a path of passion as opposed to sensitivity, though, causing her to lash out or get hers. Curtis absolutely kills it, providing an entertaining new ice queen figure for us to fall in love with at the movies.

3 Chris Evans As Ransom Drysdale

Chris Evans has spent years playing the ultimate good guy in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing Captain America to life. So, choosing this as his first project after his tenure as the patriotic superhero was an excellent choice.

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Evans plays the pampered grandson, Ransom, full of disrespect and selfishness. Evans conveys an excellent, arrogant character whose allegiances you can't really narrow down. He is one of the biggest threats to watch throughout the movie (both in his performance and those sweaters).

2 Ana De Armas As Marta Cabrera

One of the biggest surprises of the movie was the performance of lead actress Ana De Armas. Many will recognize her as the AI from Blade Runner 2049, but this role is the exact sort of thing she should be doing from now on.

Armas plays the perfect hero through the film, serving as the lead protagonist among all of these would-be murderers. This is hopefully the start of a long and happy career for Armas.

1 Daniel Craig As Benoit Blanc

The best performance of the whole movie though comes from Daniel Craig himself, playing sleuth Benoit Blanc. This, like his role in Logan Lucky, goes straight against his James Bond Persona. Craig plays the ultimate Southern gentlemen. You can never expect what to get from Craig in this film in the best way possible.

His performance is theatrical, unexpected and true, combing the best parts of the world's greatest detectives while remaining his own new addition to the canon.

NEXT: 10 Best Murder Mystery Movies, Ranked

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