Knives Out – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Knives Out

When I originally reviewed the film in October, I initially gave it a great review. Upon multiple viewings, my thoughts on the film have changed for the better. Despite what you thought of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you can’t deny that Rian Johnson loves to add witty dialogue into all of the films he writes for. That doesn’t change in his post-Star Wars film, Knives Out. The film’s witty and deadpan humor makes the film so damn entertaining. Even if you’ve seen the film before and know the twist, it’s still a rewatchable movie. If you haven’t seen the movie, you can figure out who the villains are. Ultimately, it’s not about finding out who the villains are. Instead, it’s their devious plot that engages you in the film.

As fun as the film is, you don’t invest in the film unless you connect with Marta Cabrera. The entire film depends on you rooting for her. Luckily, her lovely, kind, and good-willed nature will most likely get you to do that. She’s the most good-natured person out of this insane cast of characters. The Thrombys are quirky and memorable in their way and their dynamic adds to the fun.

Yet some actor’s hammy performance is much more impressive than others. You can see that Daniel Craig, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette have a lot of fun in their respective roles. Not to mention, Chris Evans is sharp as the black sheep of the family. Ana de Armas’ sweet and grounded performance carries the entire film. Last but not least, Christopher Plummer is fantastic and charismatic as Harlan Thromby.

Overall, Knives Out is a fun murder mystery that’s chock full of fantastic characters. But the film is not what you would expect from a typical mystery film. The film relies more on the tension of Marta’s situation than through the mystery of the murder. All in all, Knives Out is a film that you can rewatch over and over again.

Movie Rating: 4.5/5 atoms


Knives Out - Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer, Don Johnson, and Michael Shannon

Knives Out hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR transfer and a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Thanks to the film’s emphasis on natural lighting, it gives the picture a stark contrast that adds some nice depth to the film. It gives the video a wide range of light and shadows with no issues at all. Even in the night time scenes, you can still see the details in the incredibly dark areas. At the same time, the colors look natural as well. It doesn’t pop off the screen but the colors aren’t faded either. Thankfully, the details are sharp and clear because it highlights the film’s incredible production design. From afar, the edges are crisp but they begin to look soft the closer you are to the television screen. Overall, this is a fantastic video transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms


Knives Out - Daniel Craig, LaKeith Stanfield, and Noah Segan

Knives Out hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect Knives Out‘s Dolby Atmos track. Knives Out is a perfect example of using the Atmos format for a film that might not necessarily be dynamic. You’ll find films that use the Atmos format and stay static. However, this isn’t the case here. Thanks to the Atmos format, it playfully uses the offscreen dialogue to make it seem as if that character is in the room. You’ll hear certain sounds coming from areas where there is no speaker.

Also, certain sounds like dialogue subtly move across the soundstage as the character walks into the scene. The atmospheric effects are subtle yet distinct. There are limited overhead effects, but you can hear it—especially in scenes that have rain. Also, the score utilizes the overhead speakers to emphasize certain sections of the score. Overall, this is an awesome audio mix.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Special Features

Knives Out - Ana de Armas

Knives Out‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has the following special features on the disc:

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rian Johnson, Director of Photography Steve Yedlin, and Actor Noah Segan
  • In-Theater Commentary with Rian Johnson
  • Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Rian Johnson
    • Bicycling Accident
    • Don’t Do Anything Rash
  • Making a Murder
    • Premeditation: Inspirations & Origin
    • Gathering the Suspects: The Cast
    • Dressed to Kill: Costume Design
    • The Scene of the Crime: Production & Design
    • Visual Clues: Cinematography
    • Putting the Clues Together: Editing
    • Music to Kill For: Music & Sound
    • Denouement: Whodunit?
  • Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder
  • Director and Cast Q&A
  • Marketing Gallery
    • Teaser Trailer
    • Theatrical Trailer
    • Final Trailer
    • Ode to the Murder Mystery
    • Meet the Thrombeys Viral Ads
      • Thrombey Real Estate
      • Blood Like Wine Publishing
      • Flam

As you can see, there are a lot of special features in this release. If you’re the type of person that likes to listen to audio commentaries then you’re in luck. Not only do you have one commentary but you get two for the price of one! Unfortunately, with Rian Johnson being in both commentaries then you’re going to listen to the same stories in both audio commentaries. In the first commentary, you’ll get to hear some fun stories from Johnson, Yedlin, and Segan. Also, you’ll get some cinematography tips from Yedlin too. Rian Johnson’s in-theater commentary covers so many topics about the making of the film. From the genesis of the story to all of the actor’s important contributions, Johnson talks about it all. He also isn’t shy about being quiet and letting the audience watch important parts of the film.

The deleted scenes should be seen with the commentary first then as is. You’ll get more insight as to why it was cut and the context behind it too. Regardless, both scenes are useless if you imagine if it was put back in the film. “Making a Murder” is an extensive, almost two-hour-long featurette that covers a ton of subjects about the film. It’s a nice complement to the duo of audio commentaries in the film. “Planning the Perfect Murder” has Rian Johnson talking in-depth about the story structure and his process behind it. If you’ve listened to the audio commentary or watched the featurette, there is some overlap of information (see: Columbo). “Director and Cast Q&A” is your usual Q&A—complete with a lot of funny and insightful stories.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms

Overall, Knives Out is a great murder mystery film highlighted by a crazy and complex cast of characters. It’s a film that doesn’t get made very often but when it’s done right, it becomes a cinematic treat. The video quality and audio mix are both stellar and the special features a robust and educational.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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