LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 16: Rian Johnson attends the “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” Photocall during the 66th BFI London Film Festival at The May Fair Hotel on October 16, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for BFI)
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Rian Johnson Doesn't Consider Knives Out A 'Deconstruction' Of The Whodunit Genre
From “Brick” to “Looper,” Rian Johnson is known for playing with tropes and audience expectations. Likewise, the filmmaker’s recent “Knives Out” films have been touted as a deconstruction of the whodunit genre, but although the films are certainly a cheeky take on the genre, the director doesn’t agree with these analyses.
Certainly Johnson’s “Knives Out” has a tongue-in-cheek awareness of whodunit expectations, but Johnson doesn’t think this is anything new. As Johnson says, “if you go back and actually look at what Agatha Christie was doing from the very, very start […] She was taking the genre apart. Even the meta aspect […] that was there from the very, very start."
In fact, Johnson thinks this awareness is present in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books even before Agatha Christie, making it part and parcel of the genre rather than a deconstruction of it. The filmmaker argues, that when you flip the genre on its head in a self-aware way, “you're not subverting what Christie was doing. You're imitating it."