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Knives Out has been lauded for its exceptional script. But one moment in particular has kept fans of the film scratching their heads. For many, Benoit Blanc’s triumphant speech in Knives Out’s penultimate scene makes absolutely no sense. And it turns out, that was what Rian Johnson wanted all along.
Rian Johnson’s ode to Agatha Christie-esque whodunits has been buoyed by its star power. But much of the praise and buzz surrounding it has also been from how well it sticks the landing, and ties all the story’s complex loose ends together. In the final moments of Knives Out, detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) finally figures out who killed Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). He spells it all out in a way that seems crystal clear to him. Though, for those of us watching at home - er, in the theater - it was a little less obvious, thanks to to the bizarre metaphor he used to explain it all:
I spoke in the car about the hole in the center of this donut. And, yes, what you and Harlan did that fateful night seems at first glance to fill that hole perfectly… A donut hole in the donut’s hole. But we must look a little closer. And when we do, we see the donut hole has a hole in its center — it is not a donut hole at all but a smaller donut with its own hole. And our donut is not a hole at all!
A lot of stuff in Knives Out came from me loving the tropes of whodunits. The detective laying it all out in the library at the end: that’s just a scene that I love, that I wanted to be in the movie. You have the detective giving some kind of essentially nonsensical metaphor for how he does what he does. It really makes no sense, but it sounds good!
Rian Johnson’s love of the genre certainly comes through in Knives Out -- and not just with Benoit Blanc’s convoluted explanation. The film is a masterclass in mystery storytelling, almost entirely devoid of any plot (or donut) holes. This helped propel the movie far past anyone’s expectations, garnering more than $200 million at the box office and an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Knives Out was such a hit with audiences that Lionsgate readily greenlit a sequel, which will once again follow the detective as he solves another murder. When it hits theaters, we can expect another thrilling mystery -- and probably another totally nonsensical explanation of how it all went down.