Knives Out Movie Poster

Trivia for Knives Out

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  • Rian Johnson has described Daniel Craig's character as an "American Poirot." Craig himself isn't American, but British. This is oddly in keeping with Poirot, who is Belgian but is traditionally portrayed by an Englishman (Albert Finney, David Suchet, Peter Ustinov, etc.) or Northern Irishman (Kenneth Brannagh).
  • This is Rian Johnson's first mystery movie since Brick (2005).
  • The film secured US $40 million in funding at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2018.
  • Rian Johnson's first time producing one of his movies.
  • This is Daniel Craig and Christopher Plummer's second collaboration after The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), in which Craig played an investigative reporter and Plummer the old patriarch of a wealthy family.
  • Both the title; "Knives Out" and working title "Morning Bell" are tracks from the album "Amnesiac" (2001) by the English rock band Radiohead.
  • Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas reunite in No Time to Die (2020).
  • The name of the character Harlan Thrombey is oddly close and possibly an homage to the title of a popular 1980s "Choose Your Own Adventure" book by Edward Packard entitled, "Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?"
  • Daniel Craig based Benoit Blanc's speech style on Southern historian Shelby Foote.
  • M. Emmet Walsh replaced Ricky Jay, who died during production on November 24, 2018. A black & white photo of Jay is visible for a few seconds just before Walsh first appears on camera, at (55:06).
  • The song Benoit Blanc sings while waiting in the car is "Losing My Mind" from the Stephen Sondheim musical "Follies". Oddly, the show was originally conceived by Sondheim and playwright James Goldman as a murder mystery.
  • Despite playing his mother in the film, K Callan is six years younger than Christopher Plummer.
  • The police detective heard on the television series Marta's sister is watching is voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, billed in the film's credits as playing Detective Hardrock. Gordon-Levitt has appeared in five of the films Rian Johnson has directed.
  • The sailor figure at the foot of Harlan's staircase is similar to Jolly Jack Tarr the Jovial Sailor in mystery writer Andrew Wyke's home in Sleuth (1972).
  • At one point Chris Evans's character refers to Daniel Craig's character as "CSI: KFC." Similarly, in Craig's film Logan Lucky (2017), a newscaster refers to the group of thieves as "Ocean's 7-11."
  • This is the second consecutive film by Rian Johnson to feature Frank Oz, following Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017).
  • Benoit Blanc ( Daniel Craig ) references the film's title when he says "When people get desperate, the knives come out."
  • This is Rian Johnson's second movie shot partially digitally. Johnson's Director of Photography, Steve Yedlin, revealed in a tech demo that Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017) was also shot half on film and half on digital.
  • In January 2019, Rian Johnson tweeted a series of photos of the posters that he had hanging in the studio as he edited Knives Out to serve as inspiration for cutting the movie. These were posters for: Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun (1982) (1982; starring Peter Ustinov, Diana Rigg, and Maggie Smith); Murder by Death (1976) (1976; starring Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, Elsa Lanchester, David Niven, and Peter Sellers); Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile (1978) (1978; starring Peter Ustinov, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, and Angela Lansbury); The Last of Sheila (1973) (1973; starring Dyan Cannon, James Mason, and Raquel Welch); Deathtrap (1982) (1982; starring Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, and Dyan Cannon); Clue (1985) (1985; starring Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, and Martin Mull); Gosford Park (2001) (2001, starring Maggie Smith, Ryan Phillippe, Michael Gambon, and Kristin Scott Thomas); Agatha Christie's The Mirror Crack'd (1980) (1980; starring Elizabeth Taylor, Angela Lansbury, Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, and Kim Novak); the London production of the stage musical Something's Afoot (1977; starring Sally Smith); Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express (1974) (1974; starring Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, and Ingrid Bergman); The Private Eyes (1980) (1980; starring Tim Conway and Don Knotts); and Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019) (2019; starring Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, and Kathryn Newton). All of these are murder mysteries and/or detective stories, though some are satires of the genre. The screenplay for The Last of Sheila (1973) was co-written (with Anthony Perkins) by Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, who also wrote "Losing My Mind," the song that Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) sings some of in a scene in this movie. The Last of Sheila was Sondheim's only movie script.
  • Several characters refer to a fictional Hallmark movie starring Danica McKellar titled "Deadly by Surprise." Though McKellar was not asked if her name could be used, she was delighted that it was included, and she shared her love for this film on Instagram. She later sent director Rian Johnson a knife with the words "Deadly by Surprise" engraved on it.
  • When Benoit Blanc is first seen by the audience, he is sitting in the study listening to Lieutenant Elliot question the Thrombey family members, playing the same note on the piano at seemingly random intervals. This was not random at all; after Blanc hits the piano key Lieutenant Elliot always asks the same question; "What time did you arrive at the house?" The piano key was Blanc's signal to Elliot to ask the question.
  • Marta's mother watches an episode of Murder, She Wrote (1984), dubbed into Spanish. The dub for Angela Lansbury is from esteemed television, film and voice-over veteran Beatriz Aguirre who died roughly two months prior to film's release.
  • Jacob Thrombey (Jaeden Martell), the preppy grandson in the film who's always on his phone, was a character influenced by those that voiced their criticisms online over writer/director Rian Johnson's previous film, Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017), who he continues to characterize as "trolls" and "manbabies."
  • One of three movies released theatrically in 2019 where, despite not being musicals, characters sing a song from a Stephen Sondheim musical. In Noah Baumbach's Marriage Story, the character played by Adam Driver sings "Being Alive," and the character played by Scarlett Johansson sings "You Could Drive a Person Crazy," both from Stephen Sondheim's 1970 musical Company. In Knives Out (2019), the character played by Daniel Craig sings part of "Losing My Mind" from Sondheim's 1971 musical "Follies." Joker (2019), the bullies that attack Arthur (Joaquin Phoenix) in the subway sing "Send in The Clowns," from "A Little Night Music."
  • Reunites Frank Oz and Jamie Lee Curtis 36 years after they appeared in Trading Places (1983).
  • Several artworks and window designs in the mansion feature the motif "memento mori," depicting scenes of everyday life populated by skeletons or skulls. The motif, which roughly translates to "remember you are mortal," was popular in the Victorian times and used to remind individuals that death comes for all people, whether rich or poor.
  • Some of the interiors for the Thrombey Mansion were filmed at Ames Mansion in Easton, Massachusetts. The exterior of the house was a Gothic revival mansion built in the 1890s. It is located outside Boston but the exact location contractually cannot be revealed by the production.
  • At least two character names appear to be homages to "Who Killed Harlowe Thrombey?", an early entry in the popular "Choose Your Own Adventure" children's book series of the 1970s and 80s: The film's deceased patriarch, Harlan Thrombey, and elderly groundskeeper Proofroc (an inept detective named Prufrock is a secondary character in the book). The book, like the film, centers around the death of a wealthy man whose extended family are all potential suspects in his demise.
  • Daniel Craig sings the classic song "Losing My Mind" whilst waiting in the car. Daniel is a massive Liza Minnelli fan and insisted on using her version of this song from her collaboration with The Pet Shop Boys.
  • Both Ana de Armas and M. Emmet Walsh have appeared in the Blade Runner franchise, albeit 35 years apart. M. Emmet Walsh was Captain Bryant in the original Blade Runner (1982) and Ana de Armas was Joi in the sequel Blade Runner 2049 (2017).
  • The board game that Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) and Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) are playing is called Go. Go is an abstract strategy board game for two players in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent. The game was invented in China more than 2,500 years ago.
  • At one point, Benoit Blanc references 'Gravity's Rainbow', the sprawling 1973 novel by Thomas Pynchon that won the National Book Award and was nominated for the Pulitzer but offended the Pulitzer Advisory Board because some members found it "unreadable," "turgid," "overwritten," and even "obscene," so no Pulitzer was awarded that year. Since Pynchon refused to turn up in person for the National Book Award ceremony, Viking Press sent a comedian to accept the prize in his place, and a streaker crossed the stage in the middle of the ceremony. Benoit adds that nobody reads the book, but he says he likes the title, which refers to the arc of German V-2 rockets during the Second World War, and the detective compares that to the arc of a murder mystery. Benoit refers to arc later in the story, as well.
  • Marta drives by a car that has a "Keep calm and Bergeron" bumper sticker, referring to long-time Boston Bruin hockey player Patrice Bergeron.
  • When Ransom tells his family at the will reading to "eat shit," he was originally supposed to tell them "fuck you." Rian Johnson decided to remove most of the "F" bombs in the script to secure a PG-13 rating and keep it more like the mystery films he used to watch with his family growing up. Chris Evans was the one who suggested substituting "eat shit."
  • When the news crews gather outside Marta's home, a clip is shown of a reporter on the TV broadcasting from outside the house. The reporter is a local New England sports talk show host Gary Tanguay.
  • The BMW that Ransom drives is a 1972 BMW 3.0 CSI.
  • The portrait of Harlan Thrombey was digitally added in post production.
  • The film was shot on digital. In order to replicate the look of film, cinematographer Steve Yedlin wrote a script to create the halation glowing effect of film seen around bright light sources.
  • Writer and director Rian Johnson named the main characters after musical artists from the 1970s. Walt and Donna are named after Walt and Donald from Steely Dan. Joni is Joni Mitchell and her dead husband was named after Neil Young. Lastly, Linda and Richard are named for Linda and Richard Thompson.
  • The opening shot required the two dogs to run from one trainer to another, but they initially had trouble getting them close to the camera. They ultimately had to build a little ramp so the dogs wouldn't slide directly under the camera.
  • The opening inserts are inspired by 1972's Sleuth, and the shot at (1:25) of Jolly Jack the Sailor is a direct reference.
  • They had to digitally paint out some of the blood they used on set for that first appearance of Harlan Thrombey's (Christopher Plummer) dead body, in order to secure a PG-13 rating.
  • Marta Cabrera's (Ana de Armas) apartment was filmed in a building once frequented by a young Whitey Bulger.
  • Rian Johnson acknowledges that, despite numerous edits and attempts to shave it down, the script's opening interrogation sequence (complete with flashbacks edited in) was "always a really tough read." He would have people read it and adds that "I never didn't get the note that 'boy those first thirty pages are rough, and then it kicks into gear.'"
  • Rian Johnson met Noah Segan (Trooper Wagner) on their first film, Brick (2005), and they've remained friends and co-workers. "I finally wrote you a role that gets to the soul of Noah Segan."
  • It was Toni Collette who picked the Roxy Music song that her character Joni Thrombey dances to early on.
  • Rian Johnson wonders if anyone notices that Meg Thrombey's (Katherine Langford) shirt at around 10 minutes features a diagram of lady bits. "That might have been how we kept our PG-13," adds Noah Segan.
  • The beats with Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) playing a piano key periodically were originally written with him sitting behind Lt. Elliott's (LaKeith Stanfield) chair and tapping it with his foot. Once they were on location, though, Rian Johnson realized that the geography of the room afforded him the better option of the piano.
  • "I had written into the script that Blanc speaks with a subtle Southern accent," says Rian Johnson, and after they all finish laughing he explains that Daniel Craig researched accents and became attached to historian Shelby Foote's cadence and drawl. "So it's kind of that, it's a little Foghorn Leghorn, and it's also a little Harlan Pepper which is Christopher Guest's character in Best in Show, which is funny because Christopher Guest is Jamie Lee Curtis' husband." Johnson added.
  • The most impressive digital trickery is the shot at (17:21). It's a simple insert of a family photo on a shelf showing Richard Drysdale (Don Johnson), his wife Linda (Curtis), and their son Ransom (Chris Evans). It was added to ensure audiences could put a face to a name, as characters were talking about Ransom before we'd actually met him. It was accomplished by shooting the framed photo in front of a green screen and then comping in one of the wide shots of the room slightly blurred as its background behind it.
  • The Man Who Would Be King (1975) is one of Rian Johnson's favorite movies, so between takes he would try to get Christopher Plummer to talk about working with the legendary John Huston.
  • Segan and Stanfield pitched Rian Johnson (jokingly) on a spin-off for their detective characters called Okay Cops. "And the tag line is 'They're fine.'"
  • Rian Johnson acknowledges that while the film's first act has been "very arch to this point," what follows comes down to the scene between Plummer and Armas. "They have to come in and land a real emotional connection between these two pretty quickly, and then they have to land this scene on an emotional level or the whole movie doesn't work."
  • It was Don Johnson's idea for his character to hand his empty plate to Marta as if she was the maid during the immigration conversation.
  • The painting of Harlan wasn't finished until after filming wrapped, so every scene showing it is an effects shot.
  • Thomas Pynchon's 'Gravity's Rainbow' is the first book that Rian Johnson ever gave Noah Segan who has not read it yet.
  • The film's key greensman, Butch McCarthy, came up with The Menagerie Tragedy Trilogy on the day of filming after Rian Johnson asked the cast and crew for suggestions.
  • Rian Johnson's cousin, Nathan Johnson, composed the film's score, as he's done for all of the director's films "except Star Wars, which he understood." It was the composer's first time using an orchestra.
  • They recorded the commentary one week after it opened in theaters, and Rian Johnson's thrilled that Chris Evans' white sweater has entered the public consciousness.
  • Patton Oswalt contacted Rian Johnson after the film opened to ask if the needle drop of Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown" at (1:21:47) was an intentional reference. Apparently, the song is (possibly) about a groupie Lightfoot had experience with named Cathy Smith who's best known for being the one who gave John Belushi a fatal injection of heroin and cocaine in 1982. "And Patton, who is brilliant in his thinking in terms of 3D chess is like 'was that a crazy reference to Marta?'"
  • Noah Segan recalls the scene where his character grabs Chris Evans' upper arm "and I could not find purchase his arm muscle was much larger than my hand."
  • Rian Johnson was happy to get a Stephen Sondheim reference in via Blanc's singing a song from "Follies" in the car. Apparently the legendary musical theater composer is a big fan of mysteries and puzzles. "The character in Sleuth that Laurence Olivier plays is based on Stephen Sondheim."
  • Rian Johnson contemplated cutting Blanc's doughnut speech, but Craig convinced him that it was good. Watching the actor deliver it sold him on keeping the entire thing.
  • Another of Rian Johnson's cousins, Mark Johnson, did the title credits and based the font on an Agatha Christie series of paperbacks. Zack Johnson is another cousin, and he painted the cast paintings for the end credits.
  • The first name of Benoit Blanc is possibly a reference to Benoit Mandelbrot, a mathematician whose name is given to complex fractal diagrams having an infinite degree of complexity.
  • A parenteral therapy of 100 mg of ketorolac given to a 85-years-old man for weeks, as Harlan takes in this movie, would be completely off-label and have a significant risk of kidney failure.
  • Harlan dies on his 85th birthday. This is a reference to Agatha Christie who died at the age of 85. This film is a tribute to Christie's writing style and stories.
  • The coin Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) flips is a 1901 US Morgan silver dollar. Since they were made of 90% silver, the government melted millions during WWI to help fund the war effort. Some are very hard to find, and depending on condition, they can fetch thousands of dollars.
  • Although it was never explicitly mentioned, but the political talk on Harlan's birthday party was about President Donald Trump's policy on illegal immigrants. Hints included mentioning "children in cages" and "red cap", indicating the "Make America Great Again" red cap featured prominently in Trump presidential campaigns.
  • The second movie where Michael Shannon plays Jaeden Martell's father, the first being Midnight Special (2016).
  • Rian Johnson was asked about the moment in the movie where Toni Collette's character Joni Thrombey mentions she'd first heard about Daniel Craig's detective Benoit Blanc in a New Yorker article. In the piece, the investigator reportedly solved a case involving a tennis champion. "That's a very sly reference to one of my favourite movies, which is the 1970s version of Sleuth," Johnson explained: "In the beginning, the character of Andrew, who's played by Laurence Olivier, is a mystery writer dictating into a tape recorder the ending of his current novel, 'Death By Double-Fault', which describes how a body was discovered in a tennis court."
  • Although it's clear that Marta is a South American immigrant, the Thombeys' basic indifference towards her is evident in the fact that throughout the movie, family members refer to her as being from Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay or Brazil. Her actual native country is never confirmed.
  • The whole movie is a nod to Agatha Christie's style
  • The coffee mug that reads "My House, My Rules, My Coffee" was manufactured for the film. Replicas of the mug are now available for purchase.
  • The three television monitors in the security room are old monitors from Tandy / Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 1 computers.
  • Rian Johnson said that Michael Shannon was by far the funniest person on set, and came up with a lot of his character's funny lines and physical moments, such as his triumphant arm-raise during the "eat shit" scene, and his retort: "I am not eating one iota of shit!"
  • Rian Johnson mentioned to costume designer Jenny Eagan that he thought Ransom would have beautiful, expensive clothes that he didn't take care of. Eagan ran with this, wearing holes into the sleeves his now-iconic sweaters and even distressing the heels on the loafers he wears throughout the movie.
  • While shooting the interrogation scene with Linda, special lighting rigs were used that looked like windows so that the reflection in Jamie Lee Curtis' glasses would look like natural light filtering into the room.
  • The early scenes show several of Harlan Thrombey's books. Two covers, shown framed side by side on a table, are "This Little Piggie" and "The Needle Game" which presage the motive and method of the murder plot. Other books include "The Wrong Tree", "Nick of Time", "The Badger", "The Keeper", "Ultimatum ", and "Homunculus", all of which relate to plot elements or characters. There is also "A Drop in the Bucket", which foreshadow's Marta's reaction when she lies.
  • Daniel Craig and Ana de Armas would later work together again in the 25th James Bond No Time to Die (2020). This is due to Craig choosing Armas for her role in the latter film due to the chemistry of them being able to work together during this film.
  • Though a sequel Knives Out 2 was announced, the only relation it has to this film is the character Benoit Blanc (portrayed by Daniel Craig) who is simply working on his next mystery.
  • According to Dr. Jackson Vane of Hi Everybody! A Bad Medicine Podcast (2019). Knives Out is "140% medically accurate." This means the film is considered 40% more medically sound than The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009), which marketed itself as "100% medically accurate" and is used as a baseline for comparison.
  • In a less plot-relevant bonus, the blue arrow from Brick appears during the car chase.
  • Several Thrombeys tell Marta that they wanted to invite her to Harlan's funeral but they were "outvoted." The first time it happened, it sounds sincere and apologetic, but since it happened repeatedly and verbatim, it's a hint that the family considers Marta an outsider and are completely willing to turn on her.
  • Early on, Harlan makes a remark about people "impulsively unraveling the strings on their parachutes." This very habit winds up being his own undoing, with his shooting down of Marta calling the ambulance, which would have saved his life had he listened to her instead of indulging in his flair for the dramatic.
  • Due to limited resources, American Humane Association did not monitor some of the dog action.
  • Throughout the film, the family has two pet dogs, who are seen performing such mild action as sitting/standing/lying, being held or petted, and walking/running on or off leash. For all of these scenes, trainers used hand signals and verbal commands to cue the mild action, which the trained dogs were accustomed to performing. The barking/growling was also a trained behavior.
  • In the scene where the dogs run from the mansion in slow motion, the trainer held both dogs by the collar at their mark on the side of the estate driveway. The other trainer stood at the end point for dogs across the lawn. On action, the other trainer stood up and waved his arm to get the dogs attention. On action, the first trainer released dogs giving the command "Go to." The dogs ran across the yard to the other trainer who placed pieces of kibble in two bowls for dogs as reward.
  • In the scene where the actor approaches the house and the dogs bark at him from behind the fence, trainers walked the dogs to the set on the leash. Then the trainers placed two balls attached to rope and placed them in the actor's jacket pocket as rehearsed. The actor then walked to the car in the driveway. Trainers stood a few feet from the actor with the dogs on leashes. The actor lifted the balls and showed the dogs he had them. The dogs reacted by barking and pulling on their leashes.
  • A deleted scene explains Walt's limp. He tells the detectives that he had suffered a bicycle accident. However, after his wife Donna spots a menacing man on her front porch - a scene in the trailer but not the movie - Blanc confronts her with evidence that Walt had been shot in the leg and that while being shot while bicycling was a possibility, the couple had "at the very least buried the lede". Donna then admits that Walt had lost heavily in investments and was embezzling money from Harlan's publishing company to cover his losses.
  • In some closeups, Blanc appears to have some redness on his neck. In a deleted scene, Blanc explains to Joni that he had ordered and used some of Flam's - her lifestyle company - product (Snail Oil Jelly) and developed a rash. He then googled "Flam" and "Rash" and found pages and pages of complaints on beauty sites that Flam products had caused rashes. Blanc also tells Joni that his investigation determined that Flam had been failing for years.

Spoilers

  • This film would have been the second to feature Chris Evans and Katherine Langford. However, Langford's appearance as an older version of Tony Stark's daughter Morgan in Avengers: Endgame (2019) only came in a deleted scene released via the Disney+ streaming service.
  • At various points in the movie, members of the Thrombey family refer to Marta as being from Cuba, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Brazil. Though it is insinuated that Marta herself was born in the United States (by characters stating that only her mother is "an illegal"), Marta never corrects them, nor is it ever reliably stated where her family originated.
  • In the restaurant scene, "Sundown" by Gordon Lightfoot is playing softly in the background. Its chorus says, "Sundown, ya better take care, if I find you creepin' 'round my back stairs," referring to both of the people in that scene who have used the lattice on the outside of the house to get to the secret door that led to the study.
  • More Sherlock Holmes references: calling Marta 'Watson' and Harlan's dogs barking, is a reference to the Sherlock short story 'The Silver Blaze', in which the dogs' silence suggested that the culprit was a party they knew.
  • The film contains at least two Sherlock Holmes references (use of the catchphrase "the game is afoot," and Marta is referred to as Watson); Christopher Plummer played Sherlock Holmes in the film Murder by Decree (1979), and also spoke the line "The game's afoot" in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) as the Klingon General Chang. There are at least two more: When Plummer's character tells Marta that the dogs won't do anything (won't bark) when she returned, since they knew her. This is a hat tip to the famous exchange between Holmes and the inspector in the Silver Blaze (the main clue which led to the real criminal): "There is also the curious incident of the dog in the night time" "But the dog did nothing in the night time" "That is the curious incident" Also, the footprints in the mud seemed like a reference to Holmes' legendary footprint analysis that was seen in so many of his stories.
  • Harlan Thrombey foreshadows the ending when he mentions to Marta that the carefree lifestyle of his grandson Ransom makes him unable to tell a prop knife from a real one. In the climax, Ransom attacks Marta with a knife that he impulsively grabbed from the knife chair, only to find out that it is a prop knife.
  • Harlan Thrombey asks Marta how she always beats him at Go, she responds "you're playing to win, I'm playing to make a pretty pattern." This nicely foreshadows Marta's arc; while the Thrombey family members try to lie, cheat, and manipulate their way inheriting Harlan's estate, Marta is the only person who repeatedly attempts to do the right thing even at her own expense. She ends up inheriting everything, thus, she "wins."
  • The first time Marta is seen at the Thrombey house, she is looking upwards at the house and members of the family from the driveway. In the last scene, the surviving members of the Thrombey family are all standing in the same spot in the driveway, looking up at Marta on the balcony, nicely signifying that the roles have been reversed.
  • The circle of knives positioned behind the chair during the opening interviews and the final reveal is donut shaped with a hole in the center. This is just like Detective Blanc's metaphor for the mystery. All of the knives face toward the center, signifying how all of the characters have their "knives out" and are battling to discover the hole in the mystery.
  • According to Marta's cellphone and the toxicology report, the film takes place in November 2018. According to dialogue, Harlan's birthday party was November 8.
  • At the epilogue, Linda Thrombey finally manages to decrypt the message Harlan left her, exposing the affair of her husband Richard, and stares at him dejectedly. Shortly after, in the very last scene, Richard is seen sporting a black left eye, implying that Linda is the one who caused it.
  • At one point, a baseball on Harlan's desk is picked up and thrown out the window of his office. Roughly around the same time in the movie, Benoit Blanc states "the game is afoot" referencing the old Sherlock Holmes' phrase meaning the search continues. The baseball then continues to pass from character to character in one way or another. The baseball represents the "game being in play" and when the mystery is finally solved the ball goes back onto the desk symbolizing the end of the game/search. This is also a metaphor for Harlan's love of games and his one last hurrah.
  • At the start of the movie, the housekeeper is seen making breakfast and pouring coffee into a mug that says "My house, my rules, my coffee", shortly before she finds Harlan's body. At end of the movie, when Marta is standing on the balcony of what is now her mansion, with the Thrombey family members looking up at her, she is drinking from the same mug, with her hands covering all the words except "My house."
  • When Ransom is reading over the blackmail letter meant for Marta, there are several obscured issues of the New Yorker visible on the coffee table. Earlier in the film, Linda and Joni reference the New Yorker article on Blanc's career, further hinting at Ransom being the one who hired Blanc to investigate the death.
  • During the car chase scene Ransom calls Marta "Baby Driver" due to her reckless driving which is clearly a reference to the film Baby Driver (2017). Since Rian Johnson felt "there's no way we're going to top anything in that" he decided to go the opposite route and deliver a silly chase.
  • Towards the end of the movie, Linda Drysdale reads a letter written to her (by invisible ink) by her father. She mentions this in the initial interview with the police; "we had our own secret way of communicating"
  • When Marta is in Ransom's house for the first time, we see a row of four or five brown-tinted glass jugs in the background. There is, however, an empty space in the row where another jug might have been. By the climax of the film we see in a flashback that Ransom has used the jug to burn down the medical examiner's office.
  • It is revealed that the mansion was purchased in the 1980s. The keystone in the arched balcony door above the entryway has a monogram of the letter I superimposed over the letter T. This means that the house was built by someone whose initials were T.I. Obviously, it was not the ancestral home of the Thrombeys.
  • The message Harlan leaves for Linda in the envelope written with invisible ink (which Richard merely saw as a blank sheet of paper when he found it): "My heart, It's time to cut the dead wood. He's cheating on you. I have proof. I know you don't need to see. Untether yourself. It's time - Dad."
  • (At 30 mins.) They had to re-shoot the shot of Walt Thrombey (Michael Shannon) smoking his cigar on the porch because the character in the window behind him was too clear -- it's later revealed that it's Marta, so they further obfuscated it by having Craig's stand-in don the robe instead.
  • Working out the mechanism by which to handle and explain Marta's switching up the drugs is the script element that kept Rian Johnson frustrated the longest. "I need something where both she and the audience crucially need to believe that she has messed up, and through her error has killed him, but it needs to be something that I can effectively undo at the end of the movie." He says he went through lots of overly complicated variations before settling on the finished element.
  • Rian Johnson decided early on that he wanted a PG-13 rating for the film, so he had to remove the f-bombs from his original script. He also originally wanted Plummer's throat slice to be "a very expressive, expressionistic red splash" towards the audience, but the MPAA gave them an R which forced him to drop it completely.
  • Jacob's line "You had sex with my grandpa, you dirty anchor baby!" was ad-libbed by Jaeden Martell, but it was originally lost in the scene since multiple characters were talking and yelling. Michael Shannon noticed this and approached Rian Johnson, telling him that Martell had a killer line, so they made sure to go back and capture it.
  • That last glimpse of Harlan's portrait at (2:04) is tweaked a little "leaving everything feeling okay." He's now smiling.
  • Don Johnson's black eye at (2:04) is a visual effect added in post-production. The shot right before of Marta holding the coffee mug at (2:04:33) is also an effect "originally you could read the writing on the mug, and we realized it tipped it, the last shot didn't have the same impact if you'd already seen the words and so our effects guy basically moved her hand so it was covering the words so we got the final little reveal."
  • The steelbook of the film's Blu-ray has a transparent protective slip cover. On the back of that cover are a series of knives arranged in a way to form a circle, pointing like arrows at a certain direction. The steelbook has the film's poster printed on it, where all of the characters are seen. As an easter egg, when the cover is flipped and then put on the steelbook again, the knives will point to the culprit.
  • The firefighters extinguishing the fire at the medical examiner's office are all present or former members of the Marlborough, Massachusetts Fire Department. Paul Zompetti and Ron Ayotte are both former fire chiefs, Brian Leonard is a lieutenant, and Joseph Bisazza is a firefighter. Their names are visible on their coats.
  • Apple agreed to have their products used in the film, on the condition that no Apple products could be used by the killer. Notably, Marta does not use any Apple products, further enforcing the idea that she was responsible for Harlan's death until the final reveal.
  • While filming the big reveal at the end of the film, Rian Johnson was surprised to discover that Daniel Craig had completely memorized the last 30 pages of the script, most of which are a monologue delivered by his character. Johnson ended up altering the way he shot the scenes, favoring long takes instead of shorter cuts, because he found that Craig's performance became better and better the longer each take became.
  • The way the light catches the letter Harlan had planned to give Linda briefly shows that it isn't blank. Later, Linda picks up a stack of letters from her father's desk on the same letterhead. The letters all show heat damage from Linda's lighter. It's later revealed that a message was left on the letter in invisible ink.
  • Eagle-eyed viewers will spot a particularly piece of foreshadowing when the security footage is viewed. Despite having stormed out of the party early, Ransom's car is never seen heading down the driveway.
  • The fact the blackmail letter is torn across the bottom is extremely easy to dismiss when Marta opens it, but becomes very relevant during the reveal.
  • Marta brings up the signs of a deadly overdose of morphine when she realizes that she just gave Harlan over thirty times the normal dose. However, even as the minutes pile up, Harlan doesn't demonstrate any of the symptoms, even the initial ones. Sure enough, the toxicology report comes back clean, and Marta didn't administer an overdose despite the switched labels. Marta is a nurse, and is apparently fairly competent knowing all Harlan's meds and dosages (even quasi-legal ones) by heart. Any medically trained personnel worth their salt wouldn't have misplaced the emergency kit containing the antidote, especially when kits are (A) very obvious, and (B) have a compartment that would make it clear someone tampered with the most important of the meds. Sure enough, Ransom had sabotaged her medkit to steal the antidote.
  • When Marta and Harlan play Go, she tells him that she always beats him because he plays to win and she plays to make a beautiful pattern. Several times Marta unknowingly foils Ransom's plans by being a good and kind person rather than acting as selfish as the rest of the family.
  • Harlan makes a crack about knowing a real knife from a prop knife. In the end, Ransom tries to stab Marta, but discovers that he's using a prop knife.
  • Ransom forces all the Thrombeys' employees to call him "Hugh" because he's an asshole. This hints at the fact he is just as racist and unpleasant as the rest of the family, with his kindness to Marta only being an act.
  • None of the family members would have profited at all from Harlan's death, because that would mean losing their income. Ransom is the one with the least stakes out of the family, and thus, has no such compunctions killing Harlan.
  • At the reading of the will, Ransom is shown smirking while playing with a chessboard. He's the 'chessmaster' of the film, the one who orchestrates the entire plot to kill Harlan and frame Marta for it. Chess is also a game you can only win by playing to win. When he's in control, he can manipulate Marta effortlessly, but whenever she acts on her own, playing her game her way, she sticks to the beauty and benevolence of her style of Go.
  • As Blanc is going over certain events on the night of Harlan's death, it's shown that during the night, Meg was woken by the sound of the family dogs barking. This is one of the only details that isn't explained by the flashback of Marta covering up Harlan's death, since the dogs liked her enough to be silent when she was sneaking through the yard. It's later revealed that they were barking at Ransom, who was attempting to sneak in to switch back the medication bottles.
  • Ransom says that he thought he was the only one who ever beat Harlan at Go. This sets up the final confrontation between Ransom and Marta, showing that she is smarter than he is and allows her to trick him into giving an engineered public confession.
  • No one in the family knows how old Great-Nana is, treat her like a living prop or a burden, and pretty much dismiss her when she mistakes people who walk by as Ransom. While it accurately shows how self-absorbed they are, her testimony at the end exonorates Marta and reveals Ransom's role in Harlan's "suicide" after Blanc shows her kindess and respect, showing how much the family messed up by considering her beneath notice.
  • After Ransom admits his plot then tries to murder Marta, the camera pans back to show the knife sculpture has a hole in the middle of the circle, much like a donut.
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