Another year of cinema has passed, which means it’s time for our second annual Golden Cages awards, the only end-of-the-year awards program featuring everyone’s favorite actor as a screaming statuette! Over the next two weeks leading up to the Academy Awards, we at Flixist will be announcing our winners across seventeen different categories for what we consider the best achievements in film in 2019. Why do we wait so long into the year to do this? Because we can! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the awards.
On a fundamental level, a director is a storyteller. Directors are broken and made by their ability to tell a compelling, comprehensible story. That is why Rian Johnson is the winner of our 2019 Golden Cages Award for Best Director for his work on Knives Out. This film was probably my second favorite movie of last year. It is brilliantly entertaining with the cast second-to-none. The screenplay is solid and the costume and prop design are excellent, but even with all of these wonderful ingredients, it takes a chef to make a delicious meal.
Knives Out is a murder mystery, a modern whodunit. It’s difficult to express how effective this movie is without spoiling the entire thing, but I will not do that. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you deserve to experience it without knowing how it all turns out. I can tell you that the first 10 to 15 minutes of this film are very tightly wound. You learn everything you need to know to solve the crime and yet, you won’t. Even if you manage to pick out the ultimate culprit out of the cast, you won’t figure out how everything unfolded until it’s all revealed at the end. You won’t facepalm, either. The answers are present, but far from obvious. And I’m only talking about the opening moments of the film!
The rest of movie takes you on a journey. You are with the protagonist Marta (Ana de Armas) as she tries to deal with guilt. You spend plenty of time with our modern detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), as he pieces together each element of the puzzle. You try to put yourself in their shoes. You try to understand what is going on in their heads. Who can they trust? Who is to blame? By the time the conclusion appears, you are fully invested with this tale and it takes a truly adept director in order to keep the audience engaged for the entire movie.
The most amazing thing to me about this movie is how every single moment of the film has a purpose. There is not one wasted second of screen time. Everything matters. Your time as a viewer is respected. Your attention is demanded. Rian Johnson manages to tell an enthralling story from beginning to end and makes it seem so effortless. That is why he is the Best Director of 2019.