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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Knox Goes Away movie review & film summary (2024)

This film needed to be a complete character study. An intellectual with PhDs in English and History and a Gulf War veteran, Knox is already enough of an enigma to pull our interest. Though we get some idea of his everyday life—he has a standing appointment every Thursday with a call girl (Joanna Kulig)—it’s minimal in comparison to what his background teases. Instead, the film diverts attention from Knox in lieu of a trite subplot: It’s been years since Knox has seen his estranged son Miles (James Marsden), who suddenly comes to his front door bloody and battered, and panting. Miles has just killed the man who raped his daughter, and he needs his dad, who knows about these kind of things, to cover it up. 

The subplot is an all-too obvious through line to retrace Knox’s life as he faces mortality. But the movie doesn’t even get that right. There are less scenes with Marsden and Keaton than you’d expect, and less opportunities to discover the inner workings of his dad before they totally dissipate. Keaton spends much of the film enacting a convoluted plan of subterfuge that’ll require the help of an old friend (a soporific Al Pacino) so he can remember it. Once again, that would be a great premise, if the twist weren’t so obvious 45 minutes into the film. What remains is a cold character study uninterested in its primary character, sunken by an all too predictable script. 

There are surprisingly even more cracks to be discovered: Keaton directs even further attention from Knox by focusing on the two detectives working to catch him. Suzy Nakamura plays the smarter, more observant of the two, and is actually a welcomed sight in this subdued action flick, if only because she has an edge to her character. But we come out knowing more about her character’s biography than Knox’s, particularly the immigrant aspirations she had to deal with from her overwhelming parents and the casual workplace sexism she encounters. Normally, I’m down for some elements of cultural specificity. Here, it’s inorganic to the film.

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HomeReviewsKnox Goes Away movie review & film summary (2024)

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