Knives Out Analysis

Huh. This is not what I think of when I think of Control. I think of Control as something more like being self-controlled, or an abusive partner trying to control another person, “being controlling”. Is Harlan really trying to control his kids in that sense?

EDIT: What you’re talking about sound more to me like the Issue level quad of Fate/Prediction/Interdiction/Destiny.

Fearing deportation.
Dealing with prejudice.
Believing you’re inferior.

Words of a man running into conflict as he is being controlling:

        They're not our books, son.  They're
        my books.  And this is not how I
        wanted to have this conversation but,
        you're right, it's unfair of me to
        keep you tethered to something that
        **isn't yours to control**.


Harlan opens his ledger, hand writes a check.

         I'm writing this tuition check, then
         that is the last money you or Meg
         will get from me.
         Please you don't understand
         I know it'll hurt but it's for the


                   HARLAN (O.S.) tell her or I will!


                   HARLAN (cont'd)
         I don't fear death.  But god I'd like
         to fix some of this before I go.
         Close the book with a flourish. I
         guess we'll see.

I think they’re pretty stupid simple

OS - The Family Dynamic
MC - The Heart of Gold
IC - Controlling the Inheritance
RS - Catching the Killer

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I don’t think Controlling the Will is IC and I don’t think Catching the Killer is the emotional core of the story.

The will is at the center of the fate of the Thrombey’s. So is framing Marta for murder.

We’re going to keep running around in circles unless we can get agreement on Domains and Dynamics.

Hmmm… how is what Harlan/Ransom do not at its core about controlling the inheritance?

Just curious, what was the storyform you had reached?

I haven’t reached a storyform. We can all pick a storyform and try to argue for them. They’re all valid stories. :smile:

I’m willing to be argued into or out of any position. I’m not arguing in any direction. I just want everyone to hit a consensus about the big pieces so we’re not arguing around in circles. :wink:

Fair enough, haha.

So, where do you see the OS Concern, Issue, Problem?

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It suppose it is, but Harlan writing them out of the will and Ransom trying to get the inheritance back is the plot, right? How does that influence Marta’s perspective?

I think we should at least tentatively settle Drivers and Resolve before we start jumping to the chart.

I agreed with you on Action drivers. Do we agree that Marta is Changed?

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I lean toward Change, but I think John is still advocating for Decision and Steadfast.

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It influences her to remain committed to her POV.

She sees that by staying committed to Helping, she is doing the right thing.
Assuming her Problem Element is “Help” … if she were to move to “Hinder” she would stop helping people, right? And she understands that helping the Thrombeys is writing them out of their inheritance.
Benoit even points out to her how she didn’t give in to them and play by their rules.

It’s easier to see from the other perspective, from the IC that changes. It’s presented by Ransom in that final scene. He goes from being cool and calm and in control the entire film… to exploding at Marta, admitting his guilt openly, and finally stabbing her in a furious rage. Losing control. Being uncontrolled. Same element as the family, too, in the OS (i think). They go from trying to control everything from the interviews, to the inheritance, and devolve into insanity–storming the car, losing their shit against Marta… everything for them spirals out of control.

This really doesn’t like an IC moment to me – just part of the OS, and barely that. In fact, you could take that scene out and you wouldn’t lose any of the story’s meaning. Let’s suppose Marta tricks him into confessing, and he doesn’t lose control. So what? He would just be arrested. It would be less fun, and you would lose that great knife stabbing scene – but how would that affect the meaning of the story?

Well A) that’s not what happened. But B) It’s not just the stabbing, it’s the whole moment when he marches up to her all super angry and on his own chooses to admit that he did everything. Where he was cool and in control before, he turns into boisterous and gloating.

Again, I don’t think the OS isn’t about the crime or catching the bad guy… it’s about the Thrombey family dynamic.

It’s also very very likely that that moment is a MAM. I could see it being both RS and IC, maybe even some OS.

But… the thing about that moment is that you can’t take that scene out. You’d totally lose all the meaning. If Ransom got away because the detective showed that no one was guilty, and if he didn’t gloat about it… then it might not have ended the way it did with Marta knowing her choice to follow her good heart was right… and she may have ended up forking over the estate to all those monsters.


I think it’s more like she would start actively screwing people over or start getting out of the way. Helping and not helping are the same element. I get what you’re saying though.

I can see what you’re saying if you were arguing those elements. But I don’t think him flipping out is a paradigm shift. I don’t feel like he’s going to stop being a controlling prick.

Then again, I didn’t feel strong about Harlan or Ransom as IC. I thought the whole family and their fake “We all love and care about you, Marta” masking their true feelings was more of an influence on Marta.

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Well, maybe we need to back up to that – if we don’t agree there, it’ll be hard to sort everything out.

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Well Marta for sure doesn’t start actively screwing people over, and she definitely doesn’t stay in that place.

And maybe the IC really is mostly Harlan, and that (in death) he is finally free of the burdens of his family.

Okay, so Harlan has a perspective changing paradigm shift. What do we see in the story that shows us this?

In The Graduate, Mrs. Robinson is the IC and Ben is the MC. She influences him to change. Be he doesn’t become “like” her. He ends up chasing down her daughter!

Does the Marta at the beginning of the film, frightened and unwilling to even tell her sister to turn off the crime show, seem like the same person who at the end is standing on the deck looking down at the family, holding her mug?

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