Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture – what’s new and old in entertainment.
Sometimes, there is nothing I want more than a deep, meaningful book or movie to sink my teeth into… and sometimes, there is nothing I want more than a page-turner or a movie to just be purely entertained by. In situations like that, very few things scratch the itch quite like a whodunnit mystery.
Detective stories have thrilled audiences for generations, and some of the staples of the genre are still the Sherlock Holmes books or the famed stories from the queen of mystery herself, Agatha Christie. My favorite Christie story is And Then There Were None, which sees 10 people brought to an island, where they quickly begin being murdered one by one. An absolute classic of the genre, And Then There Were None is one of eight novels that has ever sold more than 100 million copies.
A more farcical take on the genre is the 1985 movie, Clue, starring Tim Curry and a host of familiar faces. Clue is a locked-house murder mystery that provides audiences with not one, but three possible endings to the mystery. When the film was distributed to theaters, audiences were randomly shown one of the three endings, but all three are preserved on the home release. Luckily, the home release saves the best ending for last.
And for a recent whodunnit, Rian Johnson’s film, Knives Out, presents a modern take on the genre. The film centers on the mysterious death of a crime novelist and stars Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon and so many other familiar faces in one of the best, most entertaining films from 2019.
For whatever reason, we humans love tracking a good mystery. Whodunnits have stood the test of time and, when executed correctly, they offer total entertainment and a killer ending.
I’m Evan Rook.