2 THE BIG SICK
John Nugent: In a massive ensemble of giant A-listers, it came as a hugely pleasant surprise that Ana de Armas (until now, best known to English-speaking audiences as Ryan Gosling’s hologram girlfriend in Blade Runner 2049) would play such a pivotal role in Knives Out — or that the role would pivot around puking. As housekeeper Marta, de Armas is the vehicle for Rian Johnson’s craftiest plot device: Marta cannot lie, and will vomit at even a hint of falsehood. This is undeniably an opportunity for glorious gross-out silliness — the climactic projectile onto Chris Evans’ sculpted cheekbones is an obvious highlight. But it’s also a clever nod to the audience, a kind of storytelling assurance that no matter how untrustworthy the Thrombey family get, you can always trust Marta. Johnson clearly intended to make a satire on modern America that took the piss out of rich people, but in amongst the snark and smartassery, there is also room for gentle humanity and simple honest-to-god goodness. That it comes in the form of a humble, diligent, virtuous working-class immigrant feels as much a comment on modern America as anything else in the film.