“Knox Goes Away” is Michael Keaton’s second directorial feature. It is a noir thriller, and a father-son story punched together that lacks both emotional pull and dramatic punch. The film is designed as a character study but peculiarly retracts itself to a critical fault, widening to include convoluted plotting amongst a motley bunch of characters, most of which fail to grip our attention. Keaton even brings in Al Pacino to deliver one of the laziest performances the legendary actor has given in his career.

Knox Goes Away (2024) Movie Summary & Plot Synopsis:

John Knox (Michael Keaton) is a hired killer. He is a loner. He is divorced, and his relationship with his son is fraught, to say the least. Knox is drifting through his various missions when he gets a diagnosis of a neurological illness, CJD. His power of memory is rapidly deteriorating. He realizes he doesn’t have much time to wrap up his work and begin preparations for passing on all the money he has amassed. As he readies himself for retirement, he keeps his colleague, Thomas Muncie (Ray McKinnon), in the dark about his severe health condition. He doesn’t fathom its critical importance until the two are in the midst of a mission to kill a notorious trafficker.

In the storm of the moment, Knox gets disoriented and ends up killing the trafficker’s partner, which wasn’t planned. His methodical focus has disappeared. Befuddled, he mistakenly shoots Muncie. He realizes his huge error. He arranges the area to make it seem Muncie has been killed by the trafficker. However, the several inconsistencies and loopholes on the scene arouse suspicion in the cops led by Emily Ikari (Suzy Nakamura), who hints there must have been another person on the spot. Knox and his boss, Xavier (Al Pacino), are thrown into disarray since they’ve got to cover up the entire thing.

Knox hasn’t been in touch with his family for a while. His son, Miles (James Marsden), severed ties with him. When he turns up at Knox’s house with a bloodied hand seeking help, Knox struggles to recognize him. A shaken Miles tells him why he has come seeking his help when they haven’t been on the best of terms. His sixteen-year-old daughter, Kaylee (Morgan Bastin), had gotten pregnant after she got romantically involved with a man, Andrew Palmer (Charles Bisset), whom she met on the internet.

Later it turns out the guy was also deeply entrenched in a child pornography ring as well as a neo-Nazi racket. When Miles comes to know of his minor daughter’s pregnancy, he is convinced Palmer is a predator. Without informing her, he hunts Palmer down and confronts him at his house. It gets violent with Miles being unable to control his fury and spite and stabbing Palmer.

Miles knows his father is the only one who can help cover up what he has done in an enraged fit. At Palmer’s house, Knox takes the murder weapon, the knife, and the glass Miles had touched and packs it instead of disposing of it. Mysteriously, he doesn’t remove the CCTV footage of Miles in the area, either. He has other plans. Along with Xavier, Knox has contrived an elaborate plan that’d secure Miles’ future. He leads the cops to consider Miles had been framed by him for the murder of Palmer because Knox is seeking revenge against his son for ratting him out in the past.

It takes a while for the police to connect the dots between Palmer and Knox, but when they do, Knox has already conjured up his scheme. Knox is betrayed by his sex worker-lover, Annie (Joanna Kulig), whom he had apprised about his wealth. Annie gets goons to Knox’s place but Knox manages to kill them off. As he lets her go, he tells her he’d intended to assign a third of his wealth if only she didn’t feel the need to make such an intervention.

Knox Goes Away (2024) Movie Ending Explained:

Does Knox succeed in his plan?

Knox Goes Away (2024) Movie Review & Ending Explained
A still from “Knox Goes Away” (2024)

As Knox had planned, Xavier rings in the cops, who nab Knox according to his very volition. They discover the three other bodies. While Miles is initially surprised at his being apprehended by the cops, he is finally let off, who assure him he is innocent, with his father being put behind bars. Miles is swept with emotion at his father’s sacrifice. Knox views it as his final act of making amends for being a negligent, absent father. Ultimately, the film ends with him being put away in a care facility, as he loses his grip on memory but is relieved at having succeeded in his grand plan.

Knox Goes Away (2024) Movie Review:

Though the film skates close to being a character study, Gregory Poirier’s screenplay frequently makes unnecessary and superficial detours that don’t lend any depth to Keaton’s character. None of the characters are able to make an impression as the film hurtles through a dramatic plot that feels simultaneously staid. It is as if the gears are swiftly turning, but the action shows barely a flicker in registering itself with the viewer.

To make it have an impact, the film needed a stronger grounding force in the central character who, while the screenplay bundles with various facets and markers, comes off as bizarrely underdeveloped. What hampers the case further is how the crux of the film gets short shrift. The convoluted plan that kicks in entirely hinges on its emotional thrust on the relationship between Knox and Miles.

It is crucial that the film allows this to unfold with time and attention, which turns out to be the one dealing with the most glaring carelessness, thus stunting the scope for a solid emotional connection. Then, there is the technical quality of the film. The need for a visual language seems to have been at the bottom of Keaton’s cart of priorities. The lackluster cinematography may have been deliberate, but it undeniably comes off as vapid in essence. The sheer dullness on display gets increasingly tough to overlook.

The film is bogged down by an insistent listlessness underneath all that façade of quick, cautious orchestrations. Jessica Hernandez’s editing, whilst making the most amateurish cuts conceivable, cannot rescue the film from the slump it immediately falls into not long after the primary introductions are dispensed with. The film is a forgettable, personality-free blur that fails on every possible count, neither appropriately engaging nor balanced in its sense of characterization.

Read More: Where to Watch & Stream Michael Keaton’s ‘Knox Goes Away’?


Knox Goes Away (2024) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
The Cast of Knox Goes Away (2024) Movie: Michael Keaton, James Marsden, Suzy Nakamura, Joanna Kulig, Ray McKinnon, John Hoogenakker, Lela Loren, Marcia Gay Harden, Al Pacino
Knox Goes Away (2024) Movie Genre: Thriller/crime | Runtime: 114 minutes
Where to watch Knox Goes Away

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