Movie #156 2020: Clue (1985)

We all know the board game. (Fun fact: It’s actually named Cluedo in the UK, no idea why). We all know the characters. We know the murder weapons, the rooms in the house, we know all of it already… or so we think.

Clue – now widely regarded as a cult classic – finds the six main characters (Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, etc) of said board game in a mansion in New England, USA. As you’d expect, there’s a sudden murder within the house, and the protagonists set out on an investigation into who did it, taking us along with them for the ride.

Although I didn’t enjoy this movie as much as I wanted to, it is exactly what I was looking for when I went to see Knives Out, so I’m very happy about it. Unlike Rian Johnson‘s 2019 film, Clue is a true murder mystery: a proper ‘whodunnit’ in which you don’t find out who the true killer is until the very end. Although I won’t spoil the ending, I will divulge the fact that Jonathan Lynn provides us with multiple endings, which I thought was a stroke of genius. Like the board game, the possible endings are endless; there are multiple combinations of murder weapon, of location, and of killer, so giving us three alternate ideas of what happened really played up to that. This is something that I’ve never seen any other film do before, and it was a really interesting, meaningful touch which I appreciated.

Not all of the jokes land, but there are some gems in here. “No I just need to powder my nose” really made me laugh, which will make sense if you watch it. The sequence in which some characters were pretending to kiss the corpses made me cackle too, whilst also creating an anxious tension as you are afraid they might get caught. I am so grateful for Tim Curry’s existence, and many of his lines were pure comedy gold. He is the definition of perfect casting in this movie.

To be fair, I wouldn’t say this has aged very well, but if it was set in the fifties then it’s understandable why it’s so old-fashioned. The majority of the jokes are still relevant today, and murder mysteries never go out of fashion. Despite not being the most compelling movie I’ve seen so far this year, it still had a great deal of enjoyability about it.

After the true conclusion is laid out before the viewer, we are treated with one of the best closing lines I’ve ever heard. It’s slapstick and ridiculous, therefore in-keeping with the entire film, and one I will never forget.

Again, I won’t lie and pretend I quite understand how this film achieved its cult status. However, it’s definitely worth a viewing, even if its as background noise.

Clue is available to stream on Sky Cinema and Now TV in the UK.

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