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Movie Detail Monday: ‘Knives Out’ and the Revealing Invisible Ink

Knives Out Netflix Deal
Knives Out Netflix Deal

After news broke last week that Netflix is dropping more than $400M for “Knives Out” 2 and 3, it’s necessary to re-visit the original and explore some of the reasons that made the film among the most riveting of 2019.

Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” is so densely packed with fascinating little breadcrumbs, details, and Easter eggs that Metaflix could probably spend the next decade of Movie Detail Monday posts focusing on just this flick alone. I personally watched it a total of three times at the theater. Each time I discovered new permutations in how the complex plot unfolds and new clues subtly indicating who the real killer is. However, it seems as though watching the movie three times isn’t even enough to pick up on everything, as the following bit of trivia eluded me.

Audiences will recall in the initial family “interrogation” sequence that Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis) mentions that she and her father have a “special way of communicating” and that in order to establish that bond they needed to turn it into a sort of game. They do this by writing letters to one another using invisible ink.

The invisible ink only becomes apparent when exposed to heat. Linda typically uses a flame as the heat source. As a result, when Linda holds up old letters, you can see burn marks on the paper.

Even better, remember when Richard (Don Johnson), Linda’s husband retrieves the letter that purportedly outs his infidelity? It appears to be blank and Richard is overwhelmed with both surprise and relief. However, it’s not blank, of course, but written in invisible ink, which Linda then reveals using a lighter as part of the incredible denouement of the movie.

The last shot of Richard shows him sporting a black eye, presumably courtesy of Linda.