Sep 10, 2023
‘Knox Goes Away’ Review: Michael Keaton Directs Himself Into One Of His Most Memorable Performances As A Contract Killer With Dementia – Toronto Film Festival
Michael Keaton, after making his directorial debut with 2008’s The Merry Gentleman, steps behind the camera again with his latest film Knox Goes Away, in which he also delivers one of his finest and most poignant performances as a man facing a rare form of fast-moving dementia, but who is racing the clock to save his estranged son’s life before it is too late.
World premiering tonight at the Toronto Film Festival, Keaton directs an exceptionally fine cast in a terrific noirish drama in which he plays John Knox, a professional contract killer who finds his skills diminishing rapidly — including a hit job gone wrong in which his momentary confusion leads him to accidentally shooting and killing his partner Thomas Muncie (an excellent Ray McKinnon) and leaving behind three dead people and a bloody crime scene he tries to clean up. A medical diagnosis of a rare condition that causes a form of fast-moving dementia leads the doctor (Paul Perri) to suggest he get his affairs in order for a life that could be ending in a matter of weeks, not months.
A family crisis rears its head though when his estranged son Miles Knox (James Marsden in a highly dramatic turn) kills a man in a fit of rage after confronting him about a suspected rape of his 16-year-old daughter. Panicking, he turns to his father for help, and even with his ever-fading faculties John Knox goes into action telling his son precisely what to say to authorities, as well as taking care of each detail in creating a scenario where his son could not be successfully connected to the murder. To do this, Knox also enlists the help of an old pro and friend, Xavier Crane (Al Pacino), who carefully advises him on every aspect of what must be specifically done.