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At the end of Knives Out, Ransom tries to stab Marta with a fake (prop) knife, but it collapses into the handle, saving her life, but it makes no sense why there would be a fake knife on display in the first place.

Many of the knives around the house are real, as demonstrated by Harlan earlier in the film, where he foreshadows the ending by explaining that Ransom is “Confident, stupid and protected, playing life like a game without consequence until you can’t tell the difference between a stage prop and a real knife,” then demonstrating that the knife is, in fact, real by stabbing it into the table. This explains why Ransom chose the wrong weapon but it doesn't explain why there is a fake weapon up there in the first place.

Harlan is clearly an avid collector of bladed weapons, just look at the display rack where he has all manner of axes, swords and knives. The knife Ransom chooses to stab Marta with is one of the only knives that could be a prop as its blade is smaller than the grip. Given the choice between larger knives, axes and other deadly weaponry, Ransom picked the worst option out of over a hundred. All of this just seems implausible to me.

Why would there be a fake knife displayed amongst the deadly weapons and why would Ransom pick one of the only fake weapons out of hundreds?

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    Why do you assume that a knife is fake just because the blade is smaller than the handle? I have a very real knife in my kitchen where the blade is about half as long as the handle. In fact, the large majority of folding knives, multi-tools, butterfly knives, and switch blades have blades smaller than their handles so that the blade can be safely stored in the handle. I haven't seen the movie or the scene, so IDK if there are other reasons why that knife could be fake. Nov 7, 2022 at 21:50
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    @computercarguy The blade collapses into the handle in the crucial scene. That's why OP calls it "fake." A knife where the blade was larger than the handle couldn't do that. Nov 7, 2022 at 22:23
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    @AzorAhai-him-, sure it could, but it doesn't guarantee that it does. I've seen fake knifes with blades larger than their handle still collapse into their handle. I've also seen rubber and plastic knives that look real from more than 5 ft away. I'm saying the OP's constraint's on what constitutes a fake knife are not consistent with reality. Nov 7, 2022 at 22:30
  • @computercarguy I'm not a fake knife expert. You just said you hadn't seen the movie, so I imagine that's their thought process. Nov 7, 2022 at 22:33
  • @computercarguy OP did not make the assumption that a knife is fake because the blade is smaller than the handle. OP is making the assumption that most of the other knives are real because their blades are larger than the handle. (However, that assumption also is not necessarily true.)
    – jamesdlin
    May 16, 2023 at 14:57

1 Answer 1

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Because this choice is a follow-up to something said much earlier in the movie:

Harlan Thrombey loves his family, but he also isn't blind to their flaws and faults. Actually, he seems to blame himself for letting them get away with so much for so long. The family member he seems to be the most disappointed in is Ransom, though his feelings toward his grandson are complicated. "There's so much of me in that kid," he says to Marta at one point. "Playing life like a game without consequence, until you can't tell the difference between a stage prop and a real knife." Viewers who keep that eloquent line in mind might not be so worried when Ransom attacks Marta during the climax of the film.


As for why a prop knife would be on the wheel: why not? It has all kinds of knifes, and perhaps there are other prop items as well.

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    Do we have any reason to think all the knives in the display are not fake? Lots of people might think it safer to display fake weapons rather than real weapons. Nov 7, 2022 at 21:19
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    It makes sense as an emotional beat, but I'd have to say the original questioner has a good point that it wasn't particularly foreshadowed in the plot. There are hints that the house is full of props, but nothing in particular to suggest that some or all of the weapons in the display are fake. Nov 7, 2022 at 22:18
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    This answers the first part of the question but only very weakly answers the second. Even if there are "other" prop items, it seems that statistically it would still be likely he would pick a real nice unless most of them are props.
    – Michael
    Nov 7, 2022 at 23:29
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    Michael and Jeffronicus are right. I can see the connection between Harlan's foreshadowing and Ransom picking a prop knife. What I can't see is why there is a prop knife on the rack at all and why Ransom would pick one of the only fake knives out of over a hundred. I refuse to believe Harlan planned Ransom to pick the only fake knife out all of them, he didn't seem like the type of person to leave something so important to chance, it would go against the conventions of the entire mystery genre too. Nov 8, 2022 at 2:40
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    I also don't understand why it's so hard to believe that a piece of decoration might include fake knives
    – T Hummus
    Nov 8, 2022 at 3:29

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