‘Knox Goes Away’ Trailer: Michael Keaton Directs & Stars In A Crime Noir About Dementia- Afflicted Hitman

The hitman has proven a consistent source of inspiration for movies, from 1942’s “This Gun For Hire” to 1967’s “Le Samourai” to the recent “Hitman.” With so many movies centered around a hitman, it’s hard not to feel derivative. One of the ways that filmmakers make their take on the hitman feels fresh and unique is to give the contract killer a quirk, an easily distinguishable characteristic. Some examples include Alain Delon’s love of birds in “Le Samourai,” Michael Fassbender’s The Smith’s playlist in “The Killer,” or Tom Cruise’s use of taxis in his murder method in “Collateral.” “Knox Goes Away,” directed by and starring Michael Keaton (“Batman” “Birdman”), tells the story of John Knox, a hitman dealing with a degenerative brain disorder, Cretuszfeldt-Jakob Disease, similar to Alzheimer’s. 

READ MORE: ‘Knox Goes Away’ Review: Michael Keaton Directs Himself In A Slickly Somber Neo-Noir [TIFF]

While a devastating diagnosis for anyone, it’s particularly tricky for someone whose profession relies on mystery and precision. It also forces someone who kills for a living to confront his own mortality. Aided by the help of a friend (Al Pacino), Knox seeks to put his affairs in order and reunite with a son (James Marsden) he hasn’t seen in over a decade. The Playlist’s Charles Bramesco praised Michael Keaton’s performance of the effects of Cretuszfeldt-Jakob Disease and referred to Keaton’s direction as “slick” and a “mellow low-burn.” 

Here’s the official synopsis: 

Academy Award nominee Michael Keaton directs and stars in this unpredictable thriller as John Knox, a hitman attempting to make amends before his recently discovered dementia takes over. Aided by a trusted friend (Academy Award® winner Al Pacino) with his own shady past, Knox races against the police — and his own rapidly deteriorating mind — to save his estranged son (James Marsden) from a vengeance-fueled mistake and “cash out” before it’s too late. Also starring Oscar® winners Ray McKinnon and Marcia Gay Harden.

After a world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival, “Knox Goes Away” will be released in theaters on March 15 via Saban Films.