Knox Goes Away Ending, Explained: Why did Knox Frame Miles?

The Michael Keaton directorial action thriller film, ‘Knox Goes Away’ presents a story with a ticking time bomb looming in the background as the protagonists race to escape a dire predicament. John “Aristotle” Knox, a highly skilled contract killer, faces an uncertain future after a medical diagnosis of a brain disorder resulting in rapid dementia. However, as luck would have it, his son, Miles, who had grown estranged in his adulthood, shows up outside his door around the same time after committing a damning crime. With only a few weeks left before his memory goes away entirely, Knox must try to hold on to his slipping mind long enough to save his son’s future— and maybe even mend their broken relationship along the way.

The film employs a leisurely pace, ripe with meticulous preparation and build-up as Knox goes through the motions of cleaning after Miles’ tracks and preparing for his own inevitable memory loss. As such, the film’s climax arrives with several satisfying— if perplexing— conclusions, affirming the father-son duo’s fates. SPOILERS AHEAD!

Knox Goes Away Plot Synopsis

John Knox, a professional hitman with a job coming up, receives awful news at the doctor’s office, where he learns of his Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease diagnosis. The untreatable brain disorder has left him with rapid dementia, which will take hold in mere weeks. Since Knox, a divorcee and an estranged father, lives on his own, the diagnosis promises a bleak future. Nevertheless, putting the same out of his mind, Knox returns home to run a job with his old friend, Thomas Muncie.

However, one bad call leads Knox to murder a civilian alongside his target. Worse yet, a momentary lapse in memory paired with a trigger-happy moment ends with Knox shooting Muncie in the aftermath. Consequently, Knox flees the scene, staging it to look like a shootout gone wrong between the three victims. Yet, the man is aware that his fix-ups will hold only so long under scrutiny. Therefore, Knox begins preparing for his exit, liquidating his lucrative assets to be distributed to his friends and family in three ways.

The same night, an unlikely sight awaits by his front door- Miles, Knox’s son, who hasn’t spoken to him in years. Due to his condition, Knox even forgets Miles but quickly recovers, realizing his son— with bloodied hands— is in distress. Once inside the safety of Knox’s house, Miles shares the events that led to his abrupt arrival. Andrew Palmer— a 32-year-old man— got in contact with Miles’ 16-year-old daughter, Kaylee, online and groomed her. As a result, Andrew impregnated the young girl, compelling Miles to confront the other man.

Miles’ altercation with Andrew went even worse than imagined when the latter began disrespecting Kaylee to her father’s face. Thus, in the heat of the moment, Miles picked up a kitchen knife and brutally murdered Andrew. Even though Miles doesn’t regret his actions, the incident has left him shaken with no idea how to deal with the repercussions. As such, Miles asks for his father’s help. Knox, of course, agrees.

Still, Knox is aware that his disease will make an already impossible cover-up even more difficult. For the same reason, after drawing up a plan, the man reaches out to Xavier, another old friend, to help him stay on track through constant reminders. Consequently, Xavier becomes the only one— besides Knox— who remains privy to his diagnosis and plan.

Meanwhile, Detective Emily Ikari receives news of Palmer’s murder. The detective is already investigating the triple homicide involving Muncie, which has put Knox on her radar as the potential suspect, given his relation to the victim. Therefore, once she learns about Palmer’s connection to Kaylee Knox, it puts the Knox family under the spotlight, leading the parents to be brought into the station for questioning.

Furthermore, even though Knox constantly remained on the move, working around the crime scene— he never cleared the place out, allowing the cops to run a thorough investigation. As a result, Detective Ikari holds numerous clues, such as the missing kitchen knife, prints, and even several DNA samples. While the same would’ve been a call for concern to Miles, who hasn’t done anything to cover up his crime yet, he continues to have faith in his father and enters the station’s interrogation room.

Does Miles Get Arrested For Andrew Palmer’s Murder?

When Detective Ikari calls Miles and his family to the station, the man maintains his cool. Earlier, his frayed nerves got the better of him, leading Miles to attack an older man for looking at Kaylee. Consequently, he believes the same to be his reason for the precinct visit. Nevertheless, once Ikari brings up Andrew Palmer, Miles continues to be calm, staying on top of one’s expectations. He asserts he’s only too glad to hear Palmer is dead and admits to paying the man a visit, which may or may not have ended up in a thrown punch or two.

Considering the circumstances surrounding Palmer and Miles’ daughter, no one would expect anything different from the man. Miles knows his father has been going around town, most likely rectifying all the mistakes his son left behind on the crime scene. The man had been so frantic and amateurish in his murder of Palmer that he’d left the entire place splattered in blood— with even his own blood in the mix from splicing his palm open.

Although Miles would be worried sick over the situation otherwise, his blind faith in his father allows him to put up an unreactive facade. Before Miles and Knox’s relationship went sour, the former used to idolize his father, worshipping his every move. For the same reason, Miles felt betrayed after the IRS incident brought out the truth about Knox’s profession. Thus, after his parent’s divorce, Miles cut all ties with his father.

Even so, now that the duo has been reunited through Miles’ terrible circumstances, the man can’t help but fall back into old habits. As such, he had begun idolizing his father again— if in a different light— believing he would get him out of trouble. Therefore, the news hits that much harder when Ikari reveals that the police have found a ton of evidence around Miles and Palmer’s houses that ties the former to the latter’s murder. Despite Knox’s efforts— or perhaps as a result of them— Miles has been irrevocably condemned for Palmer’s murder, leading to his arrest.

Did Knox Frame His Son? What Happens To Him?

Following Miles’ arrest, a few suspicions arise about Knox within the narrative. The viewers very evidently follow Knox— however disorganized and forgetful in his thoughts and memories— work through the crime scene. However, scenes of Knox working on his son’s blood-soaked clothes, fingerprinted glasses, and Palmer’s body come under a different light once Ikari reveals the evidence she holds against Miles. Since Knox painstakingly worked over all these details, the only sensible conclusion remains that Knox purposefully ensured these pieces of evidence were within the police’s convenient reach.

Yet, the conclusion conflicts with everything else we learn about Knox throughout the film. While the man worked on tampering with the Palmer murder crime scene, he simultaneously also worked on fixing up his assets to leave a big chunk of it to his son, Miles. In fact, in one accidental but heartbreaking interaction between Knox and his ex-wife Ruby, the man asks the woman to ensure Miles accepts his inheritance in time. Likewise, Knox is also dedicated to the plan he brews, appointing Xavier to keep him on track.

For the same reasons, it seems unlikely that Knox would allow his son to be arrested for the crime. Yet, Miles is processed into prison all the same, arrested for Palmer’s murder. Peculiar still, after Knox visits his son in prison, the man pointedly accuses him of calling the IRS on him all those years ago, compelling him to withdraw his help in Miles’ time of need. Inversely, a distraught Miles insists he had nothing to do with the call. Nonetheless, as the story arrives at its end, things begin to fall into place.

The police department has processed and arrested Miles for Palmer’s murder on account of the various evidence they procured. Still, a new development halts the former’s conviction. Forensics discover that every piece of evidence incriminating Miles of Palmer’s murder holds traces of forgery— which is to say, once examined under scrutiny, the case falls apart with irrefutable signs that someone planted the evidence against Miles.

The final nail in the coffin arrives with the final leg of Knox’s plan— Xavier’s call to the police department. The way Palmer’s murder played out, it was nearly impossible to erase traces of Miles from the scene of the crime. From DNA evidence to CCTV footage of Miles’ arrival at the victim’s place, the police will have numerous ways to identify the man as the killer. Therefore, instead of trying to erase Miles from the crime scene, Knox attempted to make his presence seem orchestrated.

As such, Knox tampered with the crime scene, first fading Miles’ evidence and leaving new ones behind. By doing so, the evidence itself became suspicious since they held signs of meddling. For the same reason, Knox also fabricated the tale about Miles reporting him to the IRS to assign a motive that the police could use against the older man. In the end, Knox intentionally ensures the police catch Miles as the criminal so that it would seem like his father framed him for the crime.

Consequently, Xavier’s anonymous call— the last step of Knox’s plan— tipped the police off on Miles’ father. After arriving at the man’s place, officers found evidence, such as Miles’ blood and fingertips, that implied Knox killed Palmer and framed his own son. The man’s deteriorating memory and the three dead bodies in his house from an unrelated altercation further solidify the theory that Knox is the real culprit. The only reason Ikari believes they caught him slipping is due to his worsening condition.

As a result, the end finds Knox in prison, his condition having paved the way for dementia to settle in. Even so, Ikari attempts to get Knox to confess to the triple homicide, which the authorities have still not been able to pin on him. Yet, his condition has cemented the case’s unsolved disposition. On the other hand, Miles, who was estranged from his father for so long, begins visiting him in prison. Even though Knox fails to recognize Miles, he still talks about his son, showcasing the love he truly feels for the other man.

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