Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery - Review


With the release of Knives Out back in 2019, director Rian Johnson took a very straightforward genre in murder mysteries and flipped every convention on its head. We knew the events of the death and the person responsible, and yet, Johnson had us rooting for the character through all the twists and turns. Of course that wasn’t all the film had in store, and its shocking revelations and detailed reveals made the film stand out, and audiences get even more of it with the follow up, Glass Onion.

A multi-billionaire tech genius Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites his closest friends to his private island to participate in his elaborate murder mystery party. However, when things begin to go awry, and the famous Benoit Blanc mysteriously turns up as a guest, the mystery truly unravels in ways that no one expects. 

Rian Johnson has seemingly pulled off the impossible. There is no shine lost from the wildly successful, and riveting, Knives Out. The follow-up is just as brilliant, just as fun, and perhaps slightly more clever. A true rarity with sequels these days.

Just as the first film did, Glass Onion doesn’t hesitate to keep the audience guessing, relying on the audience’s intelligence instead of spoon-feeding the easy stuff to them at each turn. The story is another ideal mystery set-up, isolating the culprits and victims to a remote island, with the mysterious invitation to one Benoit Blanc. While the first was quite literally set in a Clue board, the sequel might as well be the beach vacation version you see randomly on the shelf. 

In tandem with the stellar screenplay, the ensemble cast is another winner. Johnson does a magnificent job of pairing characters to actors in the most pitch perfect way. Norton as the egotistical “genius”, Kate Hudson as the model turned party girl, and Dave Bautista as the mens rights strongman are all perfect picks. 

But the true standouts are Janelle Monáe and the returning Daniel Craig. With Craig, you get even more of the lovable detective first one, but perhaps proving himself to be a bit more capable this time at figuring it all out. Craig has settled into this performance already, and could do these until the end of time, and audience still probably wouldn’t have enough. On the other side is Janelle Monáe as Andi Brand, the scorned former partner of Bron, who unexpectedly accepts an invite to join her old friends for this getaway. They do a brilliant job at nailing the mentality and attitude of someone who has been perfectly screwed out of something that was rightfully theirs, and even throws in some unexpected moves to go along with it. There is a reason Monáe is mentioned the most for some sort of acting recognition, its because they deserve it. 

In the end, the less said about the film’s plot, the better. It’s a perfect puzzle box, immaculately constructed, intricately designed and a joyously good time to be had. Johnson and crew have once again taken the well-established tropes of the murder-mystery, flipped them, and subsequently evolved the genre for the better. It’s a bigger, more extravagant version of the original, and yet, it’s still just as exhilarating.

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