REVIEW: I’ll Take 10 More Knives Out Mysteries After ‘Glass Onion’

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Glass Onion - But Why Tho

This year has been filled with whodunits. Some have been phenomenal and others have floundered, but the uptick in the genre can rest square on the shoulders of 2019’s Knives Out’s success. It wasn’t the first time that Rian Johnson had weaved a clever mystery, but the audience it hit was vast. While there wasn’t a week member in the cast, Daniel Craig‘s Benoit Blanc was a hit. His Kentucky Fried accent that isn’t from anywhere in the South and is yet so charming in unraveling mysteries and dismantling rich people’s self-esteem made me want more, and we finally it: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. 

A Netflix Original film Glass Onion is directed and written by Rian Johnson and serves as a follow-up to his instant classic. Again on being connected to the insanely rich and the chaotically powerful and is stacked with yet another powerhouse cast, the film stars Craig alongside Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, and Dave Bautista. To keep it simple, Benoit Blanc is summoned on a new adventure when he’s invited to a private estate on a remote Greek island.

While his inclusion at the event is a mystery in and of itself, Blanc soon meets a distinctly disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron (Norton)—think Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg in one—for their yearly reunion. The guest includes Miles’ former business partner Andi (Monáe), current Connecticut governor Claire (Hahn), cutting-edge scientist Lionel (Odom Jr.), fashion designer and former model Birdie (Hudson) and her conscientious assistant Peg (Henwick), and alpha-male influencer Duke (Bautista) and his sidekick girlfriend Whiskey(Cline). None of them seem like they would be in the same room at a given time, let alone be friends, secrets flow between them all with their own motivations to murder someone while on this lavish vacation. But when someone turns up dead, suspicions rise and Blanc finds himself embroiled in a weird layered onion of a mystery.

Like Knives Out before it, Glass Onion is better left unspoiled. What I can say though, is that Johnson sharply and relentlessly skewers influencer, celebrity, and tech industry culture. And he does this by connecting it to other ways of life that you would hope remain untouched. Filled with humor that hits the nail on the head and even more that will make you nod in “oh, I see,” the take on billionaire stupidity is kind of cathartic. While it doesn’t hit the catharsis of past class-driven thriller-comedies this year like The Menu or Triangle of Sadness, it adds to the rich folks pile-on this year offered and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

This is due in large part to the fact that there is not a single likable character of the friend group. In an Archer-esque exploration of dumb people doing bad things, bad people doing dumb things, and a whole lot of narcissistic lying, your frustration matches Blanc’s by the end of the film. The beauty here is that Johnson manages to pull off frustration with the characters while also giving you a narrative path to celebrate, even if it if the mystery gets in its own way.

My only issue with Glass Onion is that somewhere right before the last act Johnson loses faith in his audience to unravel the mystery with him and Blanc. While the reveal of a twist can take some exposition, the turn of the tide in Glass Onion takes so much unpacking that the story loses all momentum that led up to that moment. It’s baffling. Johnson has trusted his audience in the past to pick up the pieces, but here, he doesn’t. The spoon-fed approach and lack of using the same footage in the reveals feels less like the smart whodunnit filmmaking he’s so known for and instead, is patronizing.

Even with this substantial critique, the truth is, I will take 10 more Knives Out Mysteries with Benoit Blanc at the center. Why? Well, because when Johnson is creatively let loose to construct a winding maze of morality and mystery along class, it’s a good time. And that’s what Glass Onion is, a good time. While it doesn’t hit the bar that its predecessor set, it’s a joy to see a mystery propelled by a fantastic cast with limitless chemistry between them.

Glass Onion is playing now in theaters and will be available exclusively on Netflix on December 23, 2022.


Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

Even with this substantial critique, the truth is, I will take 10 more Knives Out Mysteries with Benoit Blanc at the center. Why? Well, because when Johnson is creatively let loose to construct a winding maze of morality and mystery along class, it’s a good time. And that’s what Glass Onion is, a good time. While it doesn’t hit the bar that its predecessor set, it’s a joy to see a mystery propelled by a fantastic cast with limitless chemistry between them.

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