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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery


‘…Glass Onion offers the same blend of glam, hip comedy and tight, detailed detection that made the first film work so well…’

Films have rolled out like potatoes since Knives Out was a surprise hit just before the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. The cinema release schedules were scrambled in a way that streamer Netflix couldn’t have imagined in their most disruptive dreams, giving them the kind of financial muscle required to hive the further adventures of detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) away from the big screens. Netflix demonstrated further clout by negotiating a week’s screenings in cinemas well within the usual 45 day window required for leading cinema chains; Rian Johnson’s whodunit now drops on Dec 23rd in most territories.

Glass Onion offers the same blend of glam, hip comedy and tight, detailed detection that made the first film work so well. Billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites a group of old friends or ‘disruptors’ to his remote island retreat; he sends each guest a puzzle box containing an invite, one of which arrives at the door of Blanc. The gentleman sleuth travels to Greece and joins the party, where Bron promises his guests a ‘murder mystery’ game, which Benoit amusingly solves instantly; this isn’t his first rodeo, murder or mystery. But as it turns out, the game has actually being going on for some time already; as with Knives Out, Johnson upends clichés and allows for elegant, ingenious reversals of fortune.

Janelle Monáe really is the stand-out here as an uberglam guest who can’t really be described, although it’s always a pleasure to see a feature based around a central comic performance, and Craig relishes the opportunity to give Blanc as many layers as the Glass Onion of the title. Kathryn Hahn and Kate Hudson seem to enjoy their catfights and there’s well-timed cameos from several big stars including Hugh Grant as Benoit’s domestic partner. With impressive sets and locations, Glass Onion has some high-tech additions that verge on sci-fi, but the messaging on billionaires is familiar enough; they’re awful.

The rise of the big and small screen detective of late can partly be attributed to Knives Out, but also to the promise of a closed, rich, busy, satisfying narrative, and some top tier entertainment along the way. In an era of extended franchises and bubble-gum worlds where nothing ever really happens and no-one ever dies, whodunnits and intense thrillers feel like a genuine way forward in terms of future cinematic content. If Glass Onion isn’t quite as fresh as the first film, it’s still got wit and style to boot, and that means that large audiences should enjoy watching the detectives over the 2022 festive period, even if this big-screen movie will be most widely viewed on household tvs by slumbering, inebriated, distracted viewers.


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  1. I think it plays the Eat the Rich card better than Triangle of Sadness, but the ensemble isn’t as remarkable as Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Don Johnson of the original. But, something has to be said for Director Rian Johnson’s pristine attention to re-evaluated detail when making a murder mystery/comedy hybrid. (Kenneth Branagh should take some lessons.)

    Overall, a more elaborate, extravagant, and expensive version of the first one. Even for sequel standards, the red herring is a bit too preposterous.

    • Absolutely, the cast may be the only downgrade, but better to use a less established cast well that to stuff it with irrelevant turns. It’s the trick Branagh and many others have failed it; each part of the puzzle box works, so it’s a rare pleasure to see it all coming together.

  2. Superb review and I’m glad you enjoyed it. In some ways richer than its predecessor since it played with the genre and audience expecation. All the effort that went into big billionaire’s great puzzle demolished in seconds – that was a true coup de theatre (or cinema equivalent). For some reason bulti-billiionaires (not a spelling error, you have just witnessed the invention of a new word) come complete with cartoon personas. And I ljust oved the way the director was confident enough to constantly toy with the audience and come up with another brilliant whodunit.

    • Yup, Johnson manages the same trick he did the first time; nothing is what it seems and there’s multiple layers to peel back. And murders have taken place before the narrative starts, so we’re on the backfoot to figure this out; we can’t solve a mystery unti we know what the mystery is…

  3. I enjoyed the film, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in seeing it. I do think however it is even more “over-the-top” than the original in that the host of the proceedings here is truly wealthiest-person-on-the-planet rich. The main character was cartoon-rich in my mind, and I couldn’t take the character seriously. Still, a good watch.

    • Agree on all counts. Grateful to have a smartly written, witty and well stuffed movie. But there’s elements that feel smug, not least getting a civics lesson from Netflix. I get why Craig loves playing Blanc, but it’s a little OTT even for such a ripe genre. Still, just a few carps, it’s enjoyable enough.

  4. I think I’m in a minority for thinking that the original wasn’t as sharp as it thought it was, so if this is “quite as fresh” I’ll adjust my expectations accordingly.

    • The first one was a surprising throwback, this is a second, slightly less surprising throwback. Still better than most of the rest.

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