Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, 2022
Directed by Rian Johnson
Starring Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista.
You’re invited to put the pieces together. In the follow-up to Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, Detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece to peel back the layers of a mystery involving a new cast of colorful suspects.
After his inventive and fun whodunit for 2019’s Knives Out, director Rian Johnson is back at it as Daniel Craig returns as gentleman detective Benoit Blanc in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. The anticipated sequel is just as fun and compelling as Johnson’s first film with an equally entertaining cast, pulling audiences into a captivating mystery on a remote Greek island that is beautifully shot and paced with Johnson’s witty dialogue and genuine twists.
Taking place in the early part of 2020’s global lockdown, Blanc is invited to the private island of an eccentric billionaire and his group of eclectic friends to take part in a murder mystery party. It soon becomes evident, though, that there is more going on within this group and the party takes a very serious turn.
Craig once again shines as Blanc throughout the story, further showcasing Blanc’s deductive reasoning, intelligence, charm and penchant for colurful metaphors and life lessons. He even gets a bit more to do than the previous film as Blanc plays a much more central role to the story with Craig exploring more sides to Blanc, conveying a deeper emotional range. He has great chemistry with everyone in the cast and one of the appeals of Glass Onion is seeing how Blanc’s own eccentric personality can clash with the other characters.
The whole ensemble delivers great performances, from Edward Norton’s strange billionaire, Dave Bautista’s overbearing YouTuber to Kate Hudson’s vapid pop star and fashionista. Kathryn Hahn and Leslie Odom Jr. play their characters straight, clearly the more put together members of this group, while Janelle Monáe does well giving off a cold and bitter attitude through both her performance and mere presence onscreen. Jessica Henwick also plays things straight as Hudson’s exasperated assistant while Madelyn Cline seems to be more a trophy girlfriend at first, but gets to explore more with her character as the film goes on.
The film’s pacing moves incredibly well. Clocking in at nearly 2 1/2 hours, there’s never a dull moment as the characters and their relationships are thoughtfully built up with nice slices of tension until everything boils over. Johnson’s narrative is slightly more traditional than Knives Out was, yet he still finds plenty of room to bend the mystery genre to deliver a fresh story that also tests Blanc in new ways. His script is also full of fast and witty comedy with many of the jokes hitting their mark.
Much like Knives Out, it’s not a full out laugh fest, but the comedy is derived from the characters quirks and interactions with each other in well thought out ways that are made even better by the cast. Johnson, never one to shy away from defying genre conventions, also includes some humourous meta commentary that could just as easily be applied to his own career, a fact made ironic by the character its coming from.
The visuals for Glass Onion are gorgeous as Johnson, cinematographer Steve Yedlin and their team took full advantage of the Greek island’s beautiful location as well as the elaborate sets to create images that pop off the screen with its vibrant colours. It’s a stark departure from Knives Out‘s moody and near gothic atmosphere, yet retains not only Jonhson’s style but Blanc’s too as he’s thrust into the world of billionaires and power players.
The film’s editing, especially when the games kick off, builds the tension well and make sure you’re always paying attention to the screen, watching the characters for anything slightly suspicious they do. The costuming for each character is unique, fitting in with and saying something about their own personality while still being flashy for the screen. Everything about the film screams its been developed and executed with a sense of purpose to the story’s benefit.
Rian Johnson succeeds in making Glass Onion a worthy follow up to Knives Out and delivers an entertaining, character driven, funny and captivating mystery. Craig’s return as Benoit Blanc is excellent and he leads a great ensemble that is smartly written, designed and shot. While the film is due for release on Netflix in the last days of December, Glass Onion will be greatly enjoyed even more so and make you appreciate the visuals on the big screen.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.