Rian Johnson said if I spoil the film in a movie review he would hire someone to break my kneecaps. Either that or he would be severely disappointed in me. I can’t really remember which…
By Sean Blanford
Around this exact date three years ago, I sat at the Princess of Wales theater at the Toronto International Film Festival to see Rian Johnson’s latest film at the time entitled Knives Out. The story of a private detective with a distinctive southern drawl trying to piece together the clues to figure out who murdered the head of a wealthy family was one of the biggest word-of-mouth successes of a crowded 2019 film slate. With 311 million dollars at the worldwide box office and the clamoring for more Benoit Blanc much in the same way people wanted more Hercule Poirot after Murder on the Orient Express, we now have Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. It’s extremely difficult to have a sequel live up to the lofty expectations of a successful first film, and while Knives Out had this aura of shock a surprise behind it, Glass Onion does enough to differentiate itself from its predecessor to be a worthy entry in this potential franchise.
Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) has another mystery to solve, this time it’s in the form of an invitation to a party thrown by business mogul Miles Bron (Edward Norton) off the coast of Greece. Also at the party are other friends and business associates of Bron’s, including a a style influencer (Kate Hudson) and her assistant (Jessica Henwick), a renowned scientist (Leslie Odom, Jr.), an atypical politician (Kathryn Hahn), a firebrand digital streamer (Dave Bautista) and his girlfriend (Madelyn Cline), as well as Bron’s former business partner (Janelle Monet). Will Blanc and this merry crew be able to put together the clues to solve this murder mystery?
That’s about all the plot I want to go into, because much like the first Knives Out film, the less you know going into it the better. Craig reprising the Blanc role gives the character a bit of depth that he may have lacked in the first film as to the why’s behind what drives him to need to solve a mystery. The accent is still there, still as close to Foghorn Leghorn as it can be without a cease and desist order, but comes off as less cartoonish than it was beforehand. The supporting cast all played their roles nicely, with one of the characters filling into the Ana de Armas role of “Blanc sidekick” without it being a carbon copy.
The major difference in the two films is where the first film was more police investigative and had the dynamic of the majority of the secondary cast being one family unit, Glass Onion focuses more on Blanc and his gifts. While that doesn’t offer the opportunity to have hilarious secondary characters like LaKeith Stanfield’s Lieutenant Elliot, all of the main cast of Glass Onion more than pulls their weight to make this film just as humorous.
Overall, with a crisp, biting screenplay written by Johnson as well the performances of the entire cast (including many cameo appearances that are all laugh-out-loud moments), Glass Onion gives fans of the first film more of what they loved about it while also telling a different type of story. This film is an absolute crowd-pleaser, so here’s hoping that it will have a theatrical run alongside it’s Netflix premiere. There would be a lot of money left on the table if they chose not to.
Grade: 4.25/5 (A-)
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery debuted at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival on September 10th, and will premiere on Netflix on December 23rd.