Writer-director Rian Johnson has done it again as he takes Detective Benoit Blanc on a new adventure in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
The one downside of this film being released by Netflix is that it’s theatrical release will probably be a brief one. That’s a shame. No matter how many times I’ve watched Knives Out since seeing it twice in theaters, watching at home just isn’t the same. You really need the audience experience on this one! I cannot stress this enough! This is the type of film that works best when you’re sharing the communal experience together with an audience. If and when Rian Johnson makes another installment, TIFF should just hold the 6 PM window on Saturday night because it’s an absolute blast.
As requested by Rian Johnson, you’ll be getting no spoilers from me. I’m not even sure if I can tell you that this is a film. Maybe it’s really just a limited TV series? I kid, I kid. In all seriousness, there’s still some wonderful magic to the whodunit formula as Johnson moves everyone’s favorite detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) into an entirely new situation. This time around, a private island in Greece with a new cast of characters. Because it is just what we need: another rich American white dude–billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton)–owning a private island in Greece. There will be a ton of laughter along the way as Blanc peels back the layers in Glass Onion.
Unlike the first movie, there’s a real question of how Blanc finds himself in this eclectic group of disruptors.
- Miles’ former business partner Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe)
- Connecticut governor Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn)
- Scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.)
- Fashion designer and former model Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson) and her assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick)
- Influencer Duke Cody (Dave Bautista) and sidekick girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline)
What exactly is Blanc doing there? In any event, he really needed a case because–well, you’ll just have to see for yourself. Like I said, when Rian Johnson requests no spoilers, I’m going to oblige. Someone turns up dead, which leads to wondering about motives for killing that person. Everybody is a suspect because they all have their own reasons but I’m not telling you anything that you didn’t already know. It’s a whodunit but the fun comes through the way that Johnson approaches the matter is why the film is so fun. There’s never a dull moment in this film because Johnson knows how to make this genre work. Even when he’s working with an entirely new cast, there’s never a dull moment here.
Sequels are tough. For Rian Johnson, it was never a question of asking how he could top Knives Out. It was more about doing it as well as he could. There’s so much pressure to get it right. Ask The Godfather Part II, The Empire Strikes Back, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Spiderman 2, X2: X-Men United, etc. Films will either live up to expectations or they’ll crash and burn because fans didn’t get what they want. When one doesn’t write the script in their head, they’ll get a better experience in watching.
This time around, Johnson adds even more satirical comedy with a focus on power and social dynamics. It’s a reflection on the world we’re living in right now. For a script written during the pandemic, Johnson writes a film that takes advantage of the outside as much as possible. There’s something meta about this being a Netflix original movie and characters being disruptors. But anyway, he takes the audience on a roller coaster and gives viewers new characters that are just as compelling and engaging as the original film.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery avoids sequel troubles because this film is an absolute blast. If they play their cards right, Netflix has a Best Picture contender on their hands.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Rian Johnson
CAST: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, with Kate Hudson and Dave Bautista
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery holds its world premiere during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival in the Special Presentations program. Netflix will release the film in select theaters on a TBD date and stream December 23, 2022. Grade: 5/5
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