Glass Onion

Glass Onion ★★★½

Knives Out was in the vanguard of the whodunnit revival that has only grown since 2017. It was a buzzy smash hit, and Netflix paid an eye-watering $465 million dollars for the rights to two sequels. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is the first of these, hyped up for a Christmas streaming release. It's going to do stellar business. 

2022 has had a striking trend of mocking contemptible rich people, on TV in The White Lotus or in films like The Menu or Triangle of Sadness. In Glass Onion, we meet another glossy all-star cast of self-serving 'disruptors' who each receive intricate brainteaser boxes with invitations from their friend, tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton). US Governor Claire (Kathryn Hahn), scientist Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr.), vapid fashionista Birdie (Kate Hudson), and men's rights vlogger Duke (Dave Bautista) all answer the summons and head to Miles' private Greek island, a marvel of hi-tech vanity topped with a giant glass onion, for a murder mystery weekend. Embittered ex-business partner Andi (Janelle Monáe) is also unexpectedly onboard for the trip, apparently to spit venom at her former friends for backing Miles when he cut her out of the company they founded. Birdie's assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick) and Duke's girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline) are there to gaze in bemusement at these monsters, and everyone feels nicely fleshed out. All of the characters are in hock to Miles in some way, and Norton is wonderfully domineering as the preening, self-important billionaire. 

Most importantly, writer-director Rian Johnson (Looper, The Last Jedi) and star Daniel Craig are back. The playful panache that these two bring is the greatest asset of these films, as Miles' murder mystery takes its inevitable dark turn. Craig's turn as softly-spoken Southern private eye Benoit Blanc has been his breakout role as he moves on from James Bond, and his performance is as lively as ever. Watching him stroll nonchalantly through a swimming pool, fully clothed, or grow increasingly exasperated at the spineless avarice of the party is always a pleasure. The mystery is satisfying, and unpredictable, with flashbacks and twists reinterpreting the assumed facts again and again. The climax felt like it went on a bit, and there isn't much that is new about Glass Onion. It is nonetheless a beautifully engineered puzzle box, and I marginally preferred it to the original. 

Block or Report

Alex liked these reviews