DNA cinephile🏳️🌈’s review published on Letterboxd:
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. 2022. Directed by Rian Johnson.
Empowered Females (Who are not privileged) Assist Detective in Solving Mysteries.
Great whodunnits are difficult to make but Rian Johnson makes it look easy. The original screenplay deserves award nominations due to its meta complexity and non-linear narrative. In this review I cannot talk about plot details but, I can highlight the aspects of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) that make it a brilliant whodunnit. Before one goes into Glass Onion, one should be familiar with The Last of Sheila (1973) and Evil Under the Sun (1982). However, these are merely reference points on a map that inspired Johnson. Glass Onion is so much more. Daniel Craig (Benoit Blanc) maintains his southern accent and his charisma that charmed us in Knives Out. Furthermore, he is having a blast with this role which makes it so watchable.
Films such as Glass Onion and directors that are true auteurs are somewhat rare and make a niche for themselves. Johnson is clearly passionate about mysteries, whodunnits, thrillers, and comedies and has made a new iteration that will stand the test of time and warrant several rewatches due to the incredible set design, costume selection, location, and phenomenal a-list ensemble cast. Rian’s ability to capture contemporary culture, socioeconomics, politics, and blend it into a whodunnit deserves serious viewing merit.
Glass Onion’s sets are full of art just like Knives Out and Sleuth (1972). For example, Miles Bron’s mansion has paintings by Picasso, Monet, Mondrian, Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, Basquiat and The Mona Lisa (which acts as a lie detector in the narrative). Miles Bron is like a mixture of Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, & Jeff Bezos with very few synaptic ideas of his own. He is a predator who steals his friends best ideas and puts them in impossible situations. The art mixed with fast paced dialogue, dynamic A-list actors/secondary familiar actors, and a complex plot come together seamlessly like the Glass Onion invitation itself. Each guest that is to attend Miles Bron’s (Edward Norton) special murder mystery event received a complex puzzle. While one is trying to focus on the narrative, the high tech on location sets, and art can be distracting. Very little CGI is used in post production. Every detail is pertinent to the story. From lighters, paintings, envelopes, sculptures, flashbacks, and jokes, it is all important information with regard to the solution. There isn’t one single frame that is wasted on superfluous filler.
The cameos by Angela Lansbury, Yo-Yo Ma, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Stephen Sondheim, Hugh Grant, and Ethan Hawk add to the great taste of the film and round out the star studded cast. Sondeim also co-wrote The Last of Sheila which served as framework/setup for Glass Onion. Angela Lansbury is legendary for working with Agatha Christie and doing Murder She Wrote which served as tremendous inspiration on Johnson from childhood up to his creation of the Knives Out Trilogy. Glass Onion will entertain one on the same level as Knives Out but we still love Knives Out a bit more. This is mostly nostalgia creeping in as we embrace the new ride of the Glass Onion as new layers are peeled away revealing new talent and plot spokes that form a cohesive wheel that we can revisit many times before all of the details have been absorbed. Upon future views, we may give the half star deduction back to Glass Onion but, for now after our first “full-house” theater viewing we are giving Glass Onion 4.5 stars and a heart.
Janelle Monae, Madelyn Cline, and Kate Hudson gave outstanding provocative, intelligent, comedic, and compelling performances and Monae may get some nominations (🤞). In summary, this is a laugh out loud whodunit that will not fail to entertain. Our theater was full of laughter eruptions that were infectious and rare. We recommend seeing this in the theater due to the large scale of production that Rian Johnson works on. But, note this will only last one week in theaters due to Netflix’s twisted take on a theater run. Then, 23 days later, it will show on Netflix. However, it will be informative to rewatch Glass Onion on Netflix to look for minutiae (e.g. art, sets, and wardrobe) that Johnson uses for intertextuality to move the narrative. In Glass Onion, Johnson utilized a great deal of paintings just as Pedro Almodovar (Broken Embraces, The Skin I live In, and Pain and Glory) to propel his singular style and take on his upgraded whodunnit film with panache. Wow! This was so satisfying.
In short, this was a true blast and feast for the senses in the theater! 💫🦋💃🏼🤣🤩😻
Knives Out = Radiohead Song
Glass Onion = Beatles Song