Review of 'Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery'

glass_onion_knives_out.jpg I have to say I was not a fan of the original Knives Out which seemed a bit awkward and disjointed. In this second film things are far more polished though Daniel Craig still has that awful American accent…

Five long-time friends receive a cryptic puzzle containing an invite to the island home of billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton), co-founder of tech company “Alpha”. “Alpha” head scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), strong-willed Connecticut governor Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), controversial fashion designer Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), men's rights streamer the macho Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), “Alpha” cofounder and ousted ex-CEO Cassandra “Andi” Brand (Janelle Monáe). Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) also receives an invitation to attend but Bron is concerned as he did not send an invite to Blanc…Also present on the island are Birdie's assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick), Duke's girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline) and Bron's friend Derol (Noah Segan) who briefly pops up throughout the film. Bron reveals that his fabulous “Glass Onion” mansion is powered by “Klear”, an experimental fuel that Toussaint and Claire have warned is unstable. Over diner Bron further divulges why his friends have been invited to the island: To solve a contrived murder mystery. In short order Blanc solves the mystery but after dinner Duke collapses and dies while having drinks. The lights go out and a few minutes later Andi is shot while talking to Blanc. As the film continues we travel back in time to reveal more and more details about what exactly is going on…will the killer be caught? Will the Mona Lisa survive intact?

This is a magnificently contrived mystery within a mystery within a mystery as suspicions are cast in all directions as we learn details from the multiple flashbacks. Nothing is quite as it seems in “Knives Out” and don't assume anything until the very end with surprises throughout. The tightly plot film shows a degree of polish that was lacking in the first film and it is so much better for it. The characters are still on the surface quite stereotypical but as time goes on they are more nuanced and not quite so obvious. Daniel Craig's accent, I'm sorry, still grates but the whole film simply looks and feels wonderful with a fast pace and great looking sets. A mystery that will keep you guessing to the final minutes as the final details fall into place…

A wonderful sequel, “Glass Onion” delivers a highly entertaining and devilishly complex murder mystery. Perhaps a bit overlong and it is tricky, as always, keeping track of everything going on though complexity is kept to a minimum giving us a bit more of a chance than in other films. It helps that certain elements are told over and over again as our focus shifts with new knowledge.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2023-02-26

Directed by: Rian Johnson

Studio: Netflix

Year: 2022

Length: 139 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Rian Johnson: