Investigator Benoit Blanc is back for another case!
When a wealthy tech entrepreneur sets up a secret retreat for himself and his closest associates, famous crime investigator Benoit Blanc is also mysteriously invited. But when the host’s own “whodunnit” party game becomes reality, the suspicions begin to fly.
Director Rian Johnson really hit his stride with the original Knives Out in 2019, and delightfully this sequel is only connected with the reprised role of Blanc played by Daniel Craig. Indeed, the extremely clunky title “A Knives Out Mystery” is utterly stupid, designed solely for people who cannot comprehend an anthology style series of events… People who probably shouldn’t be watching it to begin with (and it would seem director Rian Johnson isn’t a fan of the subtitle either!)
No, this is a positively delightful change of pace; a Columbo-style murder mystery series where our leading man is confronted by a slew of new faces and agendas.
This time, we have a fast-talking Edward Norton inviting a host of unlikeable people to a remote pleasure resort he had privately made. Faces include Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Dave Bautista, and Janelle Monáe. These people are certainly as unpleasant as those met in the first film, although they all appear to be experts in their fields; tech gurus, fashion icons, Twitch streamers, politicians. The bases are firmly loaded for some brewing intensity.
The first film had its share of goofiness, but this regularly stemmed from Blanc himself, with Craig chewing the scenery with wanton abandon. He certainly still does that here, with bells on! It is clear Daniel Craig is having a riot with this character. But the other characters as well, Glass Onion is far more heavily skewed into caricature-style personalities.
This might be due to the film not starting immediately with the murder and continuing with the mystery; it starts with establishing characters first.
Shaking up the structure is no bad thing, and this film’s strongest point is the first half. All the performances are wonderfully mad, colourful, and just a little bit unsettling. There isn’t a single one that doesn’t fit, and the swirling miasma of potential murderers or victims is palpable; with hints, red flags, and references thrown around.
It is a little sad then that the film doesn’t quite nail the landing. Glass Onion does not have its predecessor’s smarts when it comes to writing a story of intrigue. In fact the villain isn’t very surprising, and there isn’t really any complexity for Blanc to solve. It just sort of… resolves itself.
But then, it is called Glass Onion. Perhaps the clue is in the name.
It did seem like Blanc had less to do here than in the first film, where he was actively solving the case throughout. However the film is no less entertaining! Especially Craig, who has a wonderful time mugging to camera and saying ridiculous yet poignant things.
More instalments of stories for Benoit Blanc would be wonderful to see. Without going into spoiling the story or the plot, Glass Onion is a great time all around.
Additional Marshmallows: Glass Onion was first released in cinemas, but was then quickly released on Netflix in December 2022.