It doesn’t reach the gleeful heights of the first ‘Knives Out’ mystery, and somewhat suffers from a regressive narrative structure that privileges explanations more than sleuthing, but it is still fun to see Daniel Craig being amused by it all.
Cast: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Dave Bautista, Janelle Monae, Kate Hudson
Plot: World-famous detective Benoit Blanc heads to Greece to peel back the layers of a mystery surrounding a tech billionaire and his eclectic crew of friends.
Awards: Official Selection (Toronto)
Subject Matter: Moderate – Case Solving; Hidden Motives
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Audience Type: Slightly Mainstream
A slight disappointment considering how good Knives Out (2019) was, but this sequel backed by Netflix still promises fun and intrigue if you are willing to accept that it is the lesser experience of the two.
Titled Glass Onion (cue Daniel Craig explaining more than once its symbolism) and set this time in sunny Greece, the film brings several high-profile characters (tech scientist, politician, social media influencer, etc.) as they congregate on the private island of a rich tech billionaire (played by Edward Norton) after receiving a personal invitation.
Craig reprises his delightful role as detective Benoit Blanc as he finds himself also invited to the party, unwittingly stumbling into a murder mystery. To say any more would spoil the fun of seeing it all unravel, though not always in an unexpected fashion.
“Nobody tried to kill you, you vainglorious buffoon!”
The main limitation of Glass Onion’s narrative is its regressive structure, one that privileges explanations more than sleuthing, though it is certainly by Rian Johnson’s design that its storytelling, like its title, resembles layers that need to be unpeeled to reach its rotten center.
Once certain truths are revealed, the film becomes less compelling and doesn’t quite stick the landing in the way the first film did with aplomb.
It is, of course, still fun to see Craig’s character being amused by it all—there is something way too effortless and laissez-faire about him going about his ‘job’ that it can be a tad difficult to adopt his point-of-view (the other myriad of characters don’t fare any better in terms of character development).
As such, at least for me, Glass Onion doesn’t hold well from a human angle, but Johnson’s talky script, which is as current as it gets with references, for instance, to the pandemic and the techno-cultural world we live in today, does try its best to be witty and enjoyable.