Detective Benoit Blanc attempts to peel back the layers and reveal hidden motives in Glass Onion where every clue leads to another twist
Billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites his best friends ‘the disrupters’ to a murder mystery weekend on his private island but when the game turns to real murder, it’s up to super sleuth Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) to crack the case.
The original ‘Knives Out’ released three years ago in 2019 without much fanfare, despite its diverse and excellent cast of ‘A’ list actors. It released to great reviews and word spread fast. This came just two years after the revival of Poirot’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express franchise and signalled the firm return of the murder mystery genre to Hollywood. Director Rian Johnson attempts to make a sequel worthy of its predecessor, but does he succeed? Well, yes, in some ways.
Sequels can be notoriously hard to nail down, the risk of doing too much and straying too far from the original or doing so little as to make it pointless. Rian Johnson walks the fine line of maintaining the spirit of the original while upping the ante by making everything bigger and a bit more shiny/glamorous. Glass Onion is a standalone sequel, meaning you won’t have to have seen the original to watch this. Apart from Daniel Craig’s master detective Benoit Blanc, the rest of the cast are brand new to the series and have no apparent connection to the first film.
The movie begins with a puzzle and follows that theme throughout, the idea of peeling back layers and revealing hidden secrets is the point of murder mysteries and this follows that template closely. The story revolves around tech billionaire Miles Bron and his close nit group of friends. On the surface, they all appear to be close and have a real bond but as the layers are peeled back, the true nature of their relationship is revealed, and they all go very quickly from friends to potential suspects. The director deploys flashbacks and multiple replays of the same scenes from different perspectives, and it really is fun getting more information about what’s going on with each replay
The cast are all fantastic, not a bad performance in the group. From Dave Bautistas ‘Duke’, a ‘men’s rights’ Youtuber, to Leslie Odom jr brilliant scientist ‘Lional’, Kathleen Hahn’s ‘Claire’, a politician with big dreams to Kate Hudson’s ‘Birdie’, an aged-out party girl/model and her long-suffering assistant ‘Peg’ (Jessica Henwick|) – they were all great. Edward Norton delivers a quality charming performance, as expected but it is Janelle Monáe as ‘Andi’, Miles’ wronged ex business partner, who stands out and steals the show here. She manages to pack in real venom, vulnerability, grief and even some lighter comical moments into a believable package.
I’ve left mentioning Daniel Craig to last on purpose. I was not a fan of his ‘southern accent’ from the first movie, I found it heavily distracting. Unfortunately, I felt the same way about it in this movie but as I seem to be the only person who has a problem with it so I won’t dwell any further.
Glass Onion A Knives out Mystery is a fantastic sequel that delivers on its promise in spades. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s better than the original. A murder mystery needs to keep you guessing to the end and I felt despite the many interesting twists and layers, the antagonist turned out to be exactly who I always thought it was so the payoff at the end just wasn’t as good. Regardless, Rian Johnson has delivered Netflix an intriguing mix of glamour, brilliant characters, beautiful scenery and a solid enjoyable albeit predictable murder mystery
Glass Onion A Knives out Mystery is in Cinemas now for a limited run before its release on Netflix on 23rd December