Movie Night – Glass Onion (2022) by Rian Johnson

“For at least one person, this is not a game.”

Five puzzle boxes are delivered to a mixture of people – a scientist, a politician, a celebrity, a would-be media star and a businesswoman – inviting them to their annual gathering with Elon Musk, er, Miles Bron, a multi-billionaire to whom their destinies are inextricably linked. They arrive on his Greek island, ready for a party and a weekend murder mystery event. But somehow a sixth box was received by someone. For Benoit Blanc, the great detective, is also on the island. But nobody seems sure who exactly invited him.

The murder game is soon overtaken by an actual death and Blanc finds himself entangled in one of the most complex cases of his career. But on the island, nothing is quite what it seems. Nothing at all…

Well, that was rather fun.

Glass Onion, if you’re not aware, is the sequel to Knives Out, the murder mystery hit film from a couple of years ago. This is only the sequel in the sense that it’s another case for Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc and his amazing accent so don’t worry if you haven’t seen Knives Out yet. Even so, do watch that, it’s really good. And so is this one.

It’s rather hard to review this because of the various revelations bouncing around that keep changing the way you look at things – Rian Johnson helps to demonstrate this at one point as we get to see some scenes with extra information the second time round and you get a real sense of “everything you thought you knew is wrong”.

What I do love about this film is the way that Johnson plays with the conventions of the murder mystery. Yes, there are clues, yes, one of which is beautifully hidden while being in plain sight – there’s a bit of deception that Blanc reveals at the end and the truth is actually in the events we see. I guess the viewer misses it because they don’t know what’s coming, but I just popped back and watched the five minutes before the first murder and it’s really obvious what’s going on – except the viewer doesn’t notice a thing.

The cast are having a whale of a time – there’s not a weak performance there at all – and the clever structure, embracing the classic mystery while not reverting to a straight introduction – murder – interrogation – reveal routine, keeps the film fresh. Oh, and it’s pretty funny too. I had an absolutely great time watching this. It’s worth it for the central misdirection alone, again, hidden in plain sight but not something I spotted at all.

However… with my classic mystery hat on, Knives Out had, I felt, a flaw when it came to the “who” part of the film and I was a little surprised to see that this had exactly the same problem. Not going to say what it was – and to be honest, I don’t think changing it would have changed my enjoyment of this one iota – but I hope it’s not going to be a regular recurrence in the Knives Out series – because there’s another one on the way…

Glass Onion is available now on Netflix.

9 comments

  1. I suspect I know what you mean about the “flaw” and like you, doesn’t change a thing in terms of sheer enjoyment but I agree, the third could benefit from taking a different a different tack. I got to see it at the cinema with a decent size audience, which was real treat.

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  2. Hmmmm I’m interested in this “flaw” – I can think of a number of similarities between the two “whos” but like you I think none diminished my enjoyment any less!

    I got my whole family to see it Thanksgiving week in theaters and my brother, who found Knives Out a bit dreary for his taste, loved this installment. The characters are somehow perfectly of the moment.

    I am VERY excited to see what Rian Johnson does next. It’s cool to see new mystery movies made by someone who so clearly loved the genre…

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  3. “…but I just popped back and watched the five minutes before the first murder and it’s really obvious what’s going on..”
    Well, this statement of yours proved a SPOILER for me ! I watched attentively the minutes before the murder and was easily able to guess the murderer (idea blatantly copied from an Agatha Christie novel).

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  4. Based on your recommendation, I streamed Glass Onion this week and you’re right; it’s excellent. I loved that it was fair-play. Re-watching parts of this, it is great to see the clues I missed the first time. The acting was excellent with a particularly impressive performance from Janelle Monáe. Recommended.

    For example, I enjoyed how quickly Benoit Blanc gave the solution to Miles Bron’s murder game. More Benoit Blanc in the future please.

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