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Glass Onion

Released 2022. Director: Rian Johnson

AFTER HIS SUCCESS WITH KNIVES OUT, RIAN JOHNSON returns as writer and director with an equally tightly plotted and hugely entertaining follow-up. If you enjoyed Knives Out, Glass Onion will satiate your appetite for a ripping murder mystery. The two movies are twins – they are tonally and stylistically similar – but this is not a sequel. Johnson’s new trick is to play with the structure of his narrative.

Halfway into Glass Onion, just as the plot thickens and the lights go out, Johnson flips the story around and takes us through the same events, this time from a different angle. No stones left unturned, or rather, no onions left unpeeled, as it were, as we get to the core. His careful writing is chockfull of detail and his refreshing directing compels a second viewing.

The set-up is the same as in Knives Out and will be familiar to fans of Agatha Christie. This is a sub-genre of the murder mystery where a bunch of rich people, usually obnoxious, find themselves cornered in an old mansion, on a boat, or a train where someone gets killed and everyone is a suspect.

This time, a tech billionaire invites his friends to his private Greek island resort to play a game of whodunnit. Except it turns real and one of them drops dead right in front of everybody else.

Miles Bron is the host of this elaborate gathering and his circle of friends called the “Disruptors” are Birdie the fashionista, Claire the aspiring Senator, Lionel the scientist and Duke the YouTube influencer, along with their hangers-on, Birdie’s assistant Peg and Duke’s girlfriend Whisky. Every one of them is indebted to Miles, mostly relying on his money.

The odd person here is Andi, co-creator of Alpha Industries with Miles before she was booted out of their partnership, with help from the old “friends” gathered here. Andi’s presence is an unwelcome surprise and the bad blood in the group manifests itself pretty quickly. One of them is stunned for another reason because, well, Andi is supposed to be dead but nobody else knows yet.

The line-up includes Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hann, Leslie Odom Jr and David Bautista, plus a slate of delightfully unexpected cameos including Hugh Grant, Yo-Yo Ma, Stephen Sondheim, and a nod to Murder, She Wrote with the final screen appearance of Angela Lansbury.

Returning as Benoit Blanc, the world’s greatest detective “according to Google,” Daniel Craig has comfortably settled into a new recurring role now that Bond is but a distant memory. He’s more relaxed in his second outing, more confident and loose, his Southern twang just as pronounced and betrays the quivering joy in his voice at shaping a new icon among screen detectives.

A character like Blanc is perfect for the job of skewering. Craig plays the eagle-eyed detective with a killer combination of self-deprecating humour and biting observation ideal for a light-hearted critique at the hollow-minded, self-serving and narcissistic clique of moochers without principles.

Glass Onion is a ton of fun. It requires your undivided attention to keep up and in return rewards you with solid entertainment and an absolute treat. From the premise of investigating a pretend murder, a guest drops dead, another person gets shot in the dark and we learn about yet another murder which occurred days before. Three attempts, three bodies (or two, actually). Johnson lays out the whole shebang and then systematically deconstructs all the connecting parts as if he’s dismantling a puzzle box. The energy never lags, the momentum keeps rolling but not so fast we lose the trail, until it's all revealed, making Glass Onion a must-see for puzzle lovers.

Click image above to view trailer. New window will open.

1 Comment

Feb 01, 2023

Yes, enjoyed this!

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