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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery ★★★★★



Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Jessica Henwick & Madelyn Cline

Release: 23rd November 2022 (one-week cinema release), 23rd December 2022 (Netflix)

***Spoiler Free Review***

There’s always a natural fear when it comes to sequels – and Rian Johnson’s Knives Out is no exception. The Last Jedi writer and director devised an expertly crafted ‘whodunit’ story full of epically funny twists and turns that revitalised the genre for modern audiences. In an age where Hollywood has relied on IP-driven franchises, Knives Out feels like a brilliant counterculture and disruptor, highlighting the power of original content. However, since its 2019 release, the world has shifted. The film’s distribution rights transferred from Lionsgate to Netflix, securing its creator and leading star Daniel Craig in a multi-picture deal. Black Lives Matter took a prominent stand after the death of George Floyd, and the world was put on pause due to the pandemic. Going into its sequel – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – can the same magic be replicated? Well, rest assured, Rian Johnson does not disappoint!

It begins with an elaborate invitation: scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), politician Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), social media star Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), former fashion model Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), and entrepreneur Cassandra Brand (Janelle Monáe) receive an intricate puzzle box from the tech billionaire and genius Miles Bron (Edward Norton). Solving the puzzle will grant his influencer friends the opportunity to beat the COVID blues and spend time with him at his luxurious private getaway, known as the Glass Onion, in Greece. Also among the invitees is gentleman sleuth Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig). Problem is he was not part of the original guest list and must investigate why his presence was requested. And that’s all I’m going to reveal about the plot because, like all good murder mysteries, the fun is in those dynamic twists and on-screen surprises that will have you second-guessing every clue. The less you know about Glass Onion, the better the viewing experience.

Daniel Craig in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Drawing upon his love of Agatha Christie and other detective sleuth inspirations like Murder She Wrote, Johnson crafts a tightly woven, Bondian-style adventure. Rick Heinrichs provides a Ken Adam-inspired production design, while Jenny Eagan’s lavish and opulent costumes are the peak of high fashion and Instagram-worthy. As frequent collaborators of Johnson’s filmography, Steve Yedlin’s cinematography delightfully plays around with bright colours and shadows to elevate the film’s grand aesthetic style, and Bob Ducsay’s editing is meticulous yet energetic in its reveals. As much as Glass Onion lives up to the ‘bigger means better’ mantra imbued by most Hollywood sequels, it never forgets the heart and substance of its story, which drives the film to its wildly chaotic heights of fun and hilarity.

Just like the first film, Johnson assembles the latest round of Hollywood actors to play pretentious arseholes to mock with extreme impunity. These characters, who are egotistical, clueless, shallow, racist and horribly out of touch, are filled with multiple reasons for why they would have murder on their mind. But in keeping the formula fresh, Johnson does not repeat the same tricks to relive past glories. In decoding its latest ‘eat the rich’ ideology, the truth has become so outlandish that the world has descended into a parody sketch show of disbelief – and Johnson takes no prisoners in reflecting that sentiment across its targeted social divides. To no surprise, the brilliant cast understood that assignment and not only did they bring their A-game but relished every line from Johnson’s witty script.

A scene from the film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Once again, having the best time ever with his Foghorn Leghorn accent is Daniel Craig, unafraid to poke fun at himself as Johnson frames Blanc as suitably old-fashioned versus the class and technology he’s surrounded by at the Glass Onion. But it’s the women of Glass Onion who steal the show, particularly Janelle Monáe and Kate Hudson.

In proving that the first film was no fluke and the depth of his talents, Rian Johnson delivers another passionate love letter to the murder mystery genre. Losing none of its charm and crowd-pleasing appeal, it surpasses the original and has a blast doing so. Roll on Knives Out 3.

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