Rian Johnson’s runaway success Knives outa movie that just about everyone loved when it came out in 2019 (I remember watching it over Thanksgiving weekend with a group of multi-generational relatives, the last time we laughed together in a theater since we were three years old now being busy), was all about the way it revived a genre that was almost dying: the Cluemurder mystery in style. Gather a bunch of movie stars playing disparate social types in a secluded, remote place (in the case, a Gothic mansion in Massachusetts), take out one of their number under mysterious circumstances, and call in a world-famous detective (Daniel Craig’s drawling super sleuth Benoit Blanc) to to track down the killer: what could be a simpler premise to hang a far from simple story about class privileges, generational wars, triple fake plot twists and instantly meme-able sweaters?
This Thanksgiving, Johnson is back Glass onion, which is not a sequel in the usual sense, as the setting and all but one of the characters have been completely changed. Rather, it’s a new Benoit Blanc mystery, a conceptual throwback to the days of the Pink Panther or Sherlock Holmes, when a colorful crime solver was the only constant between one self-contained universe and another. (More recently, Kenneth Branagh has also revived Hercule Poirot for Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nilebut despite the former’s solid box-office performance, neither has the flair to match Knives out or that researcher’s spectacular mustache.) The case Blanc is solving this time around doesn’t have to do with a wealthy family’s struggle for legal real estate, but with a group of old friends reuniting for a weekend on a ridiculously lavish private island. Their host, tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton), has invited this assortment of would-be influencers to what he’s pitched as a murder-themed party where he’ll be symbolically insulted and their job will be to find out which of them did it and why.
Early on in a split-screen phone call, the more than willing would-be suspects are introduced. Birdie (Kate Hudson) is a washed-up model who fancies herself a brave online truth-teller, much to the horror of her embarrassed publicist (Jessica Henwick). Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr.) is a brilliant scientist who is currently working with Miles on a top secret project. Duke (Dave Bautista), who arrives with an arm-candy girlfriend named Whiskey (Madelyn Cline), is a men’s rights YouTube star trying to move into a more legitimate media space. Claire (Kathryn Hahn) is the governor of Connecticut, a silver-tongued neoliberal with ethical conflicts behind the scenes. And Andi (Janelle Monáe) is Miles’ ex, who helped him build the software that made him rich, but was conned into sharing the profits. For reasons no one can quite figure out, Benoit Blanc, while not a member of this long-standing group of self-proclaimed “disturbers,” has also been invited to their lavish getaway to the Greek island retreat Miles named after the Beatles’ number of the title.
Blanc soon solves the mystery Bron has planned for the meeting, much to his host’s chagrin. But there are more difficult riddles to follow, which I will only point out by noting that, as with the first Knives out, the shifts in our understanding of the matter are often due to changes in perspective, as the same events are viewed again from the point of view of different characters. A social media clip on Birdie’s phone shows Yo-Yo Ma in one of several star cameos. (Angela Lansbury, Stephen Sondheim, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Natasha Lyonne, all of whom or played along or written their own murder mysteries– later share a memorable zoom screen, while later is a brief and more random appearance of a certain world-class athlete.) As the famous cellist eats a slice of pizza, he explains the musical concept of the fugue. Like so many others in glass onion, this is a clue in plain sight: the upcoming film will follow a fugal structure, with the same key events recurring in different contexts.
The complicated puzzle box plots don’t click together as nicely as in the first Knives out, and the identities of the suspects are not all equally well defined. Some of them, especially the endorsed characters of Odom Jr. and Hahn, come across more as commissioned pieces by Colonel Mustard or Mrs. Peacock than fleshed-out individuals. But Johnson’s twist-packed script and sight-gag-packed frame offer something few contemporary blockbusters offer: tuning in to the emotional response of the audience in the moment. Like Hitchcock, another genre filmmaker who was a masterful crowd-pleaser, Johnson knows how to speed up a film so that it rhythmically alternates between laughter and suspense, suspense and catharsis, while playing to the viewer’s expectations of what a whodunit would be. must be. to see Glass onion in a packed theater, all of us screeching and gasping at the same time, was a deeply satisfying social experience, which makes it all the more sad that the movie will only run in theaters for a week before streaming on Netflix starting December 23. .
After nearly a decade of contractually enforced mockery as James Bond, Daniel Craig seems like a positive hoedown of one time.
If there was an ensemble acting award at the Oscars, Glass onion would be a slot for a nomination. The dialogue is fast and verbally dense, with everyone in the cast tossing it back and forth with as much dexterity as apparent pleasure. Norton is furious in his broadcast of the software-engineer-as-visionary cult that has given us a world incompetently run by the likes of Elon Musk — though Miles is more of a hippie-dippie aspirant to Steve Jobs status , greeting his guests barefoot and strumming Paul McCartney’s guitar. Hudson plays the unashamed Birdie as a silly but calculating lady straight out of a comedic comedy. And Monáe, a musician who has mainly played dramatic roles before, gets the chance to play comedy here when the initially haughty Andi exposes unexpected vulnerabilities. As for Daniel Craig, after nearly a decade of contractual mockery as James Bond, he seems to be having a positive time as the courtly yet tenacious Blanc, savoring every line as if it were a sip of top-shelf bourbon. his fall Knives out replaced tweeds with pastel resort wear (the gorgeous, goofy costumes are again by Jenny Eagan).
John Lennon wrote the song “Glass onion(which plays under the credits of this movie) as a joke. The lyrics are a nonsensical array of red herrings designed to confuse the kind of obsessive Beatles fans who have spun wild interpretive theories out of every mildly obscure lyric. The joke of the song is summed up in the image of the title – a glass onion is something intricately layered and transparent at the same time, complex yet simple, elaborately constructed with no purpose other than to create something beautiful. Repurposing the phrase as a name for an air-headed billionaire’s high-tech pleasure dome was a sly piece of satire on Rian Johnson’s part, but it works as a metaphor for his film at.