Review: Glass Onion
Emily Roughton gives her take on the long-awaited Knives Out sequel she believes outwits its predecessor.
Many have complained about the predictability of the typical whodunnit, but not this time. As the second original murder mystery to be released in cinemas this year, following See How They Run, Glass Onion had a lot to live up to in terms of having an unforeseeable plot. Despite sharing half its name with 2019’s much-beloved Knives Out, it is essential to note that Glass Onion is a stand-alone movie rather than a continuation of its predecessor.
A modern summer cocktail mix of Agatha Christie’s Poirot (but without the moustache!) and her novel ‘And Then There Were None’, the audience follows Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) sleuthing his way onto billionaire Miles Bron’s (Ed Norton) private island for an annual invitation-only weekend.
The A-list ensemble cast of murder suspects was expertly put together by Rian Johnson, with each actor uniquely adding to the storyline. In particular, I thought Janelle Monáe’s performance was most compelling, especially when introduced to her character’s initially withheld complexity. Daniel Craig’s attempted Kentucky drawl, however, was laughable and cringeworthy, to say the least; I’d recommend he finds a new dialect coach! Despite this, he brought the detective’s flamboyant yet enigmatic character to life superbly, and his outrageous poolside look was something to be admired, a far cry from Mr Bond!
As any real murder mystery fan would know, the key to a successful whodunnit is its satisfying denouement. It’s the worst feeling when you’ve jumped onto the sofa with a big bag of popcorn, and you solve the crime before even getting through half of the bag, but this is not the case here. I kept guessing until the very end, and it was only when Detective Blanc put all the layers back together in his flashback that everything fell into place. Either Johnson’s comedic and absurd script was perfectly written, or I am no Sherlock!
I kept guessing until the very end, and it was only when Detective Blanc put all the layers back together in his flashback that everything fell into place
The light-hearted movie wasn’t without an emotional narrative, however. Peeling back this onion did bring a tear to my eye. Johnson’s use of the modern-day American backdrop brought to screen the reality of the post-Covid world, with several poignant mentions of lockdown and facemasks setting the scene. On the other hand, the namedropping of some of 2022’s greatest pop culture moments, such as the Among Us and Alexa gags, meant that relatable comedic references were threaded throughout the film. Johnson appears to (ironically) breathe new life into the murder mystery genre; as he explains in his Writers Table interview, this movie category is “almost manufactured to engage with current society”. Turning away from the traditional period piece whodunnit was a clever move to highlight the infinite range that the genre can cover. Moreover, the fact that Netflix has the rights to one more Knives Out movie suggests that there are many more exciting things to come from Rian Johnson!
Overall, this Knives Out sequel outmatched the original in wit and wildness and is a gift from a director and cast who struggle to disappoint.