Glass Onion – Review

Cast: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monae, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr.
Directed and written by Rian Johnson
Length: 139mins

“I told you about strawberry fields, you know the place where nothing is real” calls out John Lennon in the opening of this classic Beatles track, and in a way, much the same could be said for the world in which Rian Johnson’s all-star cast of sycophantic socialites encounter their greatest trouble yet – honesty. Delving once again into the intrigue of a singular Mr. Benoit Blanc’s worldly encounters, the latest case for the man in white comes at the request of his attendance in a who-dunit game of the highest stakes, where the death of billionaire entrepreneur Miles Bron will not only need to be solved, but witnessed too.

A sequel to the Netflix sensation from 2019, the ‘Knives Out’ films as we first got to know them contained their fair share of colourful characters, twisting narratives and comic reliefs. As well as this, perhaps the strongest success from the first film was in its ability to use a classic narrative device of the murder mystery, to explore modern day issues of politics and immigration. Each individual’s treatment of Ana de Armas’s immigrant-descendant Marta Cabrera further unravelled not only pieces of the puzzle, but the ideas in the heads of the American population at the time – exposing servings of both prejudice and goodwill. ‘Glass Onion’ shares a clear theme in much the same way, exploring the impact that technology and its potential power can have on certain individuals, and their use of that influence to manipulate others, but in some ways the stakes don’t feel quite so high in this latest instalment. Perhaps the extremities of the billionaire-funded location make it a little harder to relate to the issues at hand, or Rian Johnson just wanted to be more playful in this new film. Either way, there’s something to be said for the depth of the original ‘Knives Out’, but nothing which should be taken as a reason to like ‘Glass Onion’ any less.

Once again, Daniel Craig is in his element as the extravagant and exemplary Benoit Blanc. The supposedly “greatest detective in the world according to Google,” with a face of stone and a heart of gold, it’s hard not to have a smile on your face as Blanc eyes up every scene, whether having a friendly chat with another oddball individual, or criticising the conspiracy at large. Like the layers of a glass onion, everything seems completely clear once Blanc has drawn attention to each detail.

The story structure of this new film is unlike many others I’ve seen in recent years. Anytime you feel as if you’ve begun to settle into a scene, Rian Johnson throws a whole new set of rules at you, but fortunately soon comes to your aid to explain how the game’s being played. One inexplicable mystery after another, ‘Glass Onion’ is home to its fair share of twists and turns – none of which should be sought after before seeing the film for yourself.

A perfect family watch over the festive period, the film’s release just two days before Christmas was a smart move on Netflix’s part, with the only regret being that it didn’t receive a wider run in cinemas. Wherever you see it, however, the latest trials and tribulations of the esteemed Benoit Blanc are not to be missed.

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