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Quick Review: Glass Onion - A Knives Out Mystery
The Follow-Up To 2019's KNIVES OUT
The following is my review for the film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. A reminder, you can click this link to see how I score films when I review them.
Detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece to peel back the layers of a mystery involving a new cast of suspects.
I have a confession to make. One that isn’t all too a secret for those who have known me for a good while now, but one I tend to keep close to the vest. Its not a popular opinion, and I might risk losing a reader or two over this - I think 2019’s Knives Out is just okay on its best day. I know, its one of the most popular films from its release year and was arguably *this* close to getting a Best Picture nomination. But I have to call it like I see it and give my unfiltered opinion, I was underwhelmed by it versus all the praise and celebration it got.
How could someone not like Knives Out? Well for me the movie’s characters, save for Benoit Blanc played by Daniel Craig, never hit with me all that well. I felt like Blanc is a frustrating afterthought in the movie. I didn’t find the comedy in it particularly funny, and what many argue is clever writing came off like doing twists for twists sake at times. To me it was a mystery comedy that felt uneven and lost in the wayward direction its protagonist is handled. And to be frank I’ve never been the biggest fan of writer and director Rian Johnson. I’ve just never clicked all that well with his writing in his past projects.
So you can imagine my dread at learning that Johnson and Netflix were teaming up with a huge multi million dollar deal to turn the 2019 hit into the first of several Benoit Blanc mystery stories. Having not been the biggest hype man for the previous entry, I came into this one, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, with some trepidation. I didn’t expect to hate it or anything that dramatic, but like the first film I was expecting to be underwhelmed.
But I have to confess to you that I had an absolute blast with this follow-up. Its almost like the experience many had with the first movie finally caught up with me. I smiled and laughed from the first scene to the last, and for the first time ever actually found myself super impressed with Johnson’s writing, this time hitting you with a major twist half-way through that knocked me for a loop. I went from a skeptic to now joining the bandwagon on wanting more Benoit Blanc mysteries.
So why did I like this one so much more? For one Blanc is not an afterthought who only shows up here or there. He is the full blown lead and Craig is obviously having so much fun playing the role. The characters that make up this mystery were much more fun to follow for me as well. Starring an impressive ensemble that includes Edward Norton, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr, Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Ethan Hawke, and the one performance that I think may be among my favorites of the year from Janelle Monáe in what may just be their best turn in a film yet.
The film’s direction is well done, the editing is sharp and used smartly, and the score really knocked me off my feet a few times.
I will nitpick a few things though. The movie is a tad overlong, it has fun celebrity cameos but one may argue they get to be a little too much sometimes, and talking to others coming out of my screening it does take place during COVID times when many may not want to revisit that era again so soon. There’s also some art destruction in the movie that may come off too timely given recent events in the news.
But all in all as someone who is not the biggest supporter of the 2019 film, I was won over by the latest Benoit Blanc mystery and as long as what Johnson did here with his character is done in future films, I am all in to see the detective return to the screen. For now I’m going to give this a 9 though I will think on it a bit more before I deliver my “Best of the Year” list, but regardless I thoroughly enjoyed peeling the layers of this mystery.