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Review: Glass Onion dir. Rian Johnson
The hotly anticipated sequel to Knives Out
Glass Onion follows American detective Benoit Blanc as he answers a mysterious invitation from tech mogul Miles Bron to join him and his friendship group of ‘disruptors’ on a mid-pandemic Greek island getaway. It is the hotly anticipated sequel to the 2019 film Knives Out from writer-director Rian Johnson.
Glass Onion is not a traditional sequel as almost none of the characters from the first movie return, but instead follows detective Benoit Blanc as he encounters a completely new group of people and sets out to solve a new murder.
Whether you like Rian Johnson’s films or not, you cannot deny that the man has his finger on the pulse. When Johnson found out that eccentric but stupid tech billionaire Elon Musk bought Twitter mere weeks before his movie about an eccentric but stupid tech billionaire who invites his friends to a private Greek island for a murder mystery party, he must have absolutely cackled.
Daniel Craig’s return as Benoit Blanc is such a joy. We see more of Blanc in this movie, even getting a delicious peek into his apartment and home life, as he answers a mysterious letter hidden in a puzzle box to venture out to Miles Bron’s private Greek island for a mid-pandemic getaway.
Glass Onion is marked by the same boldness that made the first film great. It’s packed with just as many laughs. An early scene showing Blanc playing Among Us over Zoom while in the bath is a real highlight.
Glass Onion is an excellent example of how to make a pandemic film. Rather than present another emotionally patronising take on the pandemic from the privilege of Hollywood, Johnson uses elements of the lockdowns to reveal details about his characters. This is perfectly exemplified by the scene where the characters all meet each other on the dock in Greece: you start to learn what each person values by gauging who is wearing a mask, who wants to hug people and who is socially distancing.
However, Glass Onion does take longer to set up than the first film. In Knives Out, we discover the dead body in the opening scene and the mystery starts immediately. In Glass Onion, the mystery takes longer to unfurl and requires more patience from its audience.
Steve Yedlin’s cinematography is excellent as usual, particularly when paired with Rick Heinrichs’ production design and Elli Griff’s set decoration. There are some great scenes in the second act of the film where their work melds together to create stunning visuals.
Nathan Johnson’s eclectic score also compliments Rian Johnson’s filmmaking style well, leaning into bold and new sounds.
Glass Onion strikes a great balance between continuing the journey of Benoit Blanc and paying homage to the themes of Knives Out while still setting up and executing its own story.
Rating: Highly recommend
Film: Glass Onion
Director: Rian Johnson
Writer: Rian Johnson
Starring: Daniel Craig (Benoit Blanc), Edward Norton (Miles Bron), Janelle Monáe (Andi Brand), Kathryn Hahn (Claire Debella), Leslie Odom Jr. (Lionel Toussaint), Jessica Henwick (Peg), Madelyn Cline (Whiskey), Kate Hudson (Birdie Jay) and Dave Bautista (Duke Cody)
Release Date: 23 December 2022