Writer and director Rian Johnson brings Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) to Netflix on December 23, with a limited theatrical release back on November 21. The second Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) led film (2019’s Knives Out), finds him losing himself due to the lockdown in 2020. He receives a puzzling invitation from Miles Bron (Edward Norton) – an eccentric billionaire – to a private Greek island for a weekend murder mystery party. Blanc begins to peel back the layers of the suspects and their relationships while looking to solve a new mystery.
Craig just oozes fun in this role. In fact, this small cast and isolated setting make for a compelling COVID time capsule – but the movie addresses it and finds a way to mostly set that aside. Joining Craig and Norton are Dave Bautista, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Madelyn Cline, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, and – stealing the screen – Janelle Monáe. Everyone appears to have had a blast filming this movie, and it pays off for the audience. There are tons of laughs, brilliant lines, and one incredible mystery.
In fact, it is the mystery of both Knives Out stories that truly make them stand out. Both films demonstrate the power of the “Whodunnit” genre when executed properly. This year we got Death on the Nile (2022), which is put to shame by every component of Glass Onion – but specifically the story and how it unravels. There is a big difference if the mystery in a film is completed and then the audience is shown many things for the first time, thus recontextualizing everything we thought we knew versus all of the evidence being on screen for an audience to help solve the mystery if they are astute enough. Glass Onion is an example of the latter, and rewards its more attentive audience members in a huge way.
However, this isn’t a mystery film that’s dark and dower, but rather one that is full of life and comedy. There is definitely room for interpretation of the characters and their roles in society that could ruffle some feathers, but they all fit perfectly in the story being told. In fact, one thread feels so prescient that it made me think Rian Johnson must be a psychic or had some sort of insight into how 2022 would go. Despite this, I do think it’s possible for many people to still enjoy the experience of the film and its characters as the movie is just so watchable. It is intelligent, popular filmmaking at its pinnacle.
Glass Onion immediately jumped into my top five of 2022. It is no secret that I’ve loved most of Rian Johnson’s films in the past, and this just continues to cement me as a fan. I’m excited to rewatch this once it drops on Netflix – and who knows how many more times. In fact, I just ordered the Bluray of Knives Out with intention of teaching it to one of my classes in the near future, because Benoit Blanc is such a great character at the center of two incredible stories written by a talented storyteller. Glass Onion earns the Must See rating.