LFF 2022: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – Review

Release Date – 23rd November 2022, Cert – 12, Run-time – 2 hours 20 minutes, Director – Rian Johnson

Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) finds himself mysteriously invited to a billionaire’s (Edward Norton) private island where it seems each of the wealthy and successful guests are hiding their own secrets.

In writer-director Rian Johnson’s hit murder-mystery Knives Out it was mentioned that victim Harlan Thrombey “practically lives in a Clue[do] board”. The film with its gleeful twists and turns played around with this idea and the various hidden doors and passageways that could be used by the murderer. In much the same way follow up Glass Onion sees Johnson having just as much fun scheming with puzzles, mind games and riddles. We’re introduced to our potential suspects as they sit on a phone call together trying to solve a box filled with puzzles sent to them by their billionaire friend, Miles (Edward Norton). Inside is an invitation to his private island just off the coast of Greece where he plans to hold an annual gathering between friends. Also present is Daniel Craig’s well-spoken, strongly-accented detective Benoit Blanc. Cue the unfolding mysteries and dramas.

We see Blanc interacting with the various wealthy and successful faces present on the island – whether that be through their role as a content creator/ influencer (Dave Bautista) or in politics (Kathryn Hahn) – gradually realising that it seems that each figure may very well be hiding their own secrets. It’s not difficult to engage with Blanc as a character. He’s an even more entertaining, not to mention devious, figure this time around; helped by the fact that Craig, Johnson and the film as a whole lean much more into the comedy this time around.

The mystery is still front and centre – you’re guessing from the start, yet held in fascination as you see each potential suspect interact and converse before anything actually happens, the film playfully meddling with this information in mind – but the laughs certainly feel boosted. There’s a flavour that this could be a, very successful, out and out comedy thanks to the humour that it presents, not just from Craig but the highly enjoyable cast as a whole. Much like the first film you can tell the cast are all having a great time bringing to life the range of characters that are on display and relishing constructing the twists and turns of this particular narrative.

Part of the fun comes in the tension that arises during a handful of sequences. Of course as the mystery deepens and certain figures find themselves threatened things become heated, particularly when you think you may know who the culprit is before the film jumps backwards for every character. It’s all part of the fun as over time you find yourself leaning into the screen in fascination and anticipation for where things are going to go next, and just how the central detective’s mind is working. Particularly when we’re first introduced to him craving for a new challenge whilst bored during the pandemic.

Like the first Knives Out twisted standard murder-mystery rules by still having us guessing even after showing us the events leading up to the murder Glass Onion equally plays around and prods at the genre. It makes use of the knowledge that the audience – who are as integral to the film as the characters and events – will be trying to guess along, themselves playing detective alongside the great Benoit Blanc. Referencing this in subtle ways and further displaying the immense effort that has gone into the screenplay. Johnson’s writing and directing are overwhelmingly sharp as you can see his efforts shine as much as anything else in the film through the fast-flowing 140 minute run-time.

Amongst the highly effective humour Glass Onion once again poses a tense, thrilling and especially fun murder-mystery that acknowledges the audience participation and experience which can heighten the overall effects of a film such as this. Fitting as Glass Onion is best viewed with an audience just as much for the collective intrigue as the loud gasps at both the reveals and fun appearances throughout (none of which overwhelm or distract from the main course of the the feature). It’s all part of the fun there is to be had within another hit murder-mystery from Rian Johnson who proves himself a rather masterful mystery carver in terms of both plot and characters, boosted by another successful cast. It’s a brilliant, twisting puzzle.

Amongst the various laughs created by the finely-tuned characters there’s plenty of tension and fascination within the core mystery of Glass Onion which is constructed around the audience’s fascination and want to play along. Another cleverly layered and constructed mystery from Rian Johnson and a stellar cast.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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