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Glass Onion: A Mysterious Knives Out Review -
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Glass Onion: A Mysterious Knives Out Review

Glass Onion: A Mysterious Knives Out Review

NOTE: This article will contain minor spoilers on how the story looks, but nothing revealing the ending or anything like that!

I first heard that Glass Onion – Rian Johnson’s not quite sequel to the 2019 hit Knives out – was only going to be Netflix, and I have to admit that disappointed me. I was a fan of the last offering and hoped to be able to experience the next adventure in the full cinematic experience.

So imagine my joy when it was announced that Glass Onion was getting a week-long theatrical release over the Thanksgiving holiday! ULTIMATELY! Something to be truly grateful for, isn’t it? Who needs turkey and family when I can make Daniel Craig stutter in…Kentuckian, I guess?

I had Knives out as my #4 movie of 2019 (not counting movies I’ve seen since I stopped updating my 2019 rating in 2020), and the three movies before it were all five-star movies in my notes (Avengers Endgame, Parasite, Jojo Rabbit). So Glass Onion had a whole heritage to respect! It was, of course, the story of the death of a famous aged writer, and it was much more a Howdunnit than a Whodunnit. Love it or hate it, Knives out flipped mystery convention on its head by showing you death and who caused it in the first act, letting the rest of the story unfold with the “why” and “how” and “will they get away with it like this” being revealed along the way.

If you expect something similar with Glass OnionI don’t have good news for you: although he is totally unconventional in some aspects of his storytelling, Glass Onion is decidedly simpler as a mystery than its predecessor.

(Also, do you notice how much I say the title of the film? I’m inoculating you with the fact that you’ll hear characters say the phrase “glass onion” about a hundred times over the course of the film. One character once worked “knives” in a sentence in Benoit Blanc’s latest mystery, but Johnson let his fantasy get the better of him much more here)

Image Credit: John Wilson/Netflix


Benoit Blanc is the only connective tissue in Glass Onion at Knives out; none of the other Thrombey family members or acquaintances make an appearance here (unless they were smuggled in and I missed them). And that’s more than good; if Johnson wants to make a Benoit Blanc Cinematic Universe that stretches as far as it can go, that’s what I’m here for. I know it’s controversial, but I could listen to Daniel Craig put on that ridiculous accent until I die. It’s so disarming!

Kind of like with Knives out, Glass Onion follows a cadre of unlikable but connected characters as they are brought together by circumstances… shortly before a murder pushes Blanc to his limits trying to figure out what really is the root cause of everything that is happening. At the top of it all is Ed Norton’s character Miles Bron, an eccentric Elon Musk-style billionaire genius who brings all of his associates (current and former) to his private Greek island.

Kate Hudson is an aging model-fasionist; his long-suffering assistant, Peg, is played by Jessica Henwick. Dave Bautista is an MRA internet personality, and Madelyn Cline, his hooked girlfriend. Leslie Odom Jr plays a chemist in Bron’s employ. Charming Kathryn Hahn is a governor about to run for senator. And Janelle Monae is the mysterious Andi, Miles’ former partner who recently lost a high-profile lawsuit to Bron.

If you’ve seen the trailers, you might understand that the premise is that Bron has invited all of his friends over for a weekend-long murder mystery experience where they’ll all set out to find out who pretended to be. murder their friend. This is, in fact, how the movie begins, but don’t worry…someone seems to perish long after the game is over, so there are real stakes at hand.

From there, it’s about remembering what all the characters (and us, the audience) had seen and heard – and what we THINK we saw and heard – since everyone arrived to understand the mystery of all of this. And don’t get me wrong: Glass Onion it lies to you little by little, but in such a way that I never shouted “fault” at any time; I just applauded the misdirection of it all.

Image credit: Netflix


+ I like Knives out, Glass Onion has a star-studded cast. Contrary to Knives out, Glass Onion uses his cast much more effectively. One of the few complaints I had about Knives was that the use of Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Don Johnson felt like a stunt cast. Their characters were neither developed nor prominent; they just felt relevant because we knew the faces of the actors. With Glass Onion, Johnson gives pretty much everyone in the cast an equal amount of heavy lifting, and they all feel more relevant to the story. The characters have more depth and they all feel like they could be the person behind it all.

+ The film is wonderfully directed by Johnson, who continues to have one of the best eyes for setting up scenes of any regular director working today. The use of glass to distort certain perspectives is a lot of fun, and the minutes leading up to the film’s actual murder are beautifully chaotic and anxiety-inducing. As a viewer, you KNOW something is about to happen, but you’re not sure what…until it does. And the moment he does, the visual and audio cacophony completely baffles me. In a world where WAY TOO MANY FILMS spin backwards to create discomfort, Johnson uses creativity instead.

-The story is well-written and the characters are fun, but there are several instances where people feel more like cartoons than human beings, and – despite my fondness for it – this is where the Foghorn tongue Blanc’s Leghorn gets in the way of the story a bit because it infuriates how unreal the world is. Is this a big deal? No. The movie wants to have fun, and it does have fun, but aspects like Kate Hudson’s overreactions to things make the world less authentic (which isn’t a blow to Hudson, who’s a joy here; I I’m sure it acts as stated).

Knives out was about the character of Anna De Armas and whether she could (and deservedly) escape Benoit Blanc. Glass Onion has White straight ahead as the focal point, and he worked best as a kind of benevolent antagonist in Knives out than here. He’s fun, and like I said…I’m up for more movies centered around him. But the cat and the mouse Knives out was something I eventually missed.

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