‘Glass Onion’ Is A Delightful Comedy Mystery

Rian Johnson has come out and said he hates that Netflix added “A Knives Out Mystery” to the Glass Onion title. Granted, that’s probably bcause some people might not tune in to watch if it’s just Glass Onion. Sometimes, you got take the good with the bad. But if that’s the only bad thing about the movie, then consider yourself lucky. Netflix is reporting over 82 million hours were watched over Christmas weekend. Maybe people were sick and tire of Rudolph and Frosty.

Knives Out, released in 2019, was a hilarious comedy murder mystery about a group of sycophantic relatives of an elderly wealthy mystery writer who find themselves suspects in his death. The movie featured Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, a private detective with a southern accent which is something like Froghorn Leghorn if he went to Harvard. Benoit is supposed to be the smartest crime solver in the world. Blanc was such an impressive character that you wanted more of him after Ana de Armas drinks her cup of coffee while The Rolling Stones’ “Sweet Virgnia” plays on the soundtrack and the end credits roll.

Netflix paid almost half a billion for the rights of two standalone sequels featuring Blanc. Johnson doesn’t dilly-dally on the sequel. He makes a sequel that is just as good but it’s hard to compare the two. The only thing similar between Glass Onion and Knives Out is Blanc and the sycophantic characters at the heart of this mystery. Set during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, a group of friends assemble a complex puzzle box that leads to an invitation from their friend, Miles Bron (Edward Norton), a New York billionaire owner of a technical company, who is loosely based on Elon Musk, to his private island in Greece to solve a murder mystery game.

The friends include Cassandra “Andi” Brand (Janelle Monae), who is an ex-business partner of Miles, who knows a dirty secret which becomes the center of the plot. There’s also Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), who is the current governor of Conneticut, running for the U.S. Senate. Also joining him is his friend, Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), head scientist for Miles’ company. Other friends include Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), a dimwitted former supermodel turned fashion designer and her assistant, Peg (Jessica Henwick), who functions more as a psuedo-den mother to keep Birdie from doing something stupid on social media. Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), a video game streamer and men’s rights activisit, who streams on Twitch and YouTube and his girlfriend/assistant, Whiskey (Madelyn Cline) are also there. But both Duke and Benoit discover that Whiskey and Miles are having an affair.

Also, Miles is wondering why Benoit is on the island as he didn’t send a puzzle box to him. When we see Benoit streaming with a group of celebrities I won’t reveal because it’s just a nice surprise (especially since two have since passed away), his partner (played by another cameo I won’t reveal) says there is someone there with a box. Benoit asks Miles if it’s possible that someone might have recaliberated the puzzlebox since he received the same handwritten card the others received. Miles seems to accept that and welcomes Benoit to join him as they are going to play out a murder mystery of his fake death.

However, while they’re sitting at the dinner table, Benoit is quick to ruin the fun for everyone, especially Miles, by already deducing who would be responsible. But Benoit reminds Miles in private that he has invited people to the island while there’s tension between all of them and Miles. Earlier, Miles told everyone he has developed an alternative fuel energy that relies all on hydrogen that he will launch despite safety concerns expressed by Claire and Lionel. It’s obvious they look at Miles’ weatlh and stature as a way to get what they want.

Then, while they’re having drinks in a party/game room, one of the characters does die and everyone suspects it’s Andi based on the bad tension between her and the rest of the people, especially Miles. But it becomes more complicated than that. Miles suspects someone was really targeting him and he thinks it’s Andi who’s not in the room. But we soon find out, we don’t exactly know what is actually happening.

Johnson weaves a story that is like a onion, with several layers to it. The way he directs the movie reminds me something Brian DePalma said about how the director only shows you what they want to show you. When we see all the characters get their puzzle boxes, they enthusiastically go through them during a conference call with each other. Then, we see Andi sitting in a garage looking at it and then she has a different way to solve the puzzle. But we find out later why.

Craig is a delight to see. For an actor who was playing more serious roles in Road to Perdition and Munich before he was cast at James Bond in Casino Royale has shown in Knives Out as well as Logan Lucky that he can play comedy as long as he has a great director. Benoit may be smart but he’s a little gullible at other times. Norton is another actor who seems to work best in comedies despite his history of being difficult on set. I was just thinking of his comedic role as a priest in Keeping the Faith the other day as well as the comedy he brought to the Narrator in Fight Club.

Hudson, who has her own fashion line, seems to be a parody of other celebrities with questionable connections to fashion and accessories. She plays it a little too ditzy and Hahn plays her role a little too straight. Odom also seemes to be underused. The characters don’t really work together as they did in Knives Out but maybe they don’t need to. You don’t go into a movie expecting to see the same thing you saw before in another movie.

While Johnson said that Miles isn’t intended to be based on Musk, you can see similarities with other people. I think Miles is mostly an amalgam of a lot of technical company owners, investors and billionaires. I don’t know any billionaires but I’ve known people like him who are constantly trying to remind you how much they spent on something or where they got it from.

Glass Onion is obviously a parody of celebrity culture and there are a few products that are used well with the celebrity name droppings. It’s obvious we seem to have gotten to a point where we make celebrities out of people for bascially doing nothing. Someone like Birdie wouldn’t know the first thing about a fashion line and her name is basically so they can jack up the prices on clothing. Twitch and YouTube are just luck in who they make famous and who they don’t. We assume people who are wealthy and successful are smart but after listening to Donald Trump ramble, we can tell they’re not.

Who knows what Johnson will bring to the third movie featuring Benoit. Will he bring back de Armas’ character or will he go a totally different route. Johnson seems to have it out for very rich people but People With Money just named him one of the richest, highest paid directors. So, it’s hard to keep acting like you’re the director of the working man. And a lot of people still blame him for ruining the Star Wars franchise with The Last Jedi. Maybe Benoit should look into what went wrong with the sequel trilogy.

What do you think? Please comment.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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