Glass Onion continues Knives Out’s legacy

Photo by: Charlie Martin

Rating: 4.5/5

Spoiler warning: minor spoilers for Glass Onion

Just like the original Knives Out, Glass Onion is a clever movie that never leaves its audience behind.

Billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) hosts a murder mystery party on a secluded island, but when an actual murder occurs Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) must find the culprit. 

Like in the first film, much of the new cast initially seem to be just caricatures of groups of people: the misogynist streamer, the catty fashion designer, the overworked assistant. But as the investigation continues, they show more layers to their personality, making them more suspicious.

The only character returning from the first Knives Out is Detective Blanc, who works as a great foil to the overly-eccentric rich people that he’s surrounded by. While he is always the smartest person in the room, there’s enough tension to keep him just confident enough to show that the case is solvable, without making him so confident that it seems like the case is already solved. He’s also got a few funny moments — a particularly hilarious dinner scene especially comes to mind — which makes him more grounded than his genius would imply.

The case itself is engaging, and all the suspects are equally likely to have committed the murder. Initially, there seem to be faults in the case, such as a crucial piece of evidence seeming to be easily replicable and therefore worthless, but the movie addressed every concern I had by the end.

The stakes are further heightened by the interpersonal drama within this group. The backstory behind these characters and their motivations is compelling, to the point where I occasionally forgot that the flashbacks showing their history were clues for the murder mystery. 

There are a lot of themes that are in the first half of the movie that turn out to be crucial for the second half, such as Bron’s idea of disruption. Recognizing that these parallels are here and watching them unfold was incredibly satisfying, like watching someone arrange and tip over a complex domino sequence.

One point that does still stick out though is the shared backstory for the characters (save for Detective Blanc): they all used to be broke nobodies who hung out together before they each became multi-millionaires and billionaires. This rags to riches story is hard to believe for one person, let alone six — nearly every rich person these days comes from pre-existing wealth — but it’s a minor hiccup in an otherwise airtight story. 

Overall, this movie hits a crucial sweet spot of smart and approachable: the mystery is elaborate and confusing with many layers to peel back, but the drama and humour gives the audience something to latch onto if they find themselves getting lost. While Glass Onion has just concluded its limited theatrical run, it is definitely worth seeing once it comes to Netflix on Dec. 23.

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