Glass Onion presents the classic “whodunit on an island” scenario. It also wraps up a statement that is darker than murder.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Synopsis
Miles Bron. Eccentric billionaire. Genius tech moghul. Natural born disruptor? When Bron hosts a lavish weekend getaway for his inner circle on his private Greek island, Benoit Blanc unexpectedly shows up too. Why did the world’s greatest detective gatecrash the party? Is he there to prevent a murder? Or has an awful one already happened?
I deeply enjoyed Knives Out back in 2019 – was one of the best movies I watched that year. Since young, I’ve been a huge fan of whodunits too.
And so I deeply looked forward to Glass Onion, the first of a series of Benoir Blanc features teased by Rian Johnson. When I saw the run time a couple of days ago, I squealed too.
Over two hours long? Does that mean the sequel would do it the right way? That it will take its time to meticulously lay out all the macabre and delicious details, and by doing so, present a murder mystery that is infinitely intricate, devious, and rewatchable?
Well, as far as characters and backgrounds are concerned, Glass Onion indeed does one helluva fine job. One of the classic storytelling challenges of whodunits is that it can be disorientating at the start. There are usually so many names and faces to remember, a task made all the more difficult because the story needs to hide finer information. With a bag of instruments that demonstrate his clear comprehension of the genre, though, Johnson ensures there is no hindrance in this form. Believe it, or not, before the actual “action” started, I was already familiar with the suspects. Already making guesses about who would be the first to be snuffed.
This neat presentation, in turn, facilitates the dissemination of clues in an almost leisurely fashion. Hints, so many hints, that you’d think nothing of till chastised by Benoir Blanc in one of his many flamboyant revelations.
On the great detective himself, oh wow, Daniel Craig truly nails the sophistication of his character. In the first movie, we get a clear idea of Blanc’s brilliance, but this time round, we get to see what truly lies beneath all that “Southern hokum,” to quote from the movie. Especially enjoyable are the moments when Craig effortlessly segues from comical to unforgivingly astute.
The rest of the cast similarly puts up remarkable performances, each depicting a character that goes beyond the flat stereotypes commonly found in lesser mysteries. With so many fine ingredients in the pot, one thus expects a finale that is as spectacular as it is twisty, as it is gratifying.
Said finale delivers in all these categories. And it is fiery. But to my surprise, the ending also stands on a dark question. One which, like the clues that I’ve missed, was in plain sight all along.
I cannot spell out the question without dishing out spoilers. I can only say, I understand why Benoir Blanc supports such a conclusion but I just cannot come to terms with the price. In extension, I’m rather appalled that Rian Johnson seems to be tacitly endorsing such extremes.
(Or is it the other way around? Am I mistaking another layer of the glass onion for the heart? That the true message is to “Walk Away?”)
I’m still contemplating the ending. If you’re watching this year-end mystery treat, I encourage you to spend a few minutes on that question.
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