"What's in the box?"
Set in the early days of COVID 2020, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is the sequel to 2019's “Knives Out,” starring Daniel Craig. Reprising his role as Benoit Blanc, the world's greatest detective extraordinaire, Craig returns to comedic form with a whole new group of A-list actors. Joining Blanc on a trip of a lifetime to the gorgeous shores of Greece are Kate Hudson, Edward Norton, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Dave Bautista, and Janelle Monáe. Written and directed by Rian Johnson, this intriguing tale of murder and mayhem just might be better than the original and much funnier to boot.
We open with lockdown throughout the United States, a memorable time when everyone in the country was confined to their homes amid a global pandemic. A box is sent to six individuals from devilishly eccentric Tech billionaire Miles Bron (Norton) that appears to be a puzzle, where a series of clues must be solved in order for the box to open and reveal a surprise. The recipients of the box mostly know one another: Claire Debella (Hahn), a Connecticut governor running for Senate; Lionel Toussaint (Odom, Jr.), a scientist who works for Miles; Birdie Jay (Hudson), a former supermodel turned fashion designer; Duke Cody (Bautista), a YouTube star and men's rights activist; and Andi Brand (Monáe), a tech entrepreneur and Miles's ex-business partner. For some strange reason, Blanc too receives a box, wherein the surprise is discovered to be an invitation to Miles's private Greek island for a vacation getaway.
As the guests arrive, they discover that Miles has designed his island paradise to fit a murder mystery weekend theme. There is contention among some of the individuals invited to play along, and subtle jabs at one another begin to unveil deeper secrets. When someone turns up dead for real, Detective Benoit Blanc takes on the case.
As a sequel to the hit “Knives Out,” “Glass Onion” is a jolt of hilarity from beginning to end. Its humorous premise is built upon mysterious past connections and even more twists and turns than the original film. At its core, the movie is a whodunit, but there are deeper meanings to every piece of information Johnson lays out for the audience to put together along with Blanc. There is a substantial amount of setup before the murder takes place, signifying that there's more to this story than meets the eye.
Johnson does an impressive job of flirting with the tone of the COVID era while using light and sounds to make this sequel feel fresher than the original. Like an onion, one just needs to pull off all of the layers of this film to discover the truth at the center. Like he did with his previous film, “Looper,” Johnson delivers a story where what you're presented with shouldn't be taken at face value. Every character has some sort of shared history and reason for being where they are in this moment.
While Daniel Craig's Benoit Blanc is obviously the star of “Glass Onion,” it's Janelle Monáe and Kate Hudson that really shine. Truthfully, every actor cast in this sequel is pitch-perfect. But Monáe and Hudson seemed to understand the assignment given to them, and they executed it with profound definition, ease, and sparkle. The film makes fun of itself constantly, and jokes seem to never get old.
At the Toronto International Film Festival, Rian Johnson confirmed that he is interested in doing more movies that involve Detective Benoit Blanc. Based on the reactions to this newest film, I beg that Mr. Johnson does not go back on that promise.
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” premieres on Netflix on December 23, 2022!
Ticket Rating: 🎟🎟🎟🎟1/2