Friday, December 23, 2022

Daniel Craig amplifies his charm in Rian Johnson's giddily enjoyable Knives Out sequel, according to the Glass Onion movie review

 



Review of the film Glass Onion: Rian Johnson's Netflix film features Daniel Craig in particularly debonair form, and while it is more playful than its predecessor, it maintains its social relevance.


Knives Out, a revisionist murder mystery directed by Rian Johnson that not only became a surprise hit in 2019 but is also largely responsible for reigniting interest in the long-dormant genre, provided Daniel Craig with a nice little post-James Bond franchise. It introduced Craig as the brash detective Benoit Blanc, who returns this week in the generally enjoyable Glass Onion, which has a meaningless subtitle of "A Knives Out Mystery." The sequel comes after a series of films and television shows about eating the rich, which only got more common after the pandemic made the world's wealth gap even wider.


We've seen a trio of satires with similar themes this year, including Triangle of Sadness, The Menu, and The White Lotus's subpar second season. Perhaps the most enjoyable of the bunch is Glass Onion.


Johnson's film is based on Agatha Christie's peril-in-paradise novels Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun, which are still as socially relevant as its predecessor. It follows a group of enemies who are invited to his private island for a fun weekend by their friend, a tech billionaire. Edward Norton appears to have spent six months prepping for the role by hiding in Elon Musk's cupboard as the name-calling blowhard Miles Bron. Although it makes the same mistake that so many other murder mysteries do, the casting is clever and plays into Norton's rather combative off-screen persona. If we went into detail about this, it would probably spoil the surprises; however, let's put it this way: there was a reason why the whodunnits of old would cast actors who were equally popular in the ensemble.


Bron stands apart as a person not just in light of the fact that he's played by the most popular entertainer in the outfit, but since that is what his identity is. He thrives on attention and is the embodiment of a deep cultural rot that is perpetuated by privileged white men. Within five minutes of his first appearance, he casually announces that Gillian Flynn wrote the interactive murder mystery for which he first invited his friends and that Philip Glass composed the hourly gong on his island.


The ensemble receives elaborate mystery boxes from Bron, inviting them to his Greek hideout, which serves as the film's humorous opening scene. Janelle Monae plays his ex-business partner, Kate Hudson plays a washed-out model, Kathryn Hahn plays a dishonest politician, and Leslie Odom Jr. plays a flamboyant scientist. Dave Bautista plays an alt-right streamer who, if he had any biceps, I might liken to Beerbiceps.


Blanc is the only exception. The easy-going Southern sleuth doesn't know why he's joined this group, but he's happy to be there because he was bored and in between cases. He tells his partner, Blanc, who is played by a well-known Englishman who once went up a hill but fell down a mountain, that he is gay now. Blanc merely asks Bron why. Although the tech bro has no idea, he is immediately drawn to the potential influence that the world's greatest detective would bring to his party. Blanc continues to work because he is rightfully concerned. Indeed, a person has passed away before that gong composed by Philip Glass can ring midnight. The murderer hides in plain sight, the island is declared inaccessible due to the tide, and the normally confident Blanc finds himself, perhaps for the first time, backed into a corner.


It would be foolish to discuss the plot beyond the initial set-up, as is the case with most murder mysteries. However, Glass Onion is just as twisty as the first film, despite the fact that some of it feels like a rehash of familiar themes. This time, Monae's bitter former partner serves as the surrogate protagonist, while Blanc himself remains a blank slate. Glass Onion is about the nouveau riche who can slit six throats before the stock markets even open, whereas the first Knives Out was not so secretly about class warfare in America. In it, an immigrant went toe to toe with the old-money types. Johnson emphasizes the minority POCs who have been f-ed over by these entitled elites in both films.


These characters, Ana de Armas' nurse in Knives Out and Monae's Andi Brand in this movie, not only serve as a starting point for the story but also represent Johnson's "disruptor" tendencies, according to Miles Bron. The director has always tried to deconstruct genre tropes in his films, and while this has generally worked to his advantage, it has also blown up in his face on one occasion.


He continues to break the rules with Glass Onion, a movie that completely eliminates the traditional detective interrogating the suspects one at a time. Also, this has its advantages and disadvantages. First, you are not encouraged to "solve" the mystery with Blanc because it is implied that the detective is in a different league. However, Glass Onion is worth watching again more than most murder mysteries. It seems quite radical that Johnson is putting more time into the journey than the destination. We all eagerly awaited Hercule Poirot's conclusion in those lesser Christie novels. Through all of it, Glass Onion provides giddy entertainment.

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