Saturday 7 January 2023

Movie Review: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

Genre: Comic Murder Mystery
Director: Rian Johnson
Starring: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista
Running Time: 139 minutes

Synopsis: During the Covid pandemic, billionaire business tycoon Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites a group of rich friends to his lavish island resort. The invitees include a fashion mogul (Kate Hudson), a video game streamer (Dave Bautista), the governor of Connecticut (Kathryn Hahn), Miles' chief scientist (Leslie Odom Jr.), and Miles' ex-business partner Andi (Janelle Monáe). Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) joins the party, although no one knows how he was invited. Everyone has something to hide, the intended harmless whodunnit game is quickly derailed, and Blanc has to sort through what is really going on.

What Works Well: This first sequel aims for broader laughs, plus a glitzy and vivid lifestyle-of-the-rich-and-famous aesthetic. Director and writer Rian Johnson aces the opening hour of character introductions and context setting, with the cast members letting loose and enjoying themselves. Miles' glass-dominated resort is a Bondian wonder, and within it the back-stabbing greed and corruption revelations score direct hits on the dilapidating foundations of modern celebrity, business, and political culture.

What Does Not Work As Well: The mystery, murder, and crime solving elements are clumsy and toothless, with flashbacks and shifting perspectives cluttering the flow. Two murders compete for attention with a mediocre sub-plot about a new energy source, while Blanc's deductions are ultimately shoved to the side in favor of a fire-and-destruction climax. The running time is needlessly too long.

Conclusion: The island offers fun in the sun, but the frolicing is unwieldy.

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