The Whodunnit is an institution in cinema that has had very few high-profile entries in the past couple of decades. You’ve got the two Kenneth Branagh-directed Agatha Christie adaptations that were middling at best, and maybe Gosford Park in 2001? It’s hard to tell, really. In this, we get our proverbial knight in shining armor. Fresh off of a rocky (to put it nicely) Star Wars film, Rian Johnson got back to his roots, and put out a movie that reminded us (and probably even Johnson himself) why he loves to do what he does. That movie was Knives Out, a riff on his favorite old dime-novel murder mysteries. What we have in Glass Onion is something that is the same cocktail, but with different ingredients, and not as deep as one may expect…
Miles Bron (Edward Norton) and his band of “Disruptors”, fashionista Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), male rights activist Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), senatorial candidate and Governor of Connecticut Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), and brilliant scientist Lionel Toussant (Leslie Odom, Jr.) for a weekend retreat and murder-mystery party at Bron’s lavish Greek island estate. To the group’s surprise, there are two surprise guests: gentleman detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) and ousted “disruptor” Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe). Blanc, looking for the next “great case” in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, smells blood in the fresh Adriatic water. The game is most definitely afoot, but not everything or everyone is as conniving as they may let on.
As we found a satire of so-called “old” money and nepotism in the first Knives Out, Glass Onion looks to the other side of the coin (get it?), harping on influencers and the latest generation of nouveau riche. Miles Bron is the prototype for this line of thinking: pseudo-shamanism, faux-intellectualism, and just all-around snobbery with a veneer of pretending to care about the world at large. It all looks very good on social media. However, on further examination, Bron’s empire is built on the backs of other people. His art collection is made of the first couple of results when you google “good art”, his murder mystery party idea was commissioned from a famous mystery writer, and even the formula for his biggest moneymaking endeavor, Alpha, was stolen from a close friend and framed as though he drew up the plan himself on the very napkin it was made. There are a lot of parallels to people who are in the news and in our social media feeds to this very day, Bron especially draws many similarities to a certain famous Billionaire who has the mystique of being a genius who I will not name here. Even Blanc, the famed detective, falls for this mystique for most of the movie. They couldn’t possibly be this dumb, could they? It can’t possibly be this obvious!
If you are to see this movie for one thing and one thing only, see it for the cast. I didn’t even mention Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Ethan Hawke, Hugh Grant, and a bunch of cameos in a game of Among Us, because I’m not clever enough to fit them into the synopsis above. The writing is phenomenal, the acting is just the right amount of ridiculous, and the all-around craftsmanship that goes into a film like this is much of the reason I see movies in the first place. Best of all, it’s on Netflix right now, so you don’t have any excuses. For the sake of Daniel Craig’s ridiculous accent, see this as soon as possible!
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is currently streaming on Netflix.