Rian Johnson‘s creatively messy, oddly fragmented, thoroughly enjoyable whodunit Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery did not live up to my admittedly starry-eyed expectations as a fan of its original. I loved Knives Out and the idea of a Southern Belle, pastel-coloured play at James Bond, with Daniel Craig so game to inhabit Benoit Blanc, the last of the gentleman sleuths. I also believe Johnson to be one of the best directors working today. Yet this outing, designated to mark the birth of a franchise, is more pastiche than a sequel — a collage of small, clever, lovingly shaped skits struggling to join the narrative stream of a single story. Albeit with some of the best cameos in the business.
Inevitably, it ends up riding the coattails of its stellar predecessor.
Which is both unfortunate and ironic, as the murder mystery, itself, deals in a somewhat adjacent phenomenon — mirroring identities of others to compensate for the lack of one’s own spark. Its target a self-serving, mind-numbing celebrity culture checkered by avaricious, needy tech-millionaires. As was Knives Out, it is that rarest of combinations — good-natured yet scathing, an apt tale of our times.
The storyline itself has a twist at its centre, one that makes it snap into shape, but the change in perception is slightly too convenient. However, where Glass Onion excels is in the realm of social satire, as did Knives Out — its heart worn on its sleeve. It’s not rocket science (pun intended) to figure out which one of the fantastic, and cheekily well-selected cast is modelled on which famous persona.
In short, Glass Onion is a couple of hours spent in the company of spirited, socially conscious fun, a cuddly refuge, like an Agatha Christie (Christie being Johnson’s role model) — offering an assessment of the world from a safe enough distance. This episode hopefully marks only a glitch in lowered quality in the Benoit Blanc series. Personally, I welcome many more delicious BB mysteries to come.
Author: ©Milana Vujkov