dir: Rian Johnson
Anyone who’s followed Rian Johnson’s career knows what a smartarse he is, and now, with so much Netflix money, and nothing to stop him, he is in absolute smartarse mode, plus with a budget that can afford the rights to Beatles songs.
A dangerous combination. I liked Knives Out just fine, no complaints there, but I never really thought I needed a franchise to arise from it, nor did I think necessarily that the Benoit Blanc character played with deep fried Southern accented charm by Daniel Craig needed to come back either. But he’s back, and now he’s kind of the main character rather than being a detective that swoops in and solves a crime at the end to the benefit of the person we think is innocent, and the detriment of the other shitheads.
This is, as well, a flick made during the pandemic which means delightfully setting it on an isolated Greek resort island was probably more of a necessity rather than a need for an exotic locale to tell this pointless story.
As Benoit Blanc helpfully explains to us, at least twice, a glass onion is a metaphor, unlike the actual Glass Onion structure on the island, for something that looks incredibly intricate and complex at first, that ultimately is revealed to be dumb and straightforward. For a murder mystery within another murder mystery, there isn’t much about the actual murders that are a mystery. There’s a murder, and then another murder, and then we find out there was an earlier murder, but there isn’t much of a mystery as to who did what.
The bigger mystery is how Benoit Blanc, world’s greatest Foghorn Leghorn impersonator, got on the island, and why the murderer or murderers allowed it to happen, and went along with it.
The first part is explained, eventually. We see Benoit in a bath lamenting the lockdowns and lamenting not being able to get out there and solve mysteries in person, failing as he is at all these detective games like Among Us or online Zoom Cluedo (with Stephen Sondheim and Angela Lansbury cameoing just prior to their deaths, no less), as his husband (Hugh Grant) informs him that he has a delivery.
A bunch of “winners” in their respective fields have these puzzle boxes delivered to them. Some of them solve the puzzles. Others take a hammer to the box, or have someone else solve it for them.
One is a men’s rights activist online (Dave Bautista) whining about how estrogen has breastified the world, just before his mum whacks him in the head and tells him not to talk back to her. He has a blonde girlfriend who calls herself Whisky whose only objective is to be blonde and influential online.
Another is a scientist (Leslie Odom Jnr), another is a governor (Kathryn Hahn), and there’s one with a clothing line who’s big on Insta (Kate Hudson). And there’s Andi who everyone hates or fears (Janelle Monae). All of these people know each other, and know the person who invited them, being a tech billionaire who owns the island (Ed Norton).