In 2019, “Knives Out” became an acclaimed hit both among critics and audience circles. More than that, Rian Johnson had shown how it was still possible to tell wholly original as well as intriguing mid-budget stories in a year that was otherwise crowded with big superhero releases. However, with the wide success of that movie, the possibilities of it serving as a franchise starter became inevitable. In 2022, we finally have its first official sequel from Netflix. Does it live upto the expectations the first film set?
Blanc, the Sherlockian-Poiroitian detective with thick Southern accent and genius-level detection skills is back. This time around, he’s among the many guests invited by the tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) to his private island in Greece. Blanc finds the invite a bit unusual, as he’s surrounded by other people belonging to a higher economic class, that includes the chief scientist Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr), fashion designer Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), politician Claire (Kathryn Hahn) as well as men’s rights activist Duke (Dave Bautista). Miles gnomic pronouncements on the island are accompanied by a gong whose ‘sound’ has been designed by the renowned composer Phillip Glass. The running gag leads to one of the most hilarious moments in the film, and the only one that surpasses that is of the world’s most famous painting. The film also has a handful of name-dropping, star cameos and of course, quirky dialogues. But ultimately, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is a film that pokes fun at entitlement, a theme that is visually depicted through the exteriors of the island it’s set on.
The movie also categorizes itself within the increasing number of ‘eat the rich’ narratives we’ve been getting recently, and although it ends up being far more entertaining than “Triangle of Sadness”, the ending of Glass Onion asks you to suspend your belief a bit too much. On paper, it’s a perfectly structured film, with each act hitting just the right notes to keep the screenplay consistently engaging. The temptation of resorting to flashbacks and dialogues every now does water down the overall wit of the film. But it all works, precisely due to the charismatic set of actors at center and the eloquent set designs. With this film and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, Johnson proves how capable he is of adroitly lighting his sets and placing the camera on just the right spot.
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” rests on the strikingly relevant theme at its center, bolstered by the snarky humour about the odious one percent. What’s more interesting to note is how Johnson toys with our expectations and flips them upside down. Unlike with his Star Wars film, that intention works here mainly because of the focal point of the story: the movie doesn’t waste time in letting us know that the ‘disrupters’ at its center are supposed to be more caricatures than fully functioning characters. Johnson’s own snarky approach plays to its full maximum because of how well he’s able to get away with minor plotholes and story contrivances under the facade of the caricatures he sets up so neatly. That’s exactly what makes the film one of the most entertaining films of the year. You can watch “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” on Netflix.