Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Onto the next release of the weekend and the odds have caught up with my health. I am unwell but despite that the show needs to go on. With that I managed to scrape through the new English film Glass Onion – A Knives Out Mystery which is streaming on Netflix. I am an absolute sucker for murder mysteries and more so closed door murders wherein all the suspects are in a single room. What that ambience does is that it invariably prompts the users to keep playing the guessing game with all the suspects right in front of your eyes.
It was in 2019 when a deliciously vibrant murder mystery, Knives Out had hit the theatres. The craze for the film was such that I did not get tickets on the first two days. Finally when I had watched it, I realised that this murder mystery was more in the mould of an Agatha Christie novel. This meant that it did lead the audience in a certain direction before turning the entire investigation on its head. In other words, it was a classic murder mystery which was true to its genre. So I was really excited by the return of Detective Benoit in what was a new chapter in the Knives Out Universe. So then does Glass Onion manage to impress, lets find out.
Story & Screenplay
Glass Onion – A Knives Out Mystery follows the story of Detective Benoit as he begins to peel off the mystery behind an unexpected murder on a remote island in Greece. The story here is really mouth watering with its exciting premise and setup that manages to tick all the boxes of a classic murder mystery. The screenplay standing at almost 150 minutes does make a case for a layered narration and it succeeds to quite an extent.
First things first, The film may have been shot during the lockdown and I enjoyed how that part was integrated in the screenplay. The drama has a great setup with a quick introduction to the main players in question wherein each of them receive a box containing an invitation for a ‘murder mystery’ weekend on a private island. The conversations at the very beginning are random wherein you as a viewer only get a sense of things and the equations between characters rather than the full picture. This was deliberately done but you need to sit through the conversations and not begin the guessing game immediately, to fully enjoy the film. The slow buildup comprising of a series of interesting events and conversations leading up to the eventual murder does make for an interesting and engaging watch.
The humour is nicely sprinkled throughout the narrative, partly due to the situation and partly due to the witty lines. The drama picks up intensity after the murder(s) and the stakes are perfectly poised for Benoit to don his detective hat. The drama does begin to paint a complete picture after an extended flashback that almost acts as the missing piece to the jigsaw puzzle. So you are given a brief background of how and why things stand at the moment while briefly touching on the motives and opportunities of all the principal characters. The guessing game was pretty much on at this point of time and I did play my bets as well!
One of the major drawbacks of the drama here is that the revelation lacked bite. It just felt far too obvious for my liking. I remember watching Knives Out(part 1) and the end culprit was revealed right at the very end. But here the last act literally runs out of layers(pun intended) so much so that the one character that I was suspecting did turn out to be the final culprit. I may want to give it to the writing which was self aware though. The lines in a scene did go as follows, “So dumb that is is brilliant”, “No it is just dumb”. The final act after the reveal is further deterred by the ending that did feel simplistic thus marking this sequel as a notch below the first Knives Out. But overall, the screenplay ensures plenty of fun moments that does make for an entertaining and pulpy watch!
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are witty and account for plenty of laughter. The BGM is splendid and a major positive for a drama in this genre. You can distinctly make out the budget difference between the first Knives Out and this. Here, the cinemstography is lavish capturing some huge sets with panache. The colour grading does exude of vibrancy in this drama which was ‘disruptive’ for the films of this genre. Director Rian Johnson just showcases his love for films of this genre. It is more like a tribute to the classic murder mysteries that keep you invested and engaged throughout the narrative. The direction is pretty good here.
The performance by the entirely cast is outstanding. Leslie Odom Jr. as Lionel and Jessica Henwick as Peg have their moments to shine. Madelyn Cline as Whiskey, Kathryn Hahn as Claire and Kate Hudson as Birdie are a lot of fun to watch with their quicksand humour. Dave Bautista as Duke has a giant screen presence(literally) and he does a good job. Edward Norton as Miles is terrific and he is just so effortless. Janelle Monae as Andi is outstanding particularly in the final 20 minutes and he definitely delivers a killer blow. Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit yet again proves his mettle for cerebral characters with a dash of humour. He is brilliant and phenomenal to watch!
Despite an underwhelming final act, Glass Onion is an entertaining and pulpy murder mystery that makes for a good watch. Available on Netflix.