What is it about beautiful people waiting at a pier to be taken to an exclusive getaway that grabs one’s eyes and keeps it? There was The Menu just a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it is the joy of knowing that there is a whodunit around the corner just waiting to be unwrapped by the eccentric detective who will hold you by the hand and take you through the labyrinthine corridors of red herrings, clues, false trails and guilty looking suspects to reach you to the shining truth of who, where, what, why and how.
It is no surprise that in these unsettling times, there is a leaning away from big budget CGI-stuffed superhero capers towards cozy crime, where a bunch of not-so-nice people are stuck in a remote location and begin to die. A detective solves the crime, and we can go back to our lives happy at finding out the reason for the disruption in the natural order of things.
And so it is with Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Rian Johnson’s follow up to 2019’s jolly Knives Out, featuring Daniel Craig as the greatest detective Benoit Blanc, complete with bizarre Southern accent, solving an Agatha-Christie style mystery of the death of a wealthy patriarch and successful crime writer, Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer).
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista
Story line: A murder mystery party at a beautiful Grecian island turns horribly real
Run time: 139 minutes
Glass Onion finds an odd group of frenemies wait at a pier at the invitation of the eccentric tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) to visit him on his Grecian island for a weekend of fun, which apart from the usual things, includes playing a murder game. Memories of Agatha Christie’s Dead Man’s Folly, in which a murder hunt as part of a summer fete turns horribly real, are entirely justified.
The group includes Miles’ friends who knew him from before; Claire (Kathryn Hahn), the Governor of Connecticut, Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr.), Miles chief scientist who tries to execute all Miles’ revolutionary ideas, Birdie (Kate Hudson), a former supermodel who made a killing with her designer sweatpants, and Duke (Dave Bautista) a men’s right activist.
Also in the group are Birdie’s assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick), who is constantly fighting fires as Birdie shoots off her mouth on social media, and Duke’s girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline). There is a slacker floating around the island, Derol (Noah Segan), who Miles assures has nothing to do with the murder hunt.
The odd one out is Andi (Janelle Monáe), Miles’ ex-business partner, who lost a case against Miles and Blanc. From the invitation which involves puzzles within puzzles and includes clues hidden in pieces of music and the Fibonacci Sequence, to the murder game written by Gillian Flynn (it was Ariadne Oliver in Dead Man’s Folly), no less, Glass Onion offers unalloyed joy.
There are enough twists and turns to keep all sharp-eyed viewers engaged, and the location (Spetses, Greece) is the best kind of eye candy. The ensemble cast shine bright wading into their roles with unbridled gusto. Craig is disarmingly comfortable poking fun at himself delivering pompous lines including “My mind is a fuelled up race car and I got nowhere to drive it,” in all seriousness.
Looking out for the cameos offer added layers of glee. Look, there is Hugh Grant as Blanc’s partner (yes, he is gay), Ethan Hawke is Miles’ assistant, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt does clock duty as the ponderous Hourly Dong. The title is suitably simply obscure to tickle the fancy of riddlers.
A smart plot, accomplished actors and an eye-wateringly beautiful location all come together in the perfect Christmas present that is Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is currently streaming on Netflix