“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

This film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival

I wasn’t a huge fan of the original “Knives Out,” writer / director Rian Johnson’s 2019 star-powered murder mystery. He follows a similar formula with “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” a new installment in what the studio hopes will be a franchise of the whodunit films. If this latest project is any indication, Johnson has a bright future with his Knives Out series.

Master detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is back on the case as a guest at an eccentric billionaire’s (Ed Norton) birthday party on an exclusive Greek Island. The rich hippie is throwing a murder mystery soiree for a group of his closest friends, and the guest list is equally unconventional. The crew, known as the “disruptors,” includes a former supermodel and fashion designer (Kate Hudson), a scientist (Leslie Odom Jr.), a Senate candidate (Kathryn Hahn), a TikTok alpha male star (Dave Bautista), and a tech entrepreneur (Janelle Monáe). Each person has a clear motive, but it’s no longer a weekend of fun and games when they discover an actual corpse.

Johnson has constructed a lively, intriguing mystery that is a whole lot more fun than his first film. There are sight gags and zingers that lend a lighter, funnier tone. Craig hams it up as Blanc, further developing the personality of his detective with a Southern-fried accent and retro fashion flair. He has succeeded in creating and expanding a now-iconic screen character, and one that is worthy of his own franchise.

The plot is messy and doesn’t seem to make much sense at first, but don’t worry: it will. Holes are explained (but not always satisfactorily), and there are enough twists, turns, and red herrings that keep it a surprise.

I could see future “Knives Out” films being something that fans will undoubtedly look forward to. With a changing cast full of big Hollywood names, there will always be a draw. By calling back classic films like “Murder on the Orient Express” or even “The Love Boat” with a barrage of surprise cameos, Johnson is building a brand with unlimited potential.

Thanks to the stellar cast and quirky characters, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” succeeds as a clever murder mystery. It feels like Johnson did not know how to end the story (the unsatisfying finale can attest to that), but this is still a very fun whodunit.

By: Louisa Moore

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