“Looking through the bent-backed tulips to see how the other half live,” sings John Lennon in the song Glass Onion. The White Album era composition plays over the end credits of director Rian Johnson’s latest Knives Out murder mystery. Except these days it isn’t ‘the other half’, more the other ‘1%’. Whodunnit? Peel back the layers to find out.
Lennon is on record as saying he wrote the lyrics to Glass Onion as deliberate nonsense in order to confuse people who read too much into such things. Much as Johnson has claimed ‘coincidence’ that his film about a smarmy billionaire blinkered to risk dropped just as a comparable figure bought one of the largest social media sites in an apparent fit of pique.
Whichever way you try to look through it, Glass Onion delights in hiding things in plain sight.
What Is Glass Onion About?
Clearly visible is detective Benoit Blanc, reprised by Daniel Craig. Despite ostensibly being the protagonist of the preceding Knives Out movie, the southern states lilting detective was more charismatic than calculating, barely making up half of the screen time.
Glass Onion delightfully gives Craig much more to work with as it unfurls like the classic Agatha Christie ‘murder on a holiday’ stories it lovingly emulates.
The movie’s ensemble do a good job of ensuring that your pointed finger of blame is never too sure of the culprit. Glass Onion is stocked with: an aggressive ‘rights’ streamer (Dave Bautista); a career driven politician (Kathryn Hahn); a reluctant scientist (Leslie Odom Jr.); and a ‘speak the truth’ former model (Kate Hudson); all of whom are reliant on their friendship with billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) for financial survival.
Much like the original Knives Out movie, Glass Onion benefits from keeping our gloriously wealthy location locked down for most of its run time.
Our cast are stuck on Bron’s private Greek island, first for a murder mystery party and then later for an actual murder mystery. Everyone seemingly harbours a motive, and a further fly in the ointment is the presence of Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe), Bron’s ousted ex-business partner who actually came up with the billion-dollar idea that Bron now trades off of.
Glass Onion Official Trailer
Is Glass Onion Worth Watching?
Glass Onion is satisfying in every element of itself and is never less than hugely entertaining. Craig revels in his Benoit Blanc character, able to be equal parts charming, befuddled, and righteous.
The comedy threaded through the movie is delivered through a cast who give it large at any chance, clearly enjoying the ability to lampoon a set of social media ‘main character’ tropes that we have all become familiar with these past 5 years.
Monáe’s work is of excellent calibre. Johnson sets up the plot so that whilst we don’t know whodunnit, we also get to learn piecemeal what actually was dun as well, which allows for some fun revisiting of scenes with fresh knowledge.
Monáe’s standoffishness, combined with Craig’s disarming twinkle, invite you in to the mystery and then delight in seeing how you puzzle through the slow but steady reveals.
Quite simply, if you enjoyed Knives Out then Glass Onion will keep you happy. It has an arguably more satisfying mystery and showcases standout star creation Benoit Blanc more front and centre.
The fashion and excesses drip off its larger-than-life characters, which makes it all the more satisfying when the flame wars ignite.
Words by Mike Record