By: Reel Dialogue
Knives Out and Daniel Craig as master detective Benoit Blanc was a revelation in 2019 and proved to be one of the best films of that year.
Also, writer/director Rian Johnson managed to reimagine the whodunit mystery’s creative nature by showing that an ensemble cast can work in this modern era. Despite some setbacks throughout the pandemic, sequels were greenlit by Netflix, and the world will get more from the gentrified sleuth in the years to come.
Set during the isolated era of the COVID-19 pandemic, friends of billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) get invitations to a secluded private Greek island to participate in a murder mystery. The tech entrepreneur wants to maintain the annual tradition of bringing this bunch together for a fun weekend. A tradition that helps him to keep their confidence that has developed over the years.
The entourage includes the head scientist of the company, Alpha, Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), Connecticut governor Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), social media men’s rights spokesman Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), and fashion icon and influencer, Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson). Then he adds the woman who helped him to create the business that made them all wealthy, former business partner Cassandra “Andi” Brand (Janelle Monáe). Yet, in amongst this tight-knit group of oddly paired friends, Inspector Benoit Blanc manages to get an invite to this exclusive murder mystery. Within this pot-boiler game, tensions run high on the island as past indiscretions and broken relationships unearth potentially deadly motivations that make for layers of this clever and mysterious puzzle.
Those rare moments in cinematic history exist where the sequel to a masterful work can duplicate its charm. This enigmatic situation has been accomplished by Rian Johnson with this follow-up to Knives Out, by capturing the first film’s magic while taking things to the next level of hi-jinx and twisted fun. This screenplay taps into all of the elements of a traditional mystery and adds aspects that will keep audiences sitting on the edge of their seats as they attempt to solve this murderous riddle. Each act brings another level to this tale and should keep most viewers off balance enough to keep the tensions at the necessary levels to keep the most devoted influencer off their phones.
No role is wasted between the comical and brilliant timing of each character. Even the seemingly insignificant characters have a part to play in this ever-unfolding conundrum. Ed Norton embraces the pseudo-leader of this dysfunctional codependent group and sits comfortably in this narcissistic role. Yet, the stand-out performances that carry this mind-bending journey are that of Janelle Monáe and Daniel Craig.
The former delivers the needed tension and quiet confidence that anchors this storyline through each spin of this inventive script. All the while, Craig has managed to add to this new persona with enjoyable finesse. It looks like he is enjoying every moment of shedding James Bond and launching a new franchise.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a refreshing addition to a rather dismal year at the cinema. This welcomed inclusion at the cinema proves to be one of the year’s best films. It will whet audiences’ appetite for the next chapter of the escapades of Detective Benoit Blanc.
In Glass Onion, Rian Johnson taps into the value of friendship, while proving that things can go wrong if trust is abandoned. Yet, this storyline still shows the value of humanity’s need for companionship. What can be seen in the Bible is the importance of relationships with others. Friends do provide laughs, sounding boards, and accountability. These things are all good, but friendship’s real gift is merely knowing someone is there for you. God has designed this fantastic component of the human experience for our benefit. How are you at being that God-given gift to others?
The Bible addresses this in a relationship between two men in the Old Testament. David and Jonathan had a friendship worth reading and considering in light of friendships worldwide. Check out 1 Samuel 18-20 and consider how much your friends mean to you.
Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.
All images: Movie Stills
About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.