‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ gives us more of what we need: Benoit Blanc

Spoiler free

On Dec. 23, filmmaker Rian Johnson’s film, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” was released on Netflix. The film is a sequel to “Knives Out,” a 2019 Clue-like mystery movie stacked with plot twists and A-listers and starring Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc. Blanc continues his story in “Glass Onion”, when he gets a mysterious invitation to a tech-billionaires private island for a game night. “Glass Onion” does a fantastic job at setting up new characters, adding depth to Blanc’s beloved original character, and engaging a wide range of audiences with humor and betrayal.

The film begins by establishing six strong, complex characters, such as Governor Clair Debella (Kathryn Hahn), scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), Twitch streamer Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), and fashion designer Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson). Their close relationships with each other and the CEO of Alpha Industries, Miles Bron (Edward Norton) is developed excellently throughout the film. The first scenes show each of the characters receiving a cryptic package from Bron inviting them to his private island, the Glass Onion, to uncover the great mystery of Bron’s own death.  When all the guests arrive at the boat to take them to the island, surprise appearances are made by Detective Blanc and Miles’ former business partner, Andi Brand (Janelle Monae).

Distrust and tension are immediately sewed amongst the group, as no one knows who invited Detective Blanc or why Andi decided to join the trip after being legally exiled from Alpha Industries. As the trip continues, the audience learns bits and pieces about the twisted relationships the characters have, both with each other and with Bron. Each scene provides nuanced details that create a sense of puzzlement as well as the illusion that you are one step closer to solving the story’s underlying mystery.

One thing “Glass Onion” does well, particularly in comparison with other media from the past two years, is how Covid-19 was integrated into the plot. The way Rian Johnson utilizes the mask-wearing as a tool to display certain traits of each of the characters is a brilliant and refreshing take on the pandemic. For example, at one point in the film, Birdie Jay wears a mask that resembles the mesh mask Lana Del Ray wore to a fan meet-and-greet in 2020, defining Birdie as someone who mocks Covid-19 safety precautions and prioritizes style at all times. The inclusion of the pandemic at the start of the film is a simple yet fabulous way to introduce the characters and their values.

Despite the casting choice being somewhat “random,” with many of the actors typically specializing in varied genres of films, the variety of talent brings an extra flare to “Glass Onion” that fits perfectly with the general sense of pandemonium of the plot. From casting, to scenery, to plot-spacing, to character development, “Glass Onion” is certainly worthy of being a “Knives Out” sequel.