“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
Letterboxd (3.5/5), Imdb.com (7/10)
The whodunnit genre has been a movie industry staple for ages, so coming up with a fresh take on it is essential, and this “sequel” to the box office hit “Knives Out” (2019) does a commendable job at that, with wily Louisiana Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) making a return visit to the big screen. When a group of old friends gathers for a murder mystery weekend at the palatial Greek island estate of a wealthy acquaintance (Edward Norton), Messr. Blanc makes an unexpected appearance, despite having received what seemed to be an official invitation to attend. His presence kicks off a string of events that takes everyone – including the host – by surprise, leading viewers and invitees down a rabbit hole of laughs and suspense, one somewhat reminiscent of the cult classic “The Last of Sheila” (1973). I’ll admit I had my doubts about this one going in, having not been a terribly huge fan of the film’s “predecessor.” However, writer-director Rian Johnson’s second outing in this series is a pleasant surprise, with gorgeous cinematography, a beautiful production design, and delightful performances by its fine ensemble cast, particularly by Craig, Norton and Janelle Monae. Perhaps my biggest issue with the picture is its title, which is more than a little misleading: Other than the presence of Detective Benoit, there are absolutely no other connections to this film’s predecessor, so viewers expecting to see any relation to “Knives Out” in this release will be sorely disappointed. While I can understand that the inclusion of the tagline may have been viewed as necessary to hook viewers, it does a disservice to both moviegoers and to the Detective Benoit character, who is obviously being tapped as the foundation for a new franchise, one whose only connection to “Knives Out” apparently has to do with the first film in the series. If the filmmakers and distributors of this franchise truly want to build out a string of movies based on this character, perhaps a more fitting (and more accurate) title would have been something like “Glass Onion: A Benoit Blanc Mystery.” After all, as any good sleuth knows, when it comes to solving a crime, “The truth will out.” And, in the case of a movie along those lines, it should start with the title.