Back in 2019 -truly a lifetime ago, given all that’s happened to myself and the world at large!- I went out to the movie theater for the very last time before COVID hit hard to see the film Knives Out.
The film, directed and written by Rian Johnson, was a murder mystery featuring Daniel Craig playing Benoit Blanc, the “world’s greatest detective” dealing with a shifty/suspicious family whose benefactor was apparently murdered.
I never saw the whole film, alas, as I received a call somewhere half-way through the film and was forced to deal with a business problem. As a result of the call I missed some 10 minutes or so of the movie and the call and situation left me so fucking bitter I decided it wasn’t in much of a mood to see the rest of the film. So I sat in the lobby and waited for the movie to finish so I could rejoin the group I went with and head out.
I never did bother to see the rest of the film, the bitterness of the situation still being there, despite eventually purchasing the film and considering watching it through.
Anyway, COVID hit and it wouldn’t be until Murder on the Nile -another murder mystery film!- a couple of years later until I once again went to a theater.
When I heard about Glass Onion, I was curious. Despite everything that happened, I enjoyed what I saw of Knives Out and was curious to see the sequel. Netfix bought up the rights to the production and future Rian Johnson/Blanc movies and, after a very brief theatrical release, the film was shuffled onto Netflix’s streaming service where I got to see it uninterrupted.
Glass Onion involves a quirky billionaire named Miles Bron (no doubt an amalgam of such real life billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Steve Jobs) quite well played by Edward Norton who invites his closest friends (played by, among others, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, and Madeline Cline) to his beautiful island retreat to participate in a murder mystery.
The set up of Glass Onion takes pretty freely from what is arguably Agatha Christie’s best novel, And Then There Were None, and has our diverse cast isolated on this island where the “game” of murder becomes a very real thing after a while.
Like Knives Out, though, the matter isn’t a totally grim affair. There is plenty of humor and outrageous sequences and while there is suspense, one never feels this film is an out and outright thriller like it could have been.
I enjoyed it for what it was, a sugary confection without too many deeper layers. The mystery itself is pretty dopey if you spend too much time thinking about it and involves some things which simply wouldn’t happen in real life. I won’t get into SPOILERS but suffice to say these are pretty pulpy and silly as well.
If you roll with it, you’ll have fun with Glass Onion.
If you don’t…
I’m kinda on the fence here. To some degree I could accept a lot that was expected of the viewers but there were points where things were just a little too crazed.
Some have criticized the movie for having our detective know things that he shouldn’t. However, I think they’re wrong. The things he didn’t witness firsthand it was clear he was told about so that wasn’t such a big thing.
You know, I do want to talk about them but I don’t want to SPOIL things for others so I’ll get to it in a bit.
Before I do, let me offer this conclusion: Glass Onion is a fun film that, while at times outrageous, doesn’t kill you with the silliness. It’s worth a look and I do ultimately recommend it.
Ok… still there? Well, you have been warned!
The film involves, as we will soon find, a group of very diverse individuals who all have a connection to Edward Norton’s Bron but who clearly do not necessarily like him very much. He is a puppetmaster, of sorts, and their success was something that came through him.
Worse, it appears one of the guests who arrives turned on him. She, we will learn, had a brilliant idea and Bron appeared to have taken it from her. The idea is a McGuffin. We’re never quite sure what exactly this was though it seems like it might have been some kind of website like a Facebook which was then stripped from her control.
Anyway, her arrival at this party causes all the others to react. See, they all know that she created the billion dollar idea that Bron took but they are so tied into him and his money they dare not cross him.
Then, later on, it turns out the character is actually dead, having been murdered just before the party but whose murder still hasn’t reached the news. And it turns out she has a twin sister who is the one taking her place and who has asked Blanc to come to this party… he was not, you see, invited to come in the first place!
My issues with Glass Onion lie entirely in the paragraph I wrote above.
That’s an awful lot of stuff to accept at face value and I suspect those who enjoy the film likely will be ok with this while those who don’t like the film will find at least some of what I wrote above hard to accept.
I’m truly on the fence here. The idea of a person dying/being murdered yet they are able to keep this from the news is… tough to accept. Worse still is accepting the character has a twin sister who conveniently is able then to take her place/appear at this island party. Even tougher is understanding how she was invited to this party in the first place given what seems a bad relationship with the host and even harder still is how Blanc gets to the party despite not being invited… yet our host accepts his being there without much protest.
I mean, wouldn’t there be some kind of security at the docks before being sent to the island? Because if Blanc could get to the island and no one particularly cared, then what was to stop a whole gaggle of other uninvited people from going there?
It… defies logic, truly.
Yet I stand by what I said: Glass Onion is nonetheless an enjoyable though sugary confection. It will, at the least, entertain you.
For the second time: Recommended!