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Sunday, September 11, 2022

‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ TIFF Review – Benoit Blanc Is Back in Bigger and Funnier Whodunnit

Murder is afoot once more in the latest Knives Out mystery from writer/director Rian Johnson. So is the world’s greatest detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), who’d grown bored during the pandemic and needed a new case to crack. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery sticks to sequel conventions in that it goes bigger than its predecessor. Still, it also switches tone for a much sillier, more convoluted affair meant to entertain.

Just as Benoit Blanc tires of Zoom chats and games of Among Us, he receives a unique invitation by billionaire Myles Bron (Edward Norton) to attend a weekend murder party on his private Greek island. Also joining the revelry are Bron’s longtime friends Duke (Dave Bautista), Birdie (Kate Hudson), Claire (Kathryn Hahn), and Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr.). Duke’s girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline) and Birdie’s suffering assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick) round out the bunch. All are surprised by the late addition of Andi (Janelle Monáe), Bron’s former business partner turned enemy. Because this is a whodunnit, expected plans to derail quickly when an actual homicide enters the equation, it’s good that Mr. Blanc is on standby.

Glass Onion trades gloomy New England mansions for an even more impressive, high-tech villa on a sunny island. Accompanying the globetrotting are a few scattered crowd-pleasing cameos. Even the mystery goes bigger, using a murder mystery party framework to introduce the actual murder case. Its setup is so complicated that an entire act gets dedicated to laying out its intricacies in great detail.

Offsetting the complexities of Benoit’s latest conundrum is the simplicity of the newest list of suspects. Glass Onion’s characters feel smaller and less entrenched compared to Knives Out. While most have larger-than-life personalities, like the controversy-prone actress Birdie, there’s not much depth to them. Each adheres to an archetype, and most remain steadfastly tethered together by greed, making it tougher to elicit sympathy. That same descriptor could also apply to many characters from Knives Out, but there are no complex interpersonal relationships or histories here to enrich the new class. Some supporting characters are just that; they’re there to serve the central mystery without defining moments.

That’s possibly because, at this stage, Johnson realizes that the lynchpin is Craig’s plucky Southern detective. This is the Benoit Blanc show, and he brings zingers and flair in spades. Few things satisfy like a Blanc insult, relayed with that honeyed charm like a backhanded compliment. While Knives Out went harder in biting wit, Glass Onion opts for playfulness and light-hearted humor. There’s more self-awareness on display, but it’s all in the name of fun.

The nesting doll narrative structure stretches out the middle, and the thinly rendered suspect list makes it tougher to invest in the fates of most. Even still, the cast is having a blast to an infectious degree. The jokes always land, and Glass Onion maintains the streak of skewering the one percent in entertaining ways. The shift in tone and mystery building feels like Johnson once again attempting to shake up the whodunnit format, to varying success. Even when some characters behave as expected, there are still plenty of unexpected tricks up Johnson’s sleeves. The more expansive story makes this sequel feel less tightly wound or exhilarating than its predecessor. Still, it goes harder on bringing the entertainment and maintaining the magic of Benoit Blanc’s sleuthing expertise.

Glass Onion made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and debuts on Netflix on December 23.

The post ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ TIFF Review – Benoit Blanc Is Back in Bigger and Funnier Whodunnit appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3731244/glass-onion-a-knives-out-mystery-tiff-review-benoit-blanc-is-back-in-bigger-and-funnier-whodunnit/

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