Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Review | Layers of Sweet Tension

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery by Rian Johnson takes the initial cloak and dagger flick formula, and kicks things into hyperdrive.

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As the holidays draw near, we get a nice murder mystery courtesy of Netflix that could possibly be a Christmas movie of choice–if you’d be so inclined.

Coming in as a sequel spin-off of 2019’s Knives Out, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery by director Rian Johnson takes the initial cloak and dagger flick formula, and kicks things into hyperdrive–well, to some extent. Set right smack in the middle of pandemic times, it shows good ol’ Benoit Blanc adjusting to his idle, mundane life. Little does he know that a bit of excitement is just around the corner.

Now, let’s dive into things. Spoiler-free, of course.

Slow burn no more

If you were expecting an intricate, steady-paced, “hold-your-breath” kind of caper, you won’t be finding it here–and that’s honestly great.

The movie hits the ground running, giving us our star-studded cast and main premise, right off the bat. It wastes no time in lengthy exposition, and instead makes use of dialogue and brief exposition to flesh everyone out. It’s a nice case of showing and not simply telling.

The bulk of the film deals with a lot of back and forth, exposing key story beats and putting Benoit to work. Even the dialogue is paced really well. Moments are meaningful, and you’ll need to take note, lest you get lost in the second half. There are no dull moments here, I tell you. Quite refreshing, compared to the first film.

Did I mention that this is a two-hour movie? It doesn’t matter. You won’t feel it.

GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (2022) (L-R) Edward Norton as Miles, Madelyn Cline as Whiskey, Kathryn Hahn as Claire, Dave Bautista as Duke, Leslie Odom Jr. as Lionel, Jessica Henwick as Peg, Kate Hudson as Birdie, Janelle Monae as Andi, and Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc.Cr: Courtesy NETFLIX

More than just a pretty flick

Set design along won’t make a movie good, and that’s a fact. That being said, having a picturesque backdrop helps a great deal. So, having sunny Greece instead of dreary Massachusetts this time around was a very welcome change. It also takes away the idea that it’s, well, a MURDER mystery–if not only for a moment.

GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (2022) Edward Norton as Miles and Daniel Craig as Detective Benoit Blanc. Cr: Courtesy NETFLIX

From the beautiful, sprawling beaches, to weird, semi-futuristic constructs, it’s all eye candy. Perhaps the only negative here would be just how distracting things could be. This, of course, doesn’t even include the good-looking and very talented cast.

GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (2022) Writer/Director Rian Johnson and Janelle Monáe. Cr: John Wilson/NETFLIX

A cast that works

Works as a cast and works well together.

Star power, talent, chemistry–this ensemble has it all. Everyone played their parts masterfully, and as the story progresses, you see just how well they can flex their acting chops. Edward Norton and Janelle Monae definitely steal the show–starring opposite Daniel Craig, and having the most presence on-screen.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022). (L-R) Kathryn Hahn as Claire, Madelyn Cline as Whiskey, Edward Norton as Miles, Leslie Odom Jr. as Lionel, and Kate Hudson as Birdie. Cr. John Wilson/Netflix © 2022.

The rest of the cast gel perfectly, which would make sense since they portray long-time friends. They really feel like they’ve known each other for years. Madeline Cline, while not a part of the “gang”, still delivers a great performance in her own role.

Also, I love Jessica Henwick. That’s all. Moving on.

GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (2022) Jessica Henwick as Peg. Cr: John Wilson/NETFLIX

Revitalizing the murder mystery genre

In our previous feature with the movie’s cast, Rian Johnson emphasizes on his passion to bring murder mysteries back–give them a more modern take.

Personally, I can say he’s onto something here. While the murder mystery genre won’t be overtaking rom-coms and bombastic hero flicks anytime soon, this kind of approach can definitely carve out a strong audience. If a film is well-written, well-acted, and looks this damn good, there’s no reason to not check it out.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022). (L – R) Writer/Director Rian Johnson, and Daniel Craig. Cr. John Wilson/Netflix © 2022.

Whether you’re an absolute fan of this kind of trip, or someone simply looking for the next movie to binge on for the holidays, you may rejoice. This should be on the top of your Christmas list.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is streaming now on Netflix