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May 28th, 2023

glass onion spotlight onlineDaniel Craig in a scene from Netflix’s new release “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


What happens when a group of friends meets up for a weekend of murder mystery fun that turns more realistic than anticipated? Well, if you’re film director Rian Johnson, you turn that into a movie for Netflix. 

Last week, Johnson’s anticipated “Knives Out” sequel, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” was released on Netflix and it’s a movie I’ve actually been looking forward to for quite a while. The movie follows detective Benoit Blanc (reprised by Daniel Craig) as he joins  a rather disparate group of friends gathering at the invitation of billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) for their annual reunion. Like any good mystery, everyone harbors their own secrets, lies and motivations. But when one of the guests actually turns up dead the first night of the festivities, everyone suddenly becomes a suspect. 

I first have to give praise to the movie’s Greek setting, because it is absolutely gorgeous. From shots of the Aegean Sea to other parts of the island where the bulk of the movie takes place, everything is so pretty and everyone involved should count themselves lucky to have been part of the project purely because they got to visit Greece. Every outdoor scene is basically a perfect vista and there were multiple times throughout the movie when I couldn’t help but let out a “WOW.” Keeping with the movie’s design, I was also rather stunned by the indoor scenes. Just about everything in the main mansion (including the Glass Onion of the title) strikes that balance of elegant yet gaudy and the overall effect is very well done.

The main star of the movie is the large ensemble cast, which also includes Kathryn Hahn, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., Dave Bautista, and Janelle Monáe, among many others. Everyone gets a chance to shine and have their own bit of story shown, and while things can get jumbled up with such a large ensemble, everything ultimately flows together rather smoothly without needing to put together an Excel sheet to keep up with who everyone is. Just about everyone also fits a bit into their own stereotypes (though it’s definitely more subtle than other movies) and I couldn’t help but think sarcastically with some of the characters “Gee, I wonder which public figure inspired THAT character.” Ultimately though, that actually made watching the movie even more fun. 

I very much enjoyed Daniel Craig coming back as Benoit Blanc and I feel like he had an absolute blast reprising the role because throughout the movie he really embraces the script’s humor while injecting some of his own ideas into the role. I’m still not sure how I feel about his accent (which I also thought with the first “Knives Out” movie), but it was great seeing him onscreen and I think he might have found his first franchise post-James Bond. I also enjoyed Edward Norton as Miles Bron, I feel like he was able to perfectly strike that balance of charm and jerkiness (particularly near the end), and he was overall a joy to watch. Janelle Monáe also did a great job and everything she did made you want to keep your eyes on her while she was onscreen, particularly near the end. Monáe has been taking on more acting projects lately, and I really hope she stays with it because she seems to have good instincts on how to bring a character to life. 

Like the first “Knives Out” movie, throughout this outing, you are trying to find every puzzle piece to complete it all in your head. However, “Glass Onion” quickly became rather predictable and easy to solve, but it’s still really fun to watch everything unfold. The movie’s pacing is also well done and immerses viewers into each character’s backstory while also making you go back and forth between “Hmmm, maybe it’s them” and “Okay, maybe it’s NOT them,” which makes for a wild ride. I also liked how everything was kept pretty simple story-wise and how everything was written in such a way that everything could be followed, and EVERYTHING ends up coming full circle – it actually becomes more of a question of "How are they going to make that happen?" rather than "What's going to happen next?" Like the first film, “Glass Onion” is a fun watch and I had a good time watching the story unfold. I did notice there wasn’t quite as much drama as with the first movie, but I appreciated how “Glass Onion” is its own standalone story (though there is a quick callback to the first movie early on).

Overall, I had a good viewing experience with “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” and would give it B-plus grade. The Greek setting is absolutely stunning and every outdoor scene is a perfect vista. The ensemble cast is also fantastic and I enjoyed everyone’s performances, particularly Daniel Craig and Edward Norton in the lead roles, and I see more film roles coming for Janelle Monáe in the future. I had a fun time watching the story unfold, and the movie makes for an overall fun watch. If you’re a fan of the first “Knives Out” movie, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” currently streaming on Netflix.