Knives Out is one of my favourite movies of all time. It’s a film that is so insanely well-written, so perfectly acted, so incredibly funny, and most of all, so shockingly clever in its execution. It completely shattered my expectations for what a whodunnit could deliver, even though I already adored the genre. How could someone do that twice? Well, I’ve no idea, but Rian Johnson did it anyway with Glass Onion.
The start of the movie had me worried almost immediately, with an unwelcome reminder of 2020 pandemic humour making me think that Netflix had warped the project into something it wasn’t supposed to be. However, this would not end up reflecting the rest of the film. From the second Craig’s Blanc steps on screen, Glass Onion becomes the Knives Out sequel I never thought possible. Somehow, it’s everything I loved about the original all over again, with a great new line-up of suspects, an exciting new setting, and an intriguing new mystery to follow.
After the original film, I thought I knew what to expect. That I had honed my own backseat detective skills and could predict the outcome. That I couldn’t possibly be as caught off guard as last time. And Rian Johnson took full advantage of that. Once again, I was blindsided by an elegant whirlwind of twists, rugpulls, and revelations. Once again, he went and flipped the entire genre on its head. And once again, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.
My favourite part about a whodunnit is that the audience has a role to play. You follow along, piecing things together with the detective, whilst also keeping an eye out for anything that could end up in the “IT WAS THEM ALL ALONG” reveal montage. This participation is what makes the film so wonderfully engaging. By playing along, you have your own personal stakes of wanting to beat the filmmakers at their own game. But by doing so, you play right into the palm of the director’s hand. This is what makes the surprises so earth-shattering. What makes the answers so satisfying. Most importantly, what makes the mystery so enjoyable to follow.
The direction from Johnson is just as impressive as last time, with shots that constantly grab your attention, being so handcrafted and particular in every detail. He guides the eyes of viewers like a dance across the screen, making them see exactly what he wants them to. His screenplay is equally brilliant, having that signature razor-sharp Knives Out wit, whilst also constructing such an exciting and immersive murder mystery. It’s so well-paced and knows the exact moments to lull you into a false sense of security before suddenly catching you off guard. The new cast further enhance the writing, with stand-out performances especially from Janelle Monáe and Edward Norton. However, I would be remiss not to talk about my favourite character of not just this film, but one of my favourite characters in all of cinema. “Enter…Benoit Blanc.”
Daniel Craig steals the show again as the charming detective. His suave yet likeable nature makes him even more enjoyable to watch than Craig as Bond. He just has so much fun with the character, and as a result, so does the audience. Following him as he tries to solve the mystery is so investing. Seeing his process, but also how he responds to how certain events play out is so compelling. Not to mention, he is simply hilarious, with some truly great line deliveries and monologues. I want to see so many more Benoit Blanc adventures. I just want to watch more of him in new scenarios with new casts. Knives Out went from a movie I never wanted to be ruined by a sequel to one I want to see a fully-fledged anthology franchise for. Rian Johnson and Daniel Craig need to make more movies together.
So, overall, this is quite honestly the biggest surprise of 2022 for me movie-wise. And it released right at the very end of the year no less. Is it as good as Knives Out? It’s a difficult question to answer. But that’s because it’s a sequel and I’m comparing it to a film I’ve watched countless times. It’s not so much a shift in quality as it is just something different. I was still floored by twists, cackled at jokes, and was fully immersed in the mystery the entire time. I loved Glass Onion, not because it’s another Knives Out, but because it complements the original so effortlessly. It does something totally new without losing the spark that the first one had. It proves that there is a future for more of these films and that it is a bright one. If you’re looking for a fun time, I implore you to peel this glass onion for yourself.