Andrea’s film review – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery ⭐⭐⭐ Review by Andrea Carnevali

Famed Southern detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece for his latest case. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery will be playing in selected cinemas and then on Netflix on 23 December.

In 2019 writer/director Rian Johnson, just off his gigantic (and controversial) Star Wars sequel, found refuge from the Twittersphere and its trolls in a modest little film called Knives Out for which he managed to recruit a huge cast from Jamie Lee Curtis, to Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Toni Colette, Christopher Plummer and many others.

At the helm, the biggest name of all, none other than James Bond himself, Daniel Craig, in the role of Benoit Blanc, an eccentric, colourful and heavily Southern accented version of Poirot.

With its whip-smart dialogue and its cracking sense of humour, the film played on nostalgia for whodunnit stories, poking fun at them while being legitimately suspenseful at the same time and in doing so it in such a way that it has re-energised the genre.

The film was hit, not just with the public, but with the critics too. A sequel seemed inevitable.

This time Rian Johnson tries to build on the winning formula and expand his scope in every possible way: the film is bigger, flashier, lusher and… longer. None of which makes it necessarily a better film, in fact it’s also a little bit looser and slower and at times it feels it’s over-reaching.

It certainly has its moments and it’s quite entertaining from time to time, but the good bits are a little bit too diluted in a lengthy middle section, which loses some of that sense of fun and the suspense which made the original unique.

The fact that it’s set in sun-dappled private Greek island and a lush glass house somehow plays against recreating that tension that existed within the classy confines of the house of the first film.

Daniel Craig by this time truly inhabits the vests of Benoit Blanc in all his goofiness and despite being a little bit two-dimensional, part of the fun of the film is to see him play against people like Ed Norton, Dave Bautista, Kate Hudson and Kathryn Hahn, all of whom are clearly more than happy to appear as silly as they can, but they are mostly caricatures rather than real human beings.

Meanwhile the plot that unravels in front of our eyes is at times so absurdly complicated that it actually feels quite a hard task to keep up with it and unpeel all the layers of the ‘onion’. It’s probably trying to be a little bit too clever, but let’s face it, this ain’t Agatha Christie.

It may all be dazzling, shimmering and lush to watch (courtesy of some great set design and costumes), but beyond the layers, the ‘glass onion’ is actually a little bit empty.

Andrea Carnevali is a Bafta winning film maker who lives in Chiswick, and a co-creator of the Chiswick In Film festival.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery will be playing in selected cinemas and then be available to watch on Netflix on 23 December.

See all Andrea’s film reviews here: Film reviews by Andrea Carnevali

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