‘Glass Onion’: A Sharp Sequel to ‘Knives Out’

“Glass Onion,” directed by Rian Johnson, hits Netflix on Dec. 23 after already having a limited one-week release in theaters. The film centers on Daniel Craig’s character, Benoit Blanc, returning from “Knives Out,” after he is invited by a tech billionaire to a private island to join the billionaire and his friends for a murder mystery game. 

However, the mystery quickly becomes real, requiring Blanc to put together the clues to discover the killer. Craig’s performance is as engaging as it was in the first film, as he depicts Blanc with humor while still showing the character’s intelligence. As with “Knives Out,” the film features a script with an engaging mystery featuring surprising twists and plenty of humorous moments, with the sequel featuring more comedy than the original.

Outside of Daniel Craig, the standouts of “Glass Onion’s” ensemble are Janelle Monáe as Andi Brand and Edward Norton as Miles Bron. Janelle Monáe’s performance as Brand, Bron’s ex-business partner, is layered, as Monáe portrays Brand with a cold facade which masks her anger and pain at being betrayed by her friends. 

As the film progresses, Monáe shows Brand’s facade crack, showing the character’s anger at her former friends, as well as her underlying amiable nature through her interactions with Blanc. Brand was ousted from her company by Edward Norton’s Miles Bron, a tech billionaire who owns the Glass Onion compound. Norton’s performance as Bron is suitably eccentric, as he satires the stereotype of the tech billionaire.

One of “Glass Onion’s” strongest aspects is its use of satire. Similarly to “Knives Out,” every character plays into an archetype. Each of these characters is a strong component of the film’s ensemble, thanks to Rian Johnson’s script, as well as the performances of the cast. 

Outside of Craig, Monáe and Norton, the film’s cast includes Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick and Madelyn Cline. While all of these performances are strong, the most notable are Hudson and Bautista. Kate Hudson plays supermodel Birdie Jay, who she portrays with a vapid naivete that causes her to be consistently hilarious throughout the film, as well as a biting commentary on celebrity stereotypes. Dave Bautista’s performance as Duke Cody, is similarly hilarious and biting due to how his performance satires the persona of online streamers. Specifically, Bautista’s Cody functions as a mockery of the “alpha male” online persona, with his performance causing the character to come across as obnoxious and egotistical. 

Despite these characters being satires of archetypes, all of the actors in the film successfully prevent their characters from completely falling into stereotypes, with each character having some depth.

Outside of having an engaging plot and characters, the film also features a visually interesting location, both in terms of Bron’s private island, as well as his mansion on it. The outdoor scenes involving the island were filmed on-location on the Spetses island in Greece, allowing the film to capture its natural beauty. The mansion, which is the titular Glass Onion, also features a complex design that the film makes great use of as the characters attempt to unravel the film’s mystery. Overall, “Glass Onion” is a must-watch for fans of 2019’s “Knives Out,” or for anyone looking for a fun mystery film.

By Ryan Abraham