Directed by: Rian Johnson
Written by: Rian Johnson
2019’s Knives Out was a smashing success for Director and Writer, Rian Johnson. It holds a 97% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and audiences loved the film. Now Johnson is back with another Knives Out mystery, Glass Onion. With a great cast ensemble that includes Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Daniel Craig, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, and Dave Bautista you immediately get excited at the plot’s various possibilities.
Here comes the spoilers.
Detective Blanc (Daniel Craig) is hired by Helen Brand (Janelle Monáe), to investigate the death of her twin sister, Andi Brand (also Janelle Monáe), who was the former CEO of a technology company named Alpha. This company was co-founded by Miles Bron (Edward Norton). Andi and Miles had a disagreement over the safety of a hydrogen alternative fuel called Klear which resulted in Andi getting ousted from the company and a subsequent lawsuit trying to prove the original ideas versus testimony from Mile’s friends but ultimately lost. The suspicion Helen holds is someone murdered her sister when she found the original cocktail napkin where the idea for Alpha was born and written down, the napkin that would have proven her case and also proven perjury for all of those whose testimony sided with Miles.
Back to the plot, Miles is hosting a murder mystery weekend at his mansion, the Glass Onion, on his private island in Greece. Detective Blanc has Helen attend the event as her sister Andi and they take great efforts to delay the news of Andi’s death being released. Upon arrival Helen, playing Andi, is given harsh scowls and questions as to why she would come to the island. Additionally, some are perplexed why Detective Blanc is there, but assume since it is a murder mystery weekend he is there as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the weekend’s plans. Miles also believes this is an inside joke with the Detective being there.
As we meet other friends of Miles, we get quickly acquainted with Internet Streamer Duke Cody (Dave Batista), his girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline), fashion designer Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), Birdie’s assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick), Governor Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), and Alpha Scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.). We get small glimpses into their relationship with Miles and how he has significant influence over each of them. Miles goes on to flex his wealth and shows the group he has the actual Mona Lisa on loan from the Louvre. At the dinner where Miles wants to begin the Murder Mystery weekend event, Blanc solves the murder mystery instantly, much to the dismay of Miles. Shortly thereafter, tensions over Andi’s presence culminate in her storming off and Duke falls over dead.
The group sees that he drank from Miles’ glass which contained pineapple juice, which he is highly allergic to. Then they notice his gun is missing. Suspecting Andi is the culprit, the party splits up to find her. Blanc finds her and while he is talking with her someone shoots her. Blanc gathers everyone and informs them he has solved Andi’s murder.
This is where the film goes into an extended flashback to fill in the gaps. The audience gets some questions answered and more insights into our characters. This slightly new perspective changes how we feel about the characters and their motives. The choices in editing and utilizing this flashback are a stroke of brilliance. The director and writer are providing the audience with more details and filling in the gaps to further deepen the layered story to our quirky characters. Ultimately the story is still straightforward, but with such interesting characters, I will stop here with the spoilers. There are a few more surprises and an explosive ending that sees Miles become infamous and justice being served for all parties involved.
Rian Johnson has another success with Detective Blanc and I know that comparisons to Agatha Christie’s Detective Poirot will be made, but I feel there is enough distinction between the two characters. Also given the time periods both franchises are operating in, there is plenty of room for both to exist. As long as these films bring us interesting characters and twisted plots, audiences can definitely expect more films in the future for both detectives.
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Writing Movie Wrongs (MovieWrongs.com) was created by Author Jim West to show how great storytelling is built on strong writing. In each review, he aims to highlight points in film that capture what the medium is capable of, or provide feedback on small improvements that would make a huge difference to the story’s plot. Read more about Jim West at JimWestAuthor.com.