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TIFF Film Review: Rian Johnson Has Even More Twisty Fun In Store For You With ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’

Netflix
Netflix

Confession: I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Knives Out. I like it plenty, but seemingly less than most. However, when it really came together in the third act, I got the fuss. So, here at the Toronto International Film Festival, I went into Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery with lower expectations than most. Lo and behold, this is better in nearly every manner, turning an entertaining whodunit into a franchise, and an instantly upper echelon one at that. Clearly identifiable as a sequel but with very much its own vibe, there’s tons to like here. Believe the hype out of TIFF, and then some.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a blast. The film finds its rhythm very early on, making it incredibly smooth sailing. Moreover, this is the rare twisty movie that makes every reveal an improvement on the prior one. By the time the flick ends, it’s impossible not to have a giant smile on your face.

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This sequel centers on a weekend getaway for billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) and his friends. Inviting them to a getaway on his private Greek island, the group includes Connecticut Governor and Senate candidate Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), model and fashion designer Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), men’s rights activist Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), scientist and Miles employee Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), as welll as Cassandra “Andi” Brand (Janelle Monáe), who used to be Miles’ partner, until a failing out. Also included is Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), a stranger among the group.

Despite not knowing how he was invited, Miles is excited to have the detective on hand, since he has a murder mystery game set for the weekend. Then, someone is murdered. As accusations fly and the threat of a higher body count begins begins to rise, our hero jumps into action. The less said about what happens next, the better, but it’s often a riot. Trust in the magic of Glass Onion.

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Daniel Craig seems to be having so much fun with this role. He wears Benoit Blanc not just with pride, but with a smile on his face. Craig knows just how enjoyable this all is. It’s not hard to imagine that he’ll want to play Blanc for decades to come. This time around, the supporting players are just as much of a riot. Janelle Monáe and Edward Norton leave the biggest impression, but that takes nothing away from Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Kate Hudson, and Leslie Odom Jr. The A-list yet somewhat contained cast also includes Madelyn Cline, Ethan Hawke, and Jessica Henwick.

Filmmaker Rian Johnson is at the height of his powers here. This is very different than Knives Out, but always clearly existing in the same world. You can just imagine him grinning as he sees his vision coming together. The increase in scale is quite impressive and effectively done, in particular when it comes to the production design, which is phenomenal. Now, at about two and a half hours, it’s a movie that could have stood to have been a little shorter, but that’s a relatively small complaint, considering all that Glass Onion has to offer.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is the sort of twisty fun that Rian Johnson does so well. This may be the crown jewel of the Netflix slate here in 2022, as well as one of the more universally praised highlights of TIFF this year. Whether you liked Knives Out of not, this sequel is an improvement in nearly every way, so it’s a film to very much look forward to…

SCORE: ★★★1/2

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Written by Joey Magidson

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