Thursday, June 8, 2023

Movie Review: Peeling back the layers of “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

MosaicMovie Review: Peeling back the layers of “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Staff Writer

Do you like murder? Does the thought of betrayal and dark secrets being revealed give you a thrill? Do you get excited by identity theft and the rich elite abusing dangerous chemical compounds to take over the world? Well if you do, you might be in need of a psychiatric evaluation, but you might also enjoy the movie “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”

Set after the events of the first “Knives Out” movie, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” serves as a stand-alone sequel. The world renowned detective, Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig, returns to aid in solving another unpredictable murder. 

The film starts off with a group of middle aged friends, who call themselves the “disrupters,” receiving a package from their wealthy and influential friend, Miles Bron. These packages contain arguably complicated puzzles – though Blanc disagrees – that when solved reveal an invitation to a weekend retreat on Bron’s private Greek island. Once everyone arrives, they find Benoit Blanc, who also received a puzzle from Miles. Strangely, Blanc is not part of the disrupters group, so why would Miles invite him to the island? You’ll have to watch “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” to get the full picture.

To quote Benoit Blanc: “It’s just plain dumb.” 

I mean that in the most complimentary way. The plot of this film is genuinely a good time, but comes off often as super goofy. The film’s setting is a high tech island with robots and an hour bell that’s just a recording of Joseph Gorden-Levitt yelling.

Some characters are portrayed a bit unevenly in tone, so it’s hard to figure out if the character is playing stupid or is actually that dim-witted.

Throughout the movie we go through some of the popular cliches that are commonly seen in murder mystery films. The lights go out, someone unexpectedly gets murdered and there’s a big argument among the guests, leading to the last person who left becoming the main suspect. It’s your typical whodunnit, so don’t go in expecting the film to reinvent the wheel. You will be disappointed.

The film’s scenery is gorgeous. The backdrop of a Greek island is a refreshing take on the classic murder mystery setting. Films in this genre often have darker lighting and a colder atmosphere. 

Where this movie stands out is in its comedy and political commentary. Due to the film being set during the polarizing year of 2020, the COVID-19 and corrupt government officials play a heavy part in the film. It takes a stab at the difference between earning wealth through hard work and favoritism.

Unlike the original “Knives Out,” the clothing color scheme in this film is bright. The majority of costume color choices change with each scene, but blue and yellow can be seen in a lot of the clothing. The color choices pair nicely with the summer color scheme of the island. Distinct costumes help to reveal the personality of each character. 

Some stand-out performances in the film come from Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc and Janelle Monae as Andi/Helen. 

In the beginning of the film, Benoit Blanc plays the 2020 hit game “Among Us” while in the bathtub covered in mystery novels. From this scene onward, Blanc provides a very witty and cool portrayal of his character, with a clear compassionate undertone. This differs greatly from his one-dimensional basic detective character in the first “Knives Out.” One thing that doesn’t change, however, is Blanc’s crime-solving tendencies. 

Janelle Monae’s presence in this film surprised me. Janelle Monae is commonly known for her music and I had only seen her in the 2016 movie, “Hidden Figures.” Her impressive acting range is shown by her playing two very different characters in the film. She plays both Andi, a high society genius behind the creation of the extremely successful company, Alpha, who has personal beef with the other disruptors, and Helen, a southern down to earth teacher with a dark secret. Monae’s performance was given with such power, emotion and comedic acting. She uses her natural charm and distinct accent to highlight the subtle differences that make her characters unique. In other words, she was a “girl boss” in the film.

College students will enjoy the ethical discussions in the film as well as the portrayals of classism. Fans of comedy and/or murder mysteries will also enjoy the film. If you have a Netflix subscription, you have no excuse not to watch the movie. “Knives Out” fans might find it a little bit sillier than the original, but that’s part of the fun.

On the onion meter scale, I would rate this movie 4.5 out of 5 layers.




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