Comedy Drama

Murder Most Superficial: A TIFF Review of ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’

September 14, 2022Ben MK

How do you craft a compelling whodunit? If you're Rian Johnson, the writer and director behind such films as Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and, of course, Knives Out, you start with a compelling script, and then you assemble an amazing ensemble cast, including Daniel Craig as the lead, to bring it all to life. Fast forward three years, and that's exactly the formula Johnson appears to have followed for the highly anticipated sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Yet, despite all the pieces seemingly being in place, the result ends up being somewhat less than the sum of its parts.

Set in 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, the story finds world famous detective Benoit Blanc (Craig) feeling completely out of sorts. It's been far too long since he's had a genuinely head-scratching case to solve; and in the meantime, playing Among Us on Zoom with the likes of some of his most popular celebutante friends just isn't cutting it. Luckily, a peculiar puzzle box containing an extremely exclusive invitation to a murder mystery-themed weekend at the mansion of reclusive tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) soon arrives. And before long, Benoit finds himself on a yacht destined for Bron's private island in Greece, along with six of Miles' closest friends and fellow "disruptors." The fun-filled getaway abruptly takes a decidedly more serious turn, however, when one of these six guests is mysteriously murdered, leaving the rest of them wondering who could be next. But who could have committed the shocking crime? And what could possibly have been their motive?

Starring Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., Madelyne Cline, Jessica Henwick and Janelle Monáe, along with a slew of celebrity cameos and pop culture references along the way, what follows is much more of a showier, glossier spectacle than its predecessor. That said, Glass Onion still doesn't top the sheer masterpiece that was the first movie. For when you peel back the layers, the lack of ingenuity becomes crystal clear.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery screens under the Special Presentations programme at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 19 min.

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