2019 was an absolute banger of a year for film. You had Parasite, The Lighthouse, Midsommar, Uncut Gems, and of course Cats. When it came to comedy films, in my eyes, the best of that year had to be Knives Out. Director Rian Johnson, director of Brick, Looper, and one of the best Star Wars films of the past 2 decades, and I say that completely unironically, gave us a smart, tight and fun callback to the days of Agatha Christie and murder mysteries. The fact that the plot had very few holes, was cleverly written and discussed themes prevalent to the modern day made it an absolute success in my eyes. Hearing that Johnson was planning a follow-up with returning detective Benoit Blanc filled me with both excitement and caution. Was Knives Out lightning in a bottle, or could Johnson somehow replicate that magic once again?
Anyone doubting Johnson’s storytelling ability should absolutely think twice, because Glass Onion is more murderous, hilarious fun that does manage to replicate a lot of what I liked about the first film and inject it into a new setting, cast, and themes. An intriguing mystery and a colorful cast of unlikable characters are present in full force, though it did start to dawn on me how similar this film was to the first, and whether or not that was a bad thing.
Set on a private island owned by an eccentric tech billionaire, Detective Benoit blanc is once again roped into a mystery only he can solve. The possible suspects are just as silly and two-faced as the Thrombey family from the previous film. A hyper-masculine streamer, a fading Hollywood starlet, and a no-nonsense governor are just some of the big personalities present, all with something to gain. Like the first film, the cast is well acted, hilarious, and for the most part pretty deplorable. Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc is the only returning character from the first, and he’s just as fun to watch as ever. The film does a good job at fleshing out the character further, sticking him more at the forefront this time around that allows us deeper insight into his thought process and personal life. The accent hasn’t gotten old yet. The rich and famous are his suspects once again, with the ensemble certainly being a lot more colorful this time around. You’ve got Dave Bautista as a hyper-masculine streamer with a gun always on him, Kate Hudson as a washed-up supermodel, Kathryn Hahn as a governor running for a seat in the Senate, and Edward Norton as the brash billionaire hosting this get together of deplorables. The characters are intertwined rather nicely, which leads to a lot of different rabbit holes to dive down in their relationships. And I can’t talk about her too much, but Janelle Monae is very good here, giving a very unique performance that I can’t go into too much for spoilers sake. But I’ll just say her character is quite surprising and adds even more interesting layers to the film’s plot.
Johnson continues to show his strengths in concocting winding plots full of swerves, red herrings, and tiny clues that don’t feel either too left field or obvious. Maybe it’s because I’m catching onto his tricks, but I didn’t find this mystery as hard to figure out as the previous film’s. That being said, I still love how the film kept me second guessing myself, and even though it ended up where I anticipated, this was certainly more about the journey than the destination for me. It helps that I think the comedy tended to be a bit stronger this time around, as I thought some of the writing from the previous film was a bit cringe-inducing. While there aren’t as many lame jokes in this one, there’s still a decent amount of references to pop culture that occasionally both dates the film and makes it sound out of touch. Do people even still play Among Us?
While I really enjoyed this film, I do think it felt a bit too similar to the first at times, mainly in how the story progresses and how it seems to reuse some narrative beats. I get that this is maybe the type of style Johnson is settling on, but it did make me feel like I was watching the first film again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a positive at times, but I would’ve liked to see Johnson mix it up just a little bit more. Where the positive differences lie is in the film’s scope and production. Everything is bigger, more insane, and absolutely more expensive when you get a load of this set. From that point of view, it did what a sequel needed to do, and I commend the team for that.
Like its predecessor, Glass Onion is smartly written, comically acted to a T, and filled with enough false flags to make Arthur Doyle’s head spin. Even though it doesn’t deviate too much from the established formula, that might be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s certainly a film that warrants multiple watches, and now that its on Netflix you can do just that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go read all of the hate mail I’ve received for my The Last Jedi comment.
Glass Onion takes our favorite Kentucky fried detective Benoit Blanc from the stuff, vintage mansions of old money, to the glass-coated, self-stroking private islands of new money. The original Knives Out was one of the first few films I ever reviewed, and for that movie I made a cozy, warming, brown sugar old fashioned to fit the fall aesthetic. So this time around I wanted to make one more suited for the sandy beaches and tropical environment of the new film’s setting. For the Crystal Klear, I’m taking inspiration from the Cuban Breeze, a fairly popular cocktail that Birdie Jay is a fan of that contains pineapple and almond flavors, as well as the experimental energy source named Klear, with a K, that the island owner, Miles Bron, is looking to rush to the masses. The energy source is very crystalline in appearance, which immediately made me think of rock candy, so I thought it’d be fun to use some as a swizzler for the drink. It may be December at the time of writing, but I’m looking forward to Christmas on the beach.
- 2oz pineapple rum
- 1/2oz lime juice (clarified if possible)
- 1/2tsp almond extract
- Top: Sparkling water
- Garnish: Rock candy
- Add rum, lime juice, and extract to a rocks glass with ice.
- Top with sparkling water.
- Use rock candy stick to stir to combine.