TIFF22: ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’: A Frighteningly Hilarious Whodunit for Our Time

**Rest assured, the following review DOES NOT contain spoilers for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. You just might wish it did, though**

The 2022 Toronto International Film Festival saw the premiere of the Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Sequels can be challenging to execute effectively. What this movie has done, however, is take the best parts of the original entry, and expand the lore in a most satisfying way. Gone is the warm embrace of Chris Evans’ cable-knit sweaters. In its place is the blinding light of a Greek island, where gorgeous scenery cannot hide the sinister happenings underfoot. Glass Onion: A Knives-Out Mystery is nothing less than a breathtakingly gorgeous work of art.

All of the glitz, glamour, and famous works of art can’t hide the moral bankruptcy of this lifestyle, given permission to exist by a capitalist society. Truly, this movie delves into just how shallow the concept of being an “influencer” or even a “disrupter” is, as the characters interact with one another and have to face themselves. Each character is deeply flawed, and caught up with one another because of choices that were made and the deeply flawed system in which they find themselves. 

As expected, the ensemble cast is practically perfect. This is a top-tier combination of some of the best A-list stars working today. Too often, when so many stars occupy the screen, it becomes a fight for the spotlight that detracts from the story. Thankfully, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery does not fall into this trap. Daniel Craig proves yet again that he understood the assignment with his Benoit Blanc repeating his sardonic wit and earnest professionalism. This character is made that much better by those around him. 

Dave Bautista, Madelyn Cline in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Photo by John Wilson/Netflix © 2022 – © 2022 Netflix, Inc.

Kate Hudson gets a chance to show off her comedic chops, while making viewers incredibly uncomfortable when asked to confront our own ignorance. Leslie Odom Jr. uses his gravitas to create a character who’s just about understandable, until everything around him shatters. Kathryn Hahn is a literal goddess in every way and doesn’t let us forget it. Dave Bautista uses his deadpan comedy to enact a sinister, unsympathetic villain of sorts who is incredibly easy to hate. Suffice to say, Whiskey (Madelyn Cline) deserves so much better. Peg (Jessica Henwick) is the friend and confidante we all need to call us out on our shenanigans.

Edward Norton is a perfect villain in so many ways. It’s not just the fact that his enormous wealth makes him detestable. It’s his airs, and attitude of entitlement that really drags this character down many notches. It’s next to impossible not to feel murderous rage watching this character exist in the world. The fact that he considers himself a self-made man, smarter than everyone else around him, is all the more infuriating once the truth is revealed. This character is a reminder that there are no truly self-made men, and anyone who says otherwise is lying to you.

Janelle Monáe is the real star of this show. She shows off her full acting range, and it is vast. Even in her character’s least sympathetic moments, she is always endearing. The way Monáe is able to reveal each layer of her character is the most enchanting part of this story, by far. You’ll want to know so much more about this character. The depth Monáe brings to this performance elevates everyone around her. It’s hard to overstate just how essential her character is to bringing the entire story together.

Janelle Monáe in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Photo by John Wilson/Netflix © 2022 – © 2022 Netflix, Inc.

What Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery does is invite viewers to ask themselves how smart they think they are. Are you someone who prides themselves on knowing the outcome from the outset, boasting to those watching with you that the story will never deviate from expectations? Or do you follow each and every twist and turn intently to an explosive conclusion, having enjoyed the ride immensely and learned something along the way? 

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is a triumph of a mystery that never lets up through its entire runtime. It never relies on its predecessor to keep viewers engaged. From beginning to end, this is a whodunit of epic proportions. Everything always brought back to the social commentary the story is trying to make. You the viewer are sure to enjoy the ride, as well as come away observing the layers we build around ourselves as individuals and as a society, and why. 

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery comes to Netflix December 23, 2022

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