“Glass Onion” is a sequel of sorts to “Knives Out”, starring Daniel Craig as detective Benoit Blanc. It is another Agatha Christie-style whodunnit, with a group of rich friends called together to a Greek Island by their billionaire ‘genius’ friend for a weekend of fun. Blanc himself gets an invitation, only for the millionaire to insist he didn’t invite him. Thus begins the mystery.

While “Knives Out” was an excellent whodunnit, “Glass Onion” is really more of a comedy/satire, poking fun at the eccentricities and excesses of the wealthy. It is quite obvious who is ultimately responsible, and as I NEVER work that out in films like these, that means if I got it, everyone’s going to get it.  (I was, in fact, sure I couldn’t possibly have it right because it was too obvious. However …)

The billionaire high-tech ’genius’, the has-been model, the social media influencer, the politician pretending to be green when she isn’t, the frustrated IT guy, the invitations inside not very sophisticated puzzle boxes … everything is poking fun at today’s society and its worship of the fake façade of online personalities. Nothing is real, but no one seems to care. This is not a mystery at all, but it is quite funny. That is something that will be quite disappointing for anyone looking for another complex murder mystery. It is ridiculously unrealistic, and obviously intended as such.

There are some good performances, particularly Craig, as well as Edward Norton’s pretentious alleged genius (really an idiot) who likes to use multi-syllable words and gets them all wrong, and Dave Bautista as a supposedly misogynistic social media influencer who clearly doesn’t believe a word he says but just says it to get followers, while being bullied by his mum. At least Craig’s accent seemed to have settled down to being just one thing (I suspect not particularly good), but at least not wandering all around the place like in the first movie.

The hint that this film is not really a mystery is in the title. What is a glass onion? It is something that only appears to have layers but is really transparent. The foolish millionaire who thinks he’s clever builds a great big transparent dome on his island and calls it the ‘glass onion’. You get the impression he thinks he’s being terribly deep, when he clearly does not have the intelligence for that kind of depth.

 The big finale, while having some comical moments, was not particularly clever. It consisted of one character starting to smash up the place, a bunch of other characters joining her, and then the character manages to trigger an explosion and sets fire to everything. In real terms she could be charged with arson, property damage etc. This is circumvented because the people who have previously perjured themselves for their own gain now realise that they no longer have anything to gain and switch their stories. It is another comment about the shallowness of rich people, but in real life it would not have saved the character from criminal charges.

Apparently, the director Rian Johnson said he wanted every ‘Knives Out’ movie to be completely different in story, tone and feel. I am not sure that a satire/comedy was the way to go, however. The detective needs to detect, and it felt like he didn’t have very much to do. In the climax where all the smashing and fire is occurring, he wanders off to smoke a joint with the red herring stoner guy. (This person kept wandering around and had nothing to do with the plot. The idea, one assumes, is that people are wondering about him instead of the main cast. As a red herring, he wasn’t really very successful. The most I wondered was if someone only thought to speak to him, he might have all the answers. Now that could have been funny.)

So, “Glass Onion” is not “Knives Out” quality, or anywhere near that. It is, at best, a mildly entertaining comedy that can only be enjoyed on that basis. If you’re looking for a murder mystery, this film is not it.

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