Of Andrew Minchella
GLASS ONION- KNIVES OUT, by Rian Johnson (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, United States 2022, 140 min.).
Battleship Netflix lands on the platform the day before Christmas with the second episode of “Dinner with Crime” of 2019 and scores record ratings. In fact, “Glass Onion” is the perfect product for families who gather in front of the television at Christmas to spend a few hours of leisure with unpretentious films and without particular subliminal meanings. Christmas film/television product must relax, make you smile, but never make you think or instill anxiety and anguish. And so Netflix, which bought the rights to this sort of “franchise” conceived by Rian Johnson for a record amount (the third chapter will be released very soon), decides to make a more complex and eventful story than the first but which always follows that “Agatha Christie” yellow genre that never tires especially if updated and well told. “Glass Onion” in fact touches on the main stages of the development of a classic thriller, but inserts elements and characters of the contemporary age and society.
In addition to Detective Benoit Blanc, who looks like a character halfway between Liberace and Poirot, stands out the billionaire Miles Bron whose figure seems an unprecedented mix between the “nerd” Mark Zuckerberg and the self-centered Elon Musk. Among the characters, little studied but deliberately described only in the most superficial characteristics, we find various stereotypes that clog the light and useless topicality that inhabits many “social media”. There is the elderly model who is looking for a revenge in fashion. There is the gymnastic/tattooed/vain man who gets rich thanks to his “performances” (we don’t know of what) that made him a millionaire. There’s the senator who just betrayed her electorate by endorsing a polluting power plant. There is the “green” scientist who does not hesitate to change ideas if correctly remunerated. Closing the team of characters is the beautiful Helen who years earlier had created, together with Miles Bron, a gigantic energy company from which, however, at a certain point she had been ousted due to ethical differences with her partner.
The story centers on the billionaire Bronplayed by a tired and very aged Edward Norton, who invites his old friends for a weekend of play and relaxation in his sumptuous villa lost in the Greek sea. That villa becomes the stage where fake, real and alleged murders take place and where the guests, all connected to the landlord, will do anything to continue to be special friends of the eccentric Bron.
The story, more dynamic and articulated than the first chapter, is however faded in favor of a frenetic movement of the characters and their stories. The explanation that Detective Blanc, played by a brilliant Daniel Craig, provides us during the story seems to be redundant if applied to a too linear and unsurprising sequence of events. The rhythm and shooting technique are balanced and the actors manage to impart a discreet charm to the unfolding of the story. But overall the film seems to be a faded copy of the first, already with several substantial shortcomings.
Netflix also spends millions of dollars to ensure products that are certainly well made but which do not dare too much and which are full of viewers in periods, such as Christmas, in which quantity wins over quality and on the homogeneity of the proposed offer. Netflix, however, ensures, also thanks to products like these, the freedom to produce or distribute more particular and poetic works such as, for example, the imminent “The Lying Life of Adults” taken from the work of Elena Ferrante.
DINNER WITH MURDER, by Robert Moore (Murder by Death, United States 1976, 94 min.).
A unique film of its kind. It’s not just a parody of the detective story that still had so much to say in those years. The presence of Peter Sellers, David Niven, Peter Falk and of the writer Truman Capote transforms this film into a witty and humorous portrayal of genre cinema and literature that often takes itself too seriously.
The work dismantles the self-referentiality of many authors, writers and actors who often live suspended and far from the public which, in reality, can decide their success or extinction. Delightful film that is worth it to review.
minchella seen revised – MALPENSA24
VISTO&RIVISTO The power of Netflix and the weakness of ideas – MALPENSA24