Glass Onion: Knives Out Review

The long-awaited sequel to the sequel to the first Knives Out, the film, a postmodern whudunit full of irony, arrives in cinemas for just one week from November 23rd, and on Netflix from December 23rd. Here is Federico Gironi’s review of Glass Onion – Knives Out.

I just awkwardly dumped half the popcorn basket kindly offered by Netflix when, on the cinema screen, it appears Rian Johnson for greetings and recommendations. Glass Onion – Knives Outhe says, in a nutshell, is a whodunit: so please try not to spoil it for your readers.
You will therefore understand, as it should be, because in these lines I will not be able to go into too much detail, and I will have to remain vague in many cases.
And yet I can say that, given the premise of Johnson, I would have expected something, from glass onion, which was only half that way. Just like my popcorn.
Because glass onion it’s a half whodunit, and passing it off as such in its entirety was perhaps not very nice. And even pure entertainment, of which popcorn is often synonymous in the language that revolves around the cinema, is only half such: the accident with the basket was somehow prophetic.

The premise of this new film in the series of Knives Out is similar to that of Invitation to dinner with crimea delicious parody of the classic thriller signed by NeilSimon and embellished by an all-star cast (look at it) in which Peter Sellers, David Niven, Peter Falk and Truman Capote stood out. Because, there as here, someone invites someone else to his house to investigate, more or less playfully, his murder.
In this case the host is Miles Bron (Ed Norton), a very wealthy tech magnate who has his own Greek island and a super-luxurious villa overflowing with works of art (“it looks like the Tate Modern”, he says at one point Kathryn Hahn, one of the guests). And it is no coincidence that the guests arrive on the island – all of them part of the rich man’s inner circle except Benoit Blanc, who doesn’t know what he ended up doing there in the middle – it has something Bondian, even musically. Because the postmodern slyness of Johnsononce given autonomous depth to the detective played by Craig in the first film, he could not play with the echoes of 007 embodied by its protagonist.

A billionaire invites his closest friends to an island to investigate his murder. It’s a game, of course. But we understand well, and Blanc understands it, that all five of these friends would have reasons to really see their guest dead.
Will Miles Bron really die? Or will someone else die? And why? Obviously it will be Benoit Blanc who will have to find out, and we with him.
Just that, and this is it a serious contravention of the implicit rules of the genreat some point it turns out that Johnson it has hidden fundamental elements, from the very beginning. To the characters in the film, everyone except a Blanc, who is the holder of these secrets, and to us spectators. Thus distorting the detection. And after this revelation, the discovery of the killer comes rather quickly, in the film, and following trajectories that are only partially overt.

All of this would matter little, given that in the Knives Out universe what really matters, especially to Johnson, is the game, rather than its resolution. What matters to the director, it was clear in the first film and even more so in this case, is the deconstruction of the formal and narrative rules of a genre which then leads to a new configuration dominated by colour, dynamism and irony. Pure postmodernism, where it is the experience of vision, and not the story, that counts. This and, as in the first film, more so than in the first film, social satire.
But that in the previous Dinner with crime was more subtle, and almost refined, if you will, while here it moves according to predictable and didactic coordinates, targeting, rather than certain social drifts, also told in the characters of Kate Hudson And Dave Bautistaespecially the grandeur egomaniac of the contemporary super rich, those who don’t understand (or maybe yes) if they are rich because they really are geniuses, or idiots, but clever and ruthless. Putting us in the middle, too, the class issues – sacrosanct, for heaven’s sake, but here a little phone calls – which are so fashionable in the corridors of Hollywood, perhaps to rinse away some stain from consciences.

Since these things, a Johnsonare particularly close to heart, here is his Glass Onion is not a whodunit, but a theme and thesis film. Yellow is just a pretext: for the thesis, of course, but also for the desire to disseminate the path not with clues but with ultra-pop quotes, references, winks.
Starting from the title, obviously derived from Beatles, passing through an easy and superfluous name dropping.
So, while remaining a basic bland fun, in the end it feels a bit like Benoit Blanc when he complains that he would have expected a complex challenge, worthy of his investigative genius, when everything was always obvious and, above all, in plain sight.
All obvious and in full view is also for us spectators. Because it doesn’t matter how many layers he wanted to put on Johnson around the heart of his film: they are all transparent.
A glass onion, in fact. Which won’t make you cry, which has its superficial appeal, but which, in the end, is little more than decorative.

Glass Onion: Knives Out Review