Glass Onion

Where I Watched it: Netflix

Audio Description Provided By: International Digital Center

Written by: Steven Christopher

Narrated By: Jamie Lemcheck

A few years back, Knives Out was all the rage and the hotness among film twitter. it had Oscar buzz, but really just managed a screenplay nomination. We are back, thanks to Netflix ordering two sequels, with Glass Onion, which once again is in the Oscar race, and very likely to again get a screenplay nomination.

Knives Out wasn’t one of my favorite films from that year, though i did appreciate it. I can say that I think Glass Onion is better, but it still had some minor issues that kept it from greatness.

What Rian Johnson does here, is craft a well rounded mystery. From the beginning to the end, this feels like its own thing. A billionaire invites his closest friends to his mansion for a murder mystery party. The mansion is on an island, and its called the Glass Onion. And that’s how we get our cast of characters, including our detective (Daniel Craig), blazing his own trail as a new master sleuth, and everyone else in the cast from Dave Bautista to Janelle Monae.

I can’t really go too deep into the plot, because it is very twisty, and unexpected, so spoilers are bound to come out. But I also ahve to somehow convey my problems here. I would say there’s a distinct reason why Monae is getting so much attention, and it’s more than just her performance. It’s that the structure of the film gives her far more to do than her other party counterparts, at least by the end of the film. It’s something that Johnson struggles with in the beginning, when he needs to introduce everyone, and put you in a world where anyone could be a suspect. After all, at the top of the film, no one is dead, right?

So, he plays with that, waiting for this “murder mystery” to start, and your expectations of what likely will happen. Of course, this film is fairly well written, so it subverts your expectations, but in doing so, it also kind of stops evolving most of the cast. At a certain point, it seems to leave a chunk of the cast behind, which makes it really hard to believe any of them could be the killer, because the film so heavily focuses on essentially a trio of the main cast.

And while the twist is a doozy, it does kind of limit the whodunit part, because of how the structure shifts. ANd I think that’s the only thing I didn’t think worked. Shoving many of the supporting cast to the side, just to tell this twisty story that will surprise you, but also make you realize they really stopped evolving other characters. Like, at a certain point, it feels like some of them were given direction to just stand around and react. And there are some really talented people in this cast, not just the aforementioned ones, but Kate Hudson, Edward Norton, Leslie Odom Jr, and others. The cast balance was better in Knives Out, but that was a very different film.

To be fair, lots of people love the hell out of this, and so do i. i just wonder if Rian had taken another look at this script, was there a better way to keep the whodunit a mystery longer, without sacrificing his twist? I think so. I didn’t have a problem with the runtime, which was about 2:20, because something was always happening.

And the audio description here does some difficult navigating. There are a lot of little clues that would be available to a sighted person, but when it’s pointed out, in audio description, would stand out as something we were supposed to pay attention to because it’ll be important later. It’s hard to mention things like sleights of hand, when drawing attention to them gives it all away. So, they had to figure out just what exactly we were allowed to know, without revealing too much. A very tough balance, but executed well through Christopher’s AD script.

Definitely check out this film. And try to do so before someone ruins it for you. The twist really is quite clever, and even if you think I ruined it here, i didn’t. It’s pretty hard to see this one coming.

Final Grade: A-

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