Knives Out sequel is a total blast.

Rian Johnson’s rhythmic success Knives outmovie about everyone who loved it when it was released in 2019 (I remember watching it Thanksgiving weekend with a multi-generational pack of relatives, the last time we ‘ laughing together in a theater to go on three years now), it was all about the way he revived a genre that was all but savage: the Hearing-style murder mystery. Gather a bunch of movie stars playing different social types in a closed, remote location (as it happened, a Gothic mansion in Massachusetts), eliminate one of their number in mysterious circumstances, and contact a famous detective throughout the world (picture Daniel Craig. super-sleuth Benoit Blanc) to out the killer: What could be a simpler basis to hang a far from simple story involving class privilege , a generational war, a triple-hidden plot twist, and an instant meme-able jumper?

This Thanksgiving, Johnson is back with Glass onion, is not a sequel in the usual sense, as the setting and all but one of the characters are completely changed. Instead, it’s a new Benoit Blanc mystery, a conceptual throwback to the days of the Pink Panther or Sherlock Holmes, when colorful crime-solving was the only constant between one universe and another. something else (More recently, Kenneth Branagh has also revived Hercule Poirot for Massacre on the Orient Express and Death on the Nilebut despite a strong box-office performance, neither of them had the potential Knives out or that detective’s amazing mustache.) The case that Blanc cracks this time has to do not with a rich family’s battle over inherited properties but with a group of old friends reuniting for a weekend on a very beautiful private island. Their host, tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton), has invited this array of influencers to what he plans to be a murder-themed party, where he will be symbolically encouraged and the their job is to find out who among them. he did and why.

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Introduced early in a split screen phone conversation are those who are more willing to be suspicious. Birdie (Kate Hudson) is a washed-up model who passes herself off as a brave informant online, to the horror of her disgraced reporter (Jessica Henwick). Lionel (Leslie Odom Jr.) is a brilliant scientist who is currently working with Miles on a secret project. Duke (Dave Bautista), who arrives with a girlfriend named Whiskey (Madelyn Cline), is a men’s rights YouTube star trying to move into a more legitimate media space. Claire (Kathryn Hahn) is the governor of Connecticut, a silver-tongued neoliberal with ethical conflicts behind the scenes. And Andi (Janelle Monáe) is Miles’ ex, who helped him build the software that made him rich only to be cheated out of sharing the profits. For reasons no one can fathom, Benoit Blanc, although not a member of this extended group of “outlaws,” has also been invited on their luxury yacht to a Greek island retreat that Miles has named after the title song of the Beatles.

Blanc soon unravels the mystery Bron has planned for the gathering, upsetting his host. But there are harder enigmas to follow, ones that I will note only by noting, as in the first one. Knives out, the shifts in our understanding of the matter are often the result of changes in perspective, as the same events are revisited from the viewpoints of different characters. A clip on social media on Birdie’s phone features Yo-Yo Ma in one of many star cameos. (Angela Lansbury, Stephen Sondheim, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Natasha Lyonne—all of whom have appeared in or written their own murder mysteries—share a memorable early Zoom screen later, and later there is a short and more random scene from his special world-class athlete.) As the famous cellist chokes down a piece of pizza, he explains the concept of the music of exile. Like many others inside Glass onion, here’s a clue in plain sight: the upcoming film will follow a fugal structure, with the same key events recurring in different contexts.

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The intricate puzzle box design doesn’t click together as pleasantly as it did in the first one Knives out, and the identities of all the suspects are not so well identified. Some of them, especially Odom Jr.’s signature characters. and Hahn, coming off more like game pieces ordered by Colonel Mustard or Mrs. Peacock than fleshed-out individuals. But Johnson’s twist-filled script and gag-filled frame offer something that many contemporary blockbusters don’t: tune into the audience’s emotional response in the moment. Like Hitchcock, another prolific genre filmmaker, Johnson knows how to pace a film so that it alternates rhythmically between laughter and suspense, tension and catharsis, while play on the viewer’s expectations of what it should be like. Seeing Glass onion in a packed theater, all of us nodding and gasping in unison, it was an incredibly satisfying social experience, making it all the more sad that the film only gets a one-week qualifying run in cinemas before streaming on Netflix starting December 23rd. .

After nearly a decade of contract tuning as James Bond, it looks like Daniel Craig is getting a good shot of hour.

If the Oscars had an ensemble acting award, Glass onion it would be a lock to announce. The conversation is fast paced and verbally dense, and everyone in the volleys toss it back and forth with so much gusto and obvious enjoyment. Norton is sarcastic in his dismissal of the software-engineer-as-visionary cult that gave us an impotent world run by the likes of Elon Musk – although Miles is more of a hippie-dippy-oriented on the status of Steve Jobs, greeting his guests barefoot and strumming Paul McCartney’s guitar. Hudson plays Birdie, who is very shy as a witch but thinks she’s a dame straight out of a screwball comedy. And Monáe, a musician who has mostly acted in dramatic roles in the past, gets a chance to play comedy while the initially glum Andi shows an unexpected vulnerability . As for Daniel Craig, after nearly a decade of contract tuning as James Bond, he seems to be enjoying his time as the polite but persistent Blanc, savoring every line as if it was a sip of top-drawer bourbon, his harvest Knives out pastel-forward resort clothes replace tweed (Jenny Eagan is again in a gorgeous, goofy outfit).

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John Lennon wrote the song “Glass Onion” (which plays during the closing credits of this film) as fun. The lyrics are a nonsensical string of red herrings designed to attract the kind of obsessive Beatles fans who spin wild interpretive theories out of every lyric. is a little unclear. The song’s joke is summed up in the image of the title – a glass onion is something at once intricately layered and transparent, complex yet simple, delicately constructed for no other reason than to ‘ create something beautiful. Renaming the phrase as the name for an empty-headed billionaire’s high-tech pleasure dome was a bit of satire on Rian Johnson’s part, but it works as a metaphor for his film. too.


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