‘Glass Onion’ refines the ‘Knives Out’ formula in a polished Netflix sequel



CNN

Facing the challenge of matching its successful predecessor, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” keeps the formula crisp, with a setup that seems even more obvious as an Agatha Christie homage before a series of twists and turns kicks in. extremely intelligent. Writer-director Rian Johnson once again assembles a solid cast behind Daniel Craig, but it’s his use of language, where not a word is wasted, that ultimately gives the sequel its edge.

Netflix opportunistically stepped up to acquire the “Knives Out” franchise, and aside from its usual “Stroke the filmmakers’ egos” approach to theatrical distribution, it will actually give the film a one-week wide release just before it hits the streaming service in late December. Most people will probably still wait to consume it in the comfort of their own home, but for those who do take the plunge, it certainly plays well with an appreciative audience.

After the family dynamic in “Knives Out,” which gave everyone a reason to kill the patriarch, Johnson tries his hand at a different setting, with an eccentric billionaire, Miles Bron (Edward Norton), inviting his old group over. of friends on a murder-mystery getaway (during Covid, no less) to their isolated Greek island, where they will be tasked with solving his “murder”.

The game, however, takes an unexpected turn, starting with the invitation to Craig’s master detective Benoit Blanc, who remains brilliant and strange in equal measure.

As for the eclectic list of guests/potential killers (and/or victims), they include a fashion designer/social media loose cannon (Kate Hudson) and her partner (Jessica Henwick), a fitness influencer (Dave Bautista) and his girlfriend. /partner (Madelyn Cline), a scientist (Leslie Odom Jr.), a politician (Kathryn Hahn) and, most intriguingly, Miles’ former business partner (Janelle Monáe).

While the latest film obviously lacks the sense of discovery that greeted the original, and even made Chris Evans’ sweater a must-have item (Chris Evans not included), Johnson is enough smart enough to recognize that even though it’s about reloading, not reinventing. , the change of venues can still refresh the formula.

Craig, moreover, is clearly playing with this new signature role, trading in his tuxedos and physicality for a more cerebral form of crime-fighting, with a Hercule Poirot-like gift for listening and a Foghorn Leghorn Southern twang.

In one of those “Kneel before Zod!” flexes, Netflix would have paid a fortune to acquire these sequels, which frankly is the kind of deal that threatens to take a fun little movie and screw it up by creating unreasonable expectations.

Fortunately, “Glass Onion” finds new layers to explore, in a way that makes the prospect of a new “Knives Out Mystery” every few years sound like a perfectly reasonable idea, wherever and however you choose to consume it.

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” opens Nov. 23 in U.S. theaters and Dec. 23 on Netflix. It is rated PG-13.

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