In THE GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (2022), the world’s great detective Benoit Blanc returns to solve another mystery, this one rich with sharp social commentary. Overall, I liked it more than I thought I would, as it’s fun and playful and over the top, though I’m not sure about that ending. Let me explain.
The movie begins with a group of influencers receiving a puzzle from billionaire Miles Bron, their financial benefactor who made their careers. We have a governor, scientist, fashion designer and former model, and men’s rights Tik Tok personality. Also attending is Bron’s old business partner Andi Brand, whom he cut out of their business empire and none other than Benoit Blanc himself. The puzzle is an invite to travel to Bron’s Greek island during the pandemic to have a “disruptor” weekend. The plan is for a fake murder mystery to occur, but when a very real murder occurs, Blanc must put his formidable detective skills to the case.
As a mystery, it’s pretty good. Everyone is a suspect, most of the characters are not terrific people and people we wouldn’t mind seeing in handcuffs, and the setting is pretty cool. There’s some good sleight of hand in both the story and the filmmaking technique. I did guess the murderer fairly early, and I usually suck at solving mysteries, so I’m not sure if others found that to be the case for them, but that’s okay, I don’t mind winning one once in a while. As a comedy, it’s amusing enough to have kept me engaged. Nothing laugh out loud for me, as the comedy leans on easy desperate celebrity stereotypes, but it was fun. The cast included great actors, who all delivered great performances.
As social commentary, the film thematically takes aim at the ridiculous myth of the billionaire genius and the corruption of both wealth and how wealth is confused with virtue. Spouting business technobabble and utterly narcissistic and manipulative, Bron comes across as a cross between Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and every other billionaire we put on a pedestal. In the end, he gets his own comeuppance in a sequence that was satisfying for a “tax the billionaires out of existence starting with Musk” guy like me (looking at Bron’s palace, I actually said aloud what ends up happening), but I’m not sure it really fit the movie, it felt a little disjointed.
Overall, though, I liked THE GLASS ONION. That kind of comic ensemble mystery isn’t really my thing, but they make it just fun and engaging enough for me to come along for the ride.