Is ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ really a mystery? 

By Caroline Stanton

I approached this movie with a completely open-minded and fresh perspective because I had never seen the original “Knives Out” movie that premiered in 2019. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is a spin-off of the original, and followed the same protagonist Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig, as he worked to solve a classic tongue-in-cheek murder mystery. I haven’t seen a lot of movies that compared to this one, but I enjoyed it for what it was. The cast all played their parts phenomenally, and the cinematography was exceptional. However, the plot itself left a little to be desired and there were glaring holes in the plot that never got answered. 

The movie contained several mysteries that were unknown to the viewer as well as the characters. I was trying to solve a series of mysteries myself while I watched the characters do the same. Right off the bat, the movie introduced four main characters and a random side girlfriend, all of whom were working with this mega-rich and powerful illusive man, Miles Bron. They all seemed to fear him and were willing to do anything for him, and it’s never explained well who this guy was or why exactly he had several minions that worked for him at his will. All of the main characters seemed very random and unrelated to each other, and I didn’t buy that an extremely liberal congresswoman would be all too excited to hang out with a right-wing men’s rights activist all weekend. 

I don’t think that director Rian Johnson intended for the eclectic cast of characters to distract from the viewer being completely on edge about the murder mystery being played, but in my opinion it definitely did. I had to ignore the obvious awkwardness and unbelievable dynamics between characters, rather than have their relationships add depth and interest to the movie. 

Given that the whole plot felt very random to me and had a lot of holes, the ending came as no surprise. I felt like I could sense who the killer was since the first twenty minutes of the movie, making the whole premise a very weak mystery. There was one huge plot twist that took me by surprise which I appreciated, but other than that the movie moved on in a pretty predictable way and ended anticlimactically. 

The interpersonal relationships of the ensemble cast have priority over the mystery.

One of the main frustrations that I felt about this film was the very abrupt recap that took place after about 40 minutes. The storyline was moving along very standardly, when out of nowhere the viewer is thrust back into time and gets a shocking twist on one of the key characters. The momentum of the movie and the mystery kind of gets lost when we learn this key new information, and I think the movie would have made a lot more logical sense if they allowed the plot to develop in chronological order. The random recap did nothing but add chaos and confusion for me. 

“Glass Onion” had a severe lack of many mystery or thriller aspects that I was hoping the movie would contain more of, such as more action scenes or scarier elements to make it more interesting. Even with these more intense scenes being noticeably absent, I still enjoyed a lot of the more technical aspects of this film. It was filmed on location at a remote island in Greece, and the whole movie had a very resort feel because of that. 

The movie leaned very hard into the name “Glass Onion,” and a lot of the interior of the home that the characters are staying at is filled with sleek designs and plenty of glass. As the mystery eventually gets uncovered, the glass is slowly smashed one piece at a time, signifying the unpeeling of the Glass Onion to reveal the truth of the killer. The characters also get more complex as the movie goes on, with each one revealing unexpected qualities that broke the stereotypes that I had placed on them at the beginning of the movie. This was also an aspect of the Glass Onion, not only were they living at a place called The Glass Onion, but every single person was a glass onion with many layers of personality to be peeled back. 

Overall, I would say that Glass Onion is more of a commentary on interpersonal relationships than a murder mystery. While watching, my mind was more focused on why these people were so loyal to Miles than wondering for myself who the killer was. It was disappointing as a mystery, but decent overall for a movie. It kept my attention enough to get through it, but I was never on the edge of my seat like I expected to be when watching the trailers. It’s a fine movie to turn on if you have nothing else to watch, but I wouldn’t recommend putting your life on halt to watch it. 

I give “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” a 6.5/10. 

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is now available on Netflix

Caroline Stanton is a sophomore AYA English major. In her free time, she likes to read, hang out with friends and daydream about living in Europe. 

Images courtesy of Netflix

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