"Glass Onion" is a cool caper that mostly keeps its freshness

Ssometimes you don’t want a formal meal; you just want an assortment of nibbles, a big platter of treats and treats that are a little offbeat and fun in their own right. By writer and director Rian Johnson Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is that plate of nibbles in movie form, a breezy caper that mostly maintains its novelty, even if it stumbles a bit in the final third. In most cases, the picture looks both lush and light: this continuation of very nice 2019 Out of the knives stars again Daniel Craig like bourbon-smooth crime sleuth Benoit Blanc, only this time he’s invited to a glamorous Greek island by arrogant media mogul Miles Bronn, played by Edward Norton. Bronn’s plan is to stage a murder for his circle of eccentric friends to uncover. The victim? myself.

That’s the agility premise Johnson starts with, anyway. Until the end of glass onion, the story has so many twists and turns that you will hardly be able to remember how it started. Basically, it’s a collection of cartoonishly colorful characters, each delightfully unreliable in some way: Kate Hudson is a bubbly model, and fashion entrepreneur Birdie J is always getting into trouble with her nonsensical statements (like continuing Oprah and comparing herself to Harriet Tubman). Kathryn Hahn is Claire Fat, a nervous, disorganized shooter who somehow works her way to the governorship of Connecticut. Leslie Odom Jr. is Lionel Toussaint, an aspiring scientist who works for Miles but harbors suspicions about his motives. And Dave Bautista is a would-be social media influencer and pile of muscular Duke Cody, who shows up with his smart girl friend Whiskey (Madeleine Klein) in hand.

Edward Norton as tech billionaire Miles Bronn (courtesy of Netflix)

Edward Norton as tech billionaire Miles Bronn

Courtesy of Netflix

Read more: Inside the making of Out of the knivesone of the most unexpectedly subversive films of the year

All these invited guests, except Blanc, are long-time friends of Bronn, friends who in the old days used to gather in a cozy bar, now defunct, called the Glass Onion. Bronn clings to the memory of those days – so he built this lavish Greek mansion topped with a crystal dome in the shape of his beloved Allium. But even though he calls his old friends “disruptors,” people he admires ostensibly for breaking the rules and shaking up the status quo, he’s the richest of them all and the only one who’s really successful. That’s where the most enigmatic figure in this whole charade comes in: Andy Brand (Janelle Monae, always great to watch) is Bronn’s old business partner, though he recently kicked her out of the operation, leaving her penniless. Yet here she is, turning up for his weekend of the weekend, the most fabulous of all in an assortment of willow pant suits and ethereal goddess dresses. The rest of the group is stunned when she arrives. what is she doing there Even Bronn who invited her seems surprised to see her.

Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson and Janelle Monae (John Wilson/Netflix)

Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson and Janelle Monae

John Wilson/Netflix

Meanwhile, Blanc—dressed in Southern Ghent linens and fine silk towels—surveys the crew with his trademark cool gaze. First he pretends to have no idea what Bronn’s intention might be, stammering speculation with his delightful Foghorn Leghorn drawl. Then you realize he knows exactly what’s going on – and then the story begins to unfold in spiraling eddies that spin forward only to double back on each other.

The pleasures of Glass onion don’t go much below the surface, but at least that surface is delightfully shiny: Bronn’s mansion features a massive common room filled with delicate crystal sculptures that just beg to be smashed. Hudson’s Birdie shows up with suitcases full of rich hippie clothes, including a mesmerizing polychrome twirl of a dress that nearly hypnotizes the other guests into a stupor. And there are some great gags, including footage of a robot punishing Blanc every time she tries to sneak away for a cigarette. Pure living, it seems, will be the death of us all.

There are several disadvantages of glass onion, things he doesn’t have that his predecessor did: No Christopher Plummer like a nagging patriarch. No Chris Evans in a chunky sweater. And sometimes the characters’ endless clever banter spins in exhausting circles. Glass onion sometimes it works too hard to remind us how much fun we should be having. It also loses power in the conclusion: in the construction of the story, Johnson introduces so many loose ends that tying them up takes some time, and the labor shows. But the sequel is still enjoyable enough, right down to Benoit Blanc’s final sardonic shrug. Glass onionHis motives are transparent – he only seeks to entertain. But then, that’s what we came for, no matter how you slice it.

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