Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery | Bad Writing

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  1. I disagree with your take, but I also found the movie pretty aimless for the first hour waiting for the murder mystery to set in motion so I understand not liking the film. However I really enjoyed how the movie twisted in on itself in the second half, and all the slight of hand hidden stuff in the first half. This might just be where our tastes differ because you found no value in the withholding of information and retconning of the first hour, but to me it did what every good mystery should and made the first hour retroactively a lot more interesting once you know what’s being hidden from you; that’s the most fun part of most mysteries and I think this franchise is just gonna be dumb-fun but original takes on murder mysteries that twist the genre while still satisfying what you want to see in a murder mystery.

    I think that the second half does feel contrived once it’s showing you all the scenes we’ve already seen again with the added context, and it keeps so much from the audience that it doesn’t lay out a clear narrative arc. But I think in hindsight it’s abundantly clear who the Marta of this movie and that is a clear arc, and one I found particularly satisfying in the end.

    The reason the characters in the script call it dumb, is the same reason as the titular motif, this story though told confusingly and extremely layered isn’t very layered at all, you look at it and you see right through it. It’s practically a hit piece on Elon Musk, and the reveal ultimately being that he is the villain is not subtle or surprising. The movie plays the billionaire as the piece of shit murderer and then you get the satisfaction of watching his whole world fall apart and the wronged party righted, it’s basically a revenge story once you know who the central POV is. Hope you give it another chance and you feel differently because I thought this was a blast once it got going.

    • Yo, Ryan! I agree with you that it’s awesome when a movie can decontextualize what we already saw. That’s what I was trying to get at with the Fight Club example. Or, say, Shutter Island. Once you know the info, you can go back and really understand more of what’s happening. I just think how Glass Onion went about it is the worst way as it’s the most hollow. I don’t think re-watching the first hour tells you all that much more because the whole thing was falsely presented. Rather than being honestly presented but the viewer just not understanding the key dynamics.

      Helen is definitely the Marta of Glass Onion! Agreed. My point wasn’t that Glass Onion didn’t have a Marta in terms of character. It was just the function of the “perspective” character and Marta being that moreso than Blanc. Wherein Glass Onion it’s Blanc as the perspective character moreso than Helen.

      And, you’re right about what the characters called things dumb. I tried to acknowledge the thematics that make that a reasonable thing to say. But I also just found it hilarious and accurate.

      You’re also right about it being a revenge story! And the satisfaction that comes with that. There are a lot of great ideas in Glass Onion. I just think the actual scene by scene execution is so poorly handled. A good version of Glass Onion would be one of my favorite movies of the year. But I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      What are some of your favorite mysteries?

    • I wanted to add on to this Ryan by saying that the first Knives Out an a similarly predictable villain. I mean his name was ‘Ransom’ for God’s sake. I enjoyed this movie a bit more than the first but Chris raised some very good points. The COVID stuff annoyed me quite a bit as well.

      • Appreciate the additions, Cameron! In hindsight, “Ransom” was a pretty good wink to the audience lol.

        • The twisty stuff didn’t exasperste me just on pronciple, if the jokes had all landed. But a point about whether emphasizing covid was ‘pointless’ — it has to be 2020 plus covid shutdowns to explain how the Mona Lisa could go on vacation for the weekend: museums are closed!

          • Ah, yeah, the Mona Lisa being there would be the COVID payoff. What a weird thing to find a way to justify lol.

        • Yeah. The first knives out wasn’t challenging as a mystery. It seemed obvious that the angry yelling young guy played by Captain America was the murderer. But it was a pleasant ride.

          Spending time with these okay characters in this bog beautiful house was very pleasant.

          In Glass Onion theres just nothing. The characters are all loathsome so thays unpleasant. The setting isn’t as charming. And whereas the mystery wad obvious on the first oje, here the story was just bizarre nonsense where the characters behaved in ways that were so odd that they were distracting and frustrating.

          The movie wants us to believe that some of the characters were smart but they all make dumb choices.

          Blanc shows up to the island of a murderer and lets him spray a fluid into his mouth and then asks what it is after??

          He leaves a double murderer in a room with a woman he brought their under his protection after she’d been shot by him? Hust his bringing her there seemed grossly irresponsible and uncaring. But once he’s there he objectively fails her repeatedly.

          Helen decides that after destroying the Mons Lisa its a good idea to turn her back on a man who already tried to kill her, and not only that, decides that destroying the Mona Lisa is a fitting revenge fir the murder of her sister and her friend?

          The Mona Lisa isn’t in a sliding automatic protective glass shield in the Louvre. Why would it have an automatic moving shield? Draws attention to itself in a bad way.

          Perhaps most egregious, The name of Janelle Monae’s character is said a few times and it sounds almost exactly like Sandra Bland, the woman who was almost definitely murdered by police in a cell after getting pulled over for no real reason. Johnson wants to say something big and meaningful about a horrible thing but he just doesn’t have s**t to tell us. He reminds us of this painful thing seemingly just to try to make a point but there isn’t one and this is the movie’s lowest thing it does.

          White director performatively invokes murdered black persons name to make his movie have meaning and fails because he has nothing meaningful to say about it.

          Also why were all those people ever friends? How?

          And after the survivors realize that their friend killed two of their other friends why aren’t they afraid for their own lives?

          Seeing cheap glass prop art getting smashed made them realize murdering is wrong? And so they start saying theyre going to out their murderer friend? On his private island? He already killed two of them, whats to stop him from killing the rest of them?

          At no point could i accept what i was seeing. Almost none of the choices or reactions in the movie were at all natural or believable. Absolutely nothing i saw on screen made sense.

          • I was just nodding in agreement the whole time I was reading this.

  2. I’m okay with the withholding of information because Blanc is characterized as someone who at any point could know more about the situation than anyone else (exemplified in the scene where he spoils Miles’ dinner party mystery). He’s just as mysterious as the other characters in that his true motives are often a mystery.

    • Hey Jeremy! I can appreciate that. I would argue that the dinner party mystery spoiler is an example of Blanc’s prowess done right. We’ve been with him the whole time (so we think), so when he solves the puzzle through context clues that everyone else had, it’s cool. Kind of like watching an episode of Sherlock. It’s just when his being ahead of us relies on the movie simply not showing us a bunch of stuff simply because it would “spoil” the mystery…that’s when I have issues.

      • I was actually quite excited to see how Blanc would solve the mystery when “Andi” was “dead”. It felt like a great way to pull the resources right from the all knowing detective’s grasp, and leave him stranded with no answers!

        But then that turned out to be fake anyway, so it was once again East from him to figure everything out. Missed mini “All Hope Is Lost” story beat

  3. You’re just mad because of the Kanye Jesus mural and we all know it! Jk but the twist worked for me and I really enjoy this film. Also we should give Netflix a little love for actually putting this in the theater! I hope they do this for most of their future releases. Keep up the good work even though this one made me sad.

    P.S. I loved TLJ even though I denounce the sequel trilogy as a whole.

    • Hey, Roman! I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the mural haha. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Yeah, I think Johnson is just one of those polarizing artists where if it clicks for you, it clicks. And if it doesn’t, boy does it not lol.

  4. Hi Chris, I agree with everything you say. It is an enjoyable and charming film. This is why many people chose to ignore the points you make here.

    I thought there are some clues here and there, Andi was very disconnected with the other, they talk about a court case that took place in the past but we are not told what actually happened until the end.

    I might be wrong ( maybe I don’t remember correctly ) but when “Andi” received the box she had blond bob cut hair but after the reveal we know that her hair wouldn’t have been like that at the time she received the box.

    Both Katherine Hahn and Dave Bautista tries to visit Andi not long ago as they freak out because of what Andi did ( no spoilers ). They don’t even mention this event and don’t ask Andi why she didn’t answer her door when They saw her in Greece.

    It might sound like nitpicking but these are important points. What you said about withholding the information from the audience and lazy writing are correct. Instead of unveiling backstory bit by bit during the first hour, we, the audience, are bombarded with an entire backstory, on top of that we find out Hellen and Blanc are actually performing the whole time. At least something but something should have been revealed to us earlier in the film.

    One might think it has a clever plot but when you don’t present the clues ( I mean real clues, not the Ionian Sea and Aegean Sea thing, that is not even a clue, There are some Greek island in the Ionian sea ), even a young and the restless episode would look clever. Spoilers, When Andi got shot though the two way mirror, I knew who the killers was.

    I like the film by the way. Great cameos, good satire and charming cast. I would watch that again. However, I don’t think it is as well crafted as Knives Out.


    • Thanks Mutlu! I may not remember correctly either, but I think we just see “Andi” in the garage and she definitely had her normal hair then*. And the first we see of the bob is when she arrives at the pier.

      But, yeah, there’s so much to just kind of pick apart. If someone doesn’t care about any of those things and just wants the ride—it’s perfect. But if you want just like…a little more effort…lol.

      Edit: I did not remember correctly. She does not have her normal hair. -1 me. +1 Rian.

    • > They don’t even mention this event and don’t ask Andi why she didn’t answer her door when They saw her in Greece.

      They do; they follow her away from the pool when she’s drunk and end up in an argument. It’s a major scene.

    • Brand’s hair is wrapped in a towel in the first scene.

  5. Initially I was ok with this film after seeing it and I really do love the Blanc character. Then not long after that I began to feel let down by owing to the writing and structural issues you mention. I really did not like the Mona Lisa burning. I thought it was lazy and dubious. What kind of person burns the most treasured and priceless painting in the world, denying humanity of this treasure, for a revenge that is not even certain? That made me like Helen less and questions her ethics. It made me feel she was hardly better than the others. She took her revenge by hurting others apart from Miles. She burnt the effing Mona Lisa! She was, in the end, no Martha . With all that pretty unsubtle focus on the security of the painting, as you say, I was convinced that there would be a final reveal, along the lines of Blanc having previously removed the real painting and replaced it with a poster. Then he and Helen would restore the real Mona Lisa to the world once Miles was in jail for the murder of Cassandra. Helen didn’t need to burn the Mona Lisa to get Miles, he was going to hail for murder and Klear was never going to get off the ground. Destroying the Mona Lisa was just selfish and and vindicastive, making her no better than any of the other abhorrent characters really.

    • Hey, Jem! EXACTLY! The Mona Lisa burning is just careless and selfish and unnecessary. Imagine if all of that really happened. I guess those celebrities could all lie and say it was Miles’s fault. But then it’s just the same cycle. Otherwise, they say Miles was wrong but then Helen is also identified as the one who specifically made sure the Mona Lisa burned. The internet would eat her alive.

      • The film uses Norton’s apparent “stupidity” very conveniently. When they have to push aside a bad plot element or plot hole, they remind the audience that “Hey, he’s a goner! “. I just felt that to be too contrived. I just think none of the things mentioned in the movie add up. A few being:

        1. The news of Andi’s death and how Norton and Batista look completely unfazed by a supposed “Andi” who was in the room with them a few minutes ago. Even if let’s say Norton knew it was Helen all along, and that Duke also caught up with the act, there is no exposition or even a remote look of surprise when Duke reads the news about Andis death.

        2. And Norton’s supposed “stupidity” is too jarring and underwhelmingly portrayed that it makes no sense. He can concoct a plan to poison her, and make her death look like an apparent suicide, that it even fools the cops; he can amass all his riches and push Andi out of the business; he can secretly plan Duke’s death by poisoning him with pineapple, but he is just too stupid to put two and two together when he sees Andi walking in with the world’s greatest detective? The filmmakers are caught in a unique paradox here. If Norton’s character knew that it was Helen all along and that Benoit Blanc is behind his tailcoats for the murder of Andi, then he is not as stupid as they claim him to be. If he has not caught up on this little trick, then that’s just bad writing.

        3. And that whole explosion thing makes no fucking sense whatsoever.

        I just felt the movie to be really badly written at some places and really well written in others. Like I think Rian Johnson had a great story here somewhere, but he just had to sacrifice a lot of sense and logic to get this thing to work.

        • Hey, Shanks. Was nodding along as I read all of that. And very much agree with the final sentiments. Imagining what the best version of this film could have been is pretty exciting. Which makes the reality of what we got that much more frustrating.

        • 2. Miles didn’t stay to watch Andi die; he doesn’t know for sure he did. He also doesn’t know that Helen smashed up the box, so when Benoit says he received one anonymously he assumes that Andi is doing something weird and overcomplicated that he can totally handle.
          1. …but like, it’s not *that* weird to learn she did in fact die. They knew Andi for years, they knew she had an identical twin. I don’t entirely want to accept your recollection that Miles and Duke “look completely unfazed” but these people are all liars and Duke is a professional actor (freelance).

          3. I think “hydrogen burns” is a sufficient scientific explanation for an explosion in a movie. Within the movie it is very thoroughly established that Klear will destroy things.

  6. I should add, I believe the ending is one of the prime examples of how dissappointing the writing is because clearly (at least to me) the audience is meant to view Helen as an ethical character amongst the glut of selfish celebrity. I did enjoy the film from the POV of fun, entertainment and the quirky Blanc, but it had too many plot holes and much of what the characters did didn’t make sense, so you are left with this sense of cognitive dissonance. Due to the poor structure and writing as you say.

    • 100%

  7. Agree with every word.

    • Thanks, Cole!

  8. I feel like this article was overwritten in a way, I don’t think its accurate at all….after viewing the movie itself.

    • Hey, RJ! Would love to hear more thoughts. What jumped out to you as the most inaccurate?

  9. Did you re-read your review before posting it? The first two paragraphs are such a snaking mess I couldn’t read past them.

    I feel like to critique someone’s writing you should at least be semi-competent in it yourself.

    • Yo, Jack. I did re-read before posting! Re-read them again after seeing this and they’re still fine to me. Entropy listed my last novel as one of the best novels of 2020-2021, so I believe I’m semi-competent. But I can appreciate it not being a style you like or even respect.

  10. Valid points throughout, but I ended up enjoying the movie quite a lot.

    One of the things I loved about Knives Out was how the narrative structure was itself a twist on the whodunnit genre. We’re lead to believe Marta’s side of things as true, which turns the film into more of a thriller in the second act before coming back around into a classic mystery once again at the end.

    For Glass Onion, that subversion existed for me by watching the film progress from a classic mystery to a social commentary by parodying not just the Elon Musks of the world but the murder mystery genre itself. The shifting perspectives, the twist on twist on twist, the plethora of celebrity cameos, the incredibly over-the-top set pieces, the titular theme of a false complexity, and even Hollywood’s need for sequels to raise the stakes all felt a part of the criticism Rian Johnson was pointing fingers at. Blending that into a traditional murder-mystery was where I saw and appreciated the craft side of his work. I could see it viewed as lazy for all those thoughts and ideas to be swept under a rug of portraying everything ironically, but to me nothing in the film suggested he was trying to be nuanced or subtle to begin with.

    Thanks for a thoughtful review! Cheers!

    • Jesse! Thank you for the thoughts! And, yeah, that’s what I’m torn about. There’s a lot of very cool ideas in the movie. I’m a fan of the talking points. Just not the scene by scene execution. And I do think there’s something to be said about the concept of the “glass onion” and what that allows Johnson to kind of get away with. But that also feels a bit of a crutch to me.

      Since we get so few mysteries, there is just something nice about the experience though.

  11. The perspective switch halfway through the film isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a twist to recontextualize the earlier half of the film. The actual mystery is separated in a way that the split to Helen doesn’t impact it at all, as we spend the first half trying to figure out who might want to kill Miles and only once the flashback happens do we learn that we are actually trying to figure out who would defend Miles. The evidence you have just spent an hour gathering as a murder motive becomes a motive to protect Miles the instant we learn they are selfish monster people who will screw over anyone for their careers.
    The film is way more fun for having this twist as opposed to just having it start off with 0
    There was really never a need to justify their ability of Helen is impersonate her sister because the people there started to point out she isn’t acting right, they notice she is behaving weirdly, but this can and is brushed off as we all just fucked her over so she will be a bit testy.
    Don’t get me wrong some of the information was a bit too vague like the pineapple juice clue but I found myself being able to follow the clues the film left and realize what was happening, the drink that killed Duke was made by Miles and brought straight over and killed him instantly. You can even see Duke’s phone poking out of Miles’s back pocket, a thing the film has told us he doesn’t have a personal one. Since a who dunnit film really should be judged by the ability to being an interesting and entertaining mystery that gives you a chance to solve it I’d say it does a good job.

    • Connor! One of the things I’ve been noticing is that it seems fans of the whodunnit in general tend to be a bit more forgiving/accepting. I can appreciate what you’re pointing out and like the concept, especially since I’m very into structural stuff like that. It’s just one of those things where I find the quality of the scenes themselves to be pretty lacking. I’m a fan of recontextualizing. I just don’t think how Johnson went about it could be better.

      Re: Helen. Definitely can be brushed off as her just being screwed over and the awkwardness.

      I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      • The smashing of the statues was just dumb, overly long, and overdue. The explosion of the house. Dumb.
        The security in the ML was a Wilhelm scream without the payoff of the system killing someone.
        I enjoyed the movie, but it was no (pick any title with Out in the title including the Sean Connery movie).

        • So many stupid parts to the movie. Did anyone actually find Dave Bautista’s lines remotely funny? No mystery whatsoever, it was obviously Ed Norton the whole time. The first movie had such a great cast with each role written to be part of the web…Glass Onion was more concerned about Elon Musk/Bezos overtones, which fell flat and were unfunny.

        • Yeah, the amount of red herrings didn’t really strike me as satisfying? Like I can appreciate what they’re doing, but it feels a bit empty. Just done for the sake of throwing the viewer off. Which is some of the issues Westworld had in season 2. Or Game of Thrones when they went past the books and it was up to the awful writing of the showrunners.

        • I felt like the movie spent too much time winking at the audience. Rian John’s seemed very impressed with his meta cleverness. I was less impressed. I also felt Miles was smart or stupid as a plot convenience. Johnson is not my jam.

  12. Brilliant review. There are hundreds of lazy reviews of this movie. This is not one of them.
    P.S. A top search for this movie 24 hrs after its Netflix release is, “How does Glass Onion end?” – lots of people ditching it midway.

    • Thanks, Dannielle. What’s kind of wild is that it’s a growing trend that people see a movie trailer or have interest in a movie but would rather just read the ending than watch it. There are some sites that just specialize in detailed synopses for that reason.

  13. Agree with everything you wrote – lazy and indulgent are the very words I would use to describe it. The dialogue and constant expositions dumps were terrible – how do people see it as clever? The only thing I would add is that it also looked quite cheap in comparison to the first film. The design choices, even the cinematography – it was obvious they were trying to punch above their weight on Netflix money when they should have simplified and focused more on the story. All in all, I thought it was pretty awful, not at all fun, and I’m boggled by the high reviews. Thanks for being one of the few dissenters.

  14. Hi Chris, very informative review. I am still surprised there are people who appreciated the script, it is the weakest link. People who enjoy this genre can see right through the lazy and tedious writing. The more the movie went on, the more incredulous the story became. I just finished the movie to see how some sense, but it never materialised. Felt like time wasted. Thanks

  15. Hi Chris, very informative review. I am still surprised there are people who appreciated the script, it is the weakest link. People who enjoy this genre can see right through the lazy and tedious writing. The more the movie went on, the more incredulous the story became. I just finished the movie to see it make some sense, but it never materialised. Felt like time wasted. Thanks

  16. I was bracing myself for a deep plot. After Knives Out, I went down that hole of wondering if Marta was the real mastermind, or the grandpa, or just Ransom. Now that I see Glass Onion and how… dull it is, I don’t think Knives Out was intended to be that great either. I feel disappointed. I wish I had not held high expectations. My boyfriend was telling me how this director is known to be complex or something.

    • I think you can still believe in Knives Out. It’s more like Johnson was so aware of the rabbit holes that he wanted to go the opposite direction. Instead of being layered, he wanted the glass onion. Something a lot more simplistic. It’s a bold choice and I think a really interesting concept. It’s just the execution I really disagree with.

      Johnson’s big breakout movie, Looper, had a good amount of complexity. Then The Last Jedi is one of the most contentious movies of the 21st century. So Johnson is very polarizing.

  17. I feel like you took the words out of my mouth with this review. I loved Knives Out so much; the bits of humor here and there, the well developed characters, and as you described, the way the tension was built up so that we gathered bits of information along the way while not having everything just explained in one scene. I was super disappointed watching Glass Onion because aside from everything you mentioned, there was really no mystery to be solved. It was really “just dumb”. But even if that was supposed to be the message, it’s not satisfying enough to justify making an entire film around that. We all know these characters and their tropes too well. We know very well how idiots climb to power off the backs of good and honest people, and this movie was just a lazy way of displaying that. I felt it was just so obvious the entire time. I wasn’t left trying to solve the mystery myself, and I hated how I felt robbed of that experience when, halfway through, we are shown most of the underlying facts and drama in such a flat and direct way. It was hard for me to even finish the movie after that. I felt that the motives assigned to each of the “best friends” were pretty weak when compared with Miles’, so it was obvious that he was the one who killed Andi. There also weren’t enough factual layers to make the story unfold in an interesting way. I really feel like they wasted this amazing cast on such a simple movie.

    • That’s very well expressed. From discussions/arguments I’ve been having with people, it seems fans of the mystery genre have been more forgiving, feeling like Glass Onion is in-line with their expectations. “Whodunnits manipulate information. This manipulated information. What’s the big deal?” The counter I’ve been workshopping is comparing it to deus ex machina. It used to be really common and accepted for some deus ex machina to wrap up a story. The protagonist seems in an impossible situation. Boom! Some miraculous thing happens and saves the day just in the nick of time. By today’s standards, a deus ex machina is like high school level writing. You’re expected to know better and do better. The Hero’s Journey is kind of having a similar comeuppance. Obviously both things can work. Context matters. As does the quality and inventiveness of the rest of the work. With Glass Onion, whodunnits do do similar things. I just don’t think that means it’s okay.

      • A good mystery can “manipulate information”, but it cannot do so from the subjective perspective of the guy who isn’t so easily fooled. This is why Holmes has Watson, and why Martha was so excellent in “Knives Out”. Hiding and manipulating information is fine, but you do so by carefully limiting the perspective of the chain of events.

        The real crime Glass Onion commits to the mystery genre is in obscuring Blanc’s own motives. Mystery stories are already quite obtuse by design, and they encourage the audience to “play along”. Giving that audience an unreliable narrator is… well, it’s basically cheating. By compromising Blanc’s subjective PoV, the movie completely undermines its central character’s credibility as a proxy for the audience. Instead of playing along with Blanc, we find out that we’re playing against him and that he cheats. There are ways to do this well, but that usually involves a face-heel turn and the development of a new sympathetic PoV character as the old one becomes antagonistic to the audience. Glass Onion does not do this. It essentially expects us to play against Blanc, but also still root for him to win.

        • Your thoughts throughout have been very satisfying to read. I usually feel so alone in discussing nuance like this haha.

  18. I agree 💯 with your review, Chris. It felt like Rian was assigned homework he didn’t want to do. The characters were boring so much so that when they “bonded and chose to do the right thing” – I couldn’t have cared less. Then there’s the Mona Lisa inclusion that probably should have just stayed a sticky note on Rian’s laptop during development. Then there’s the Willy-Wonka-rock-candy-super-fuel thing that turns the compound “into the Hindenburg” when ignited, except it doesn’t, because the humans are fine minus some swipes of soot across their brows. Then there’s the younger brother of the Dude roaming about the film’s background for noooooooo reason. I could keep going with the roasting of Rian, but I’ll stop, because, ultimately, I’m just bummed I found the movie to be so disappointing 😔.

    • Yeah, the bonding was the beat that was supposed to happen. But it wasn’t something I necessarily cared about. Or believed the film had earned. I almost feel like I’d need another 30 minutes of the characters returning home and having individual moments of awakening that led to them doing the right thing. That’s also asking way too much lol. But it did feel like Johnson maybe bit off more than he could chew. And instead of scaling the story down, he just dumbed it down.

    • They didn’t just “choose to do the right thing.” They realized Miles could no longer offer them anything to buy their silence. They chose to do the only practical thing.

      Lionel and Claire had gone all-in on Klear, which is now doomed for its role in the destruction of the Mona Lisa. Birdie can’t rely on Miles to bail her out of her child labor scandal. Whiskey can’t ride Miles’s coattails to fame on Alpha News.

      Klear and Miles are finished. Helen has won. The others didn’t switch just to “do the right thing,” they switched because they had no reason not to switch to the winning team. Side with the lying asshole and murderer who turned his house into the Hindenburg, or maybe salvage something of their reputations by being part of the group that exposed him and took him down? It’s not a hard choice.

  19. I agree wholeheartedly with you, with he exception of your comments regarding Trump. They show a mainstream stance devoid of a deeper analysis. And you didn’t need to mix politics with a film analysis. Trump is a detestable person, but unlike Obama, he didn’t bomb Yemen like a hypocrite for a straight eight years at the rate of three bombs per hour. He didn’t destroy Libya like Clinton and Obama did, and he didn’t pay terrorist mercenaries to bring them from annihilated Iraq into Syria with a 1 billion yearly budget for six years prior to the most devastating war in recent history just to weaken Iran, Russia and China. Trump, instead, stopped the war in Syria and removed troops from Afghanistan, and didn’t start any war, something no US president has done for decades. When presidents after presidents cause the death of millions of people, including women and children and countless civilians, please don’t attack the only one that hasn’t done this. Give him at least credit where it’s owed. If you want to be a political analyst, maybe learn history, maybe recognize that the US is a rogue terrorist country that has invaded more than 70 countries that did nothing to them in 70 years, killing millions in the process – and maybe recognize that this was all done by plutocrats to concentrate wealth in the hands of a few. And since you’re a film buff, maybe realize that Hollywood plays along with countless propaganda movies to aid in those illegal wars and massive wealth concentration.

    Now, about the movie:

    – Blanc is not pronounced Blank. It’s Blan. The c is silent. Here’s another example of self-centered Hollywood unable to hire a French-speaking native to verify how to pronounce a word in another language, appropriating it in the neocolonialist tradition. That was my first annoyance with the film.

    – Blanc’s accent is insufferable. It’s thick in the bad sense of that word. It weighs and burdens the ear, adds nothing to the story, is never funny, slows down the pace of the actor who is pronouncing every syllable way too clearly and slowly to be natural. It’s a film-long annoyance.

    – the yelling of that dumb blonde: how many times did she have to yell like a cliché from the 50s? Hollywood loves women yelling, filling space with useless content. Here it was supposed to be a running gag – it was never funny.

    – Dave Bautista is a terrible actor. His presence alone degrades the film.

    – Why do they need to hire Hugh Grant and Ethan Hawke for short appearances? These people can’t be generous enough to let lesser known actors play these roles? Everything has to go the the same people, all the time?

    – Why couldn’t the police reach the island right after Duke’s death? No helicopter could have flown there?

    – The film is boring, horribly structured, takes the audience for imbeciles (one of the first rules an author must never do), has an overdose of shortcuts, uses special effects to fill its humongous void (like 90% of Hollywood’s films), does not have a single memorable quote, brings you to an island without making you feel on an island (thus, making the island prop useless), turns crime into a failed comedy which is an annoyance in itself, has zero depth, explains too much instead of allowing us to deduce and think, etc.

    I scored it a 2 out of 10. What an immense failure. What an insult to the public and how sad I am that so many think it’s good writing or even entertaining. It’s none of that.

    • I dunno. I thought that “Pieseshite dock” was pretty funny. It’s an early clue that the common people who deal with this guy all know he’s an absolute idiot, but rich enough to make up for it.

  20. What really upset me is that the film spreads misinformation about hydrogen for no good reason. The entire thing feels like propaganda cooked up by the oil lobby idk

    • I didn’t even know that!

  21. Full disclosure, I was linked to this review by Ben Shapiro, a man whose intellectual integrity is basically non-existent. I walked into this reading prepared to disagree and dismiss. But I was not able to. Kudos to not only your writing acumen in expressing and elucidating your points, but also to the way you compose yourself in your comments. I love seeing critics who are, themselves, open to criticism.

    (Also, apologies in advance for the length of my reply. Your comments really got me thinking.)

    All that said, I love your review. It’s an excellent analysis and interpretation of the themes and how they don’t quite land. I was having a similar issue with the movie after watching it last night, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. Your review elucidated my exact issues in perfect clarity, so thank you.

    I think the movie was trying to do something that is EXTREMELY difficult to do well, and shockingly easy to do badly. It was trying to tell a simple story in a complex way. I think it did a better job than most in this regard, largely due to the fact that it was doing so consciously. Most people who do this concept poorly don’t do so intentionally. They just think they have a complex and brilliant idea, when in truth they just have a confusing and stupid one.

    My favorite thing to do with a movie that I don’t quite like is to see if I can find a way to “fix” it. I love storytelling, and want everything I see and read to be the best version of itself that it can be.

    The first thing I would change about the narrative is to not have Blanc be in on the “big lie”. He doesn’t know that Andi isn’t Andi. His invitation *seems* legitimate, and is. It was actually a conspiracy by Bron’s “puzzle guy” and “mystery writer” to see if they could outwit the great Benoit Blanc. They made an extra box and sent it to him without Bron ever knowing. Benoit, assuming more forethought and subterfuge than is actually present on the island, still purports the “reconstruction” angle, since he assumes that Bron has a better handle on his affairs than he actually does.

    Andi’s death is yet unknown because Helen discovered her sister’s body and concocted her own “revenge plot” instead of alerting the authorities. This lets us keep events largely as they already are, but maintains the purity of Blanc’s subjective PoV. He gets to discover that Helen is just as dumb as the rest of the cast, but at least her stupidity was in service to a more legitimate cause than the others. All you would need to change is…

    …the entire second half of the movie…
    Hey, at least you’d be able to preserve and repurpose a lot of the principle footage?

    Add a scene where Helen, buckling under the pressure of her own insane plan, turns to Blanc for help. Then you get your exposition and the two can start to work together from that point forward, with not quite enough time to actually put something intelligent together before things go totally sideways.

    That brings me to the pivotal scene of the movie. Giving Johnson an infinite amount of benefit of doubt, I could make an argument that the film’s poor structure was an intentional metacommentary on how “the only way to make a bad idea seem brilliant is to lie to your audience”. All the pieces are there for that theme to be present. They’re just never quite capitalized on. And it’s SO CLOSE! All that would have been needed was to alter Blanc’s “detective speech” a bit.

    – – – – –

    BLANC: You construct all of this–all of this petty, preposterous pretense–not to do something big, like cover up a murder or control a billion-dollar business, but so that you can merely disguise yourselves as being more clever than you actually are!

    You go along with this moron’s extravagantly inane ideas. Not because you trust in his brilliance, but because having to admit that you were wrong to trust him in the first place is harder than continuing to pretend that he’s so much smarter than he actually is!

    At least Miss Brand here had the decency to only put on such a deception as a means to avenge herself upon her sister’s murderer. You all just do it for… pride? Vanity? Or is it stupidity for it’s own sake?

    I am accustomed to people lying to me. I am, after all, a detective. But to lie for something so petty, so small, and so vain…

    I am earnestly speechless. You all may continue your absurd drama to your hearts’ content. I, myself, will retire to the beach and await the police. At least there I will have the solace of knowing that I will be keeping somewhat sensible company.

    – – – – –

    It’s not a perfect rewrite. I think it needs a couple of interjections in there to break up the monotony of the speech, but I think that it drives to the point of “something stupid pretending to be smart” much more succinctly when the only smart character calls it quits before it literally explodes into something destructively stupid. It’s also reincorporates Andi being the only smart one among the group, since she ALSO backed down before things got that out of hand.

    I also hate a lot of the writing tropes that Johnson lambastes in this script. The “glass onion” metaphor is a fantastic rebuttal of Abrams’s “mystery box” (the greatest plague on modern storytelling). I would just write my script to more directly attack that storytelling style without relying on that same tactic to generate suspense.

    • I literally woke up and checked our stat counter, saw the site was like 5x it’s normal amount, saw most of the traffic was from Twitter, opened Twitter, and my jaw dropped. I disagree with Ben on pretty much 98% of everything. So to have him cite my article and find alignment there was surprising. If I were in your position, I would also be dubious.

      Re: best versions. I like to do the same thing! If you check out the other two “bad writing” articles I did, I actually do a lot of “This is how this would be better.” I didn’t here because I was so exhausted by it lol. So it was fun to read your version of events.

      I think the film’s major flaw is that despite it positioning Miles as an idiot…he still networked all those people into positions of power. The film makes him far more capable than I think it actually wants him to be? Yes, Andi had the idea for the company. But Miles still seemed to bring some value. It wasn’t by sheer stupid dumb luck he reached the point he reached. That leaves me completely uncertain as to what happens next. Will this be his downfall? Or is he manipulative enough to find a way through it?

      So my re-write would be an additional act. I think we need to see the consequence of the island. What happens when everyone is back home? That’s the challenge. Do the “friends” still stay disloyal? What happens when they try and do the right thing? Does Blanc hold any sway in the court of public opinion? What happens when Bron blames Helen for the burning of the Mona Lisa? How does she handle the public scrutiny? All of that is, to me, where the actual story is. The movie we got should be the first hour. Not a full 2 hours. Because it doesn’t really conclude anything. It’s just the end of a drawn out chapter. Sigh. Now I’m starting to get ramped up all over again lol.

      Appreciate your thoughts! And the kind of pitch perfect Blanc speech.

      • I also can’t stop thinking about this movie. It compels me.
        I think a huge part of that compulsion is that it comes SO CLOSE to saying so many things, but then falls just short of all of them. The more I think about it, though, I start to wonder if that’s intentional?

        You bring up a good example of this. Miles was shown as being quite “socially intelligent”. He remembers peoples’ favorite drinks. He gives good speeches and commands whatever room he’s in. He knows how to put on a good show and to add a whole lot of style to not a lot of substance. He “sells the sizzle, not the steak”. That needed to be highlighted just a little bit more. Show a bit more of him making connections that the others just can’t. Really cement that his networking and sales pitches are impeccable, then remind us of just how bad all of his “ideas” are in comparison.

        Then, instead of simply writing him off as too stupid to care about, Blanc could have noted his strengths before listing his many weaknesses. “Oh, sure, he spins a delightful yarn about this and that. But how many of you truly–deep in your hearts–believe in anything this man has to say?” or something. Have him make the shitheads, and us, come face to face with the truth of what we call “genius”, simply because it has an appealing wrapper. Call bullshit on the modern ad-driven zeitgeist.

        And then you can address the real issue: that we assume that people who are good at one thing are also good at everything associated with that one thing. We already see this with Blanc and “stupid things”. He’s a brilliant observational mind, but simple inductive reasoning utterly baffles him because of how irrational it is. He just can’t wrap his head around it, much to the surprise of everyone around him. It’s the same with everyone else in that room. They are good–really good in some cases–at one or two things, but they want to be doing things well outside of that wheelhouse. They all want to be renaissance men, to catch that next hit of clout, but they’re very ill-suited for those things.

        Which brings me back to what I said at the top. The movie is in the exact same boat. It has the potential for some really powerful themes, but in trying to chase them all it delivers on none of them. It’s structural failures are in keeping with one of its themes. That’s what makes me wonder how intentional it all is. I mean, it’s probably not intentional AT ALL, but it could be!

        Which brings me to another potential theme:

        I was reading through some of the other comments on here, and I noticed a complaint that I hadn’t really thought about until it was brought up: the Mona Lisa. Why destroy something so beautiful and precious for something as small as revenge? It only further cements Helen as being just as much of a “shithead” as the others, and kind of strengthens my resolve that Blanc should have washed his hands of the entire affair instead of encouraging such needlessly destructive behavior. He knew about the override switch on the safety glass. He knew the hydrogen fuel would blow up in spectacular fashion. He had to be able to put together that encouraging Helen to use the stuff would put the most priceless piece of human-made artwork into mortal danger. I can’t expect anyone of culture to see that as a “necessary sacrifice”, just to humble an impulsive and conceited billionaire.

        If Blanc walks away from the inanity and leaves the idiots to their idiocy, then the Mona Lisa becomes a powerful metaphor for “something beautiful and precious”, be it a work of art, a natural wonder, or even a noble ideal. Then your controlling idea can become something like “when powerful idiots are left to their own devices, they destroy beautiful things.” It can become a parable for climate change, or political radicalization, or the erosion of internet neutrality, or so many other things that effect our modern world.

        And the best part is that Blanc still is not blameless, because he didn’t even try to stop them! As I said before, he knew that a priceless work of art was in the room with these people. He had to know that they were not to be trusted with its safety. So now you have a subtheme of negligence by the intelligent and capable enabling the destruction. “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” and all that rot. Now you’re really saying something with your characters and imagery and scenery!

        And then, after something glorious is ruined, the whole thing goes up, leaving the fates of those within the maelstrom unknown. Because, as a parable, it doesn’t have a definite ending. There is no cathartic closure when those who should be responsible abdicate that responsibility to vainglorious idiots. There should be a sense of dissatisfaction as the audience sits with Blanc on the beach before the credits roll. You could even etch that dissatisfaction into Daniel Craig’s features as he tries to enjoy a cigar, but just can’t. He is used to his stories tying up nicely, and this one absolutely did not. And he can’t shake the feeling that he should have done something to change that.

        But that might be a little TOO on the nose. I’m kinda spitballing. Either way, thanks for the conversation. I LOOOOVE talking about this kind of stuff because it keeps me from having to put my money where my mouth is and write my own stories.

  22. Thank you. I’ve been waiting for someone else to make these points. I think every who likes it was too busy laughing at all the stupid pop culture references.

    • Appreciate that! Sometimes just having some laughs or a character you really like can be enough. I know I’ve loved my fair share of movies other people really hated just because something hit right for me. But this was not one of those times lol.

  23. I wish I had read this review before I wasted 2 hours of my life on that crap.

    • Maybe the review would have been so harsh it sparked your interest and caused you to watch the movie?

  24. I think the problem is that Knives Out and Glass Onion aren’t really in the same genre. Knives Out is a classic murder mystery in the style of, say, The Long Goodbye– whereas Glass Onion is an out-and-out farce, more in line with something like Murder By Death or Clue, and when your intention is to be farcical, you can be a lot looser with structure and logic. I guess the difficulty is in that Glass Onion wasn’t marketed as a farce, and it’s not common for two movies set in the same universe to be of significantly different genre. Having said that, I think taken as a farce, Glass Onion succeeds wonderfully.

    • That’s a great point. The tonal difference was something that stood out to me. This wanted to be seen as more fun. And it arguably is? At least in terms of energy level. Taken as a farce, I still don’t think it succeeds. But I’d probably brush off a few more things I’m still unwilling to brush off. Regardless, I’m glad you found a frame through which to enjoy it!

  25. this movie was also insultingly lefty throughout. really obnoxious how lefty directors try to foist their politics in overt ways like this

    • It’s lefty to make fun of idiot CEOs? News to me

      • No, it’s lefty to make the rich white guy the villain (again) and the minority female the protagonist (again). In this case, she’s the *real* genius. The white woman who says it like it is is a stand-in for Trump or his supporters, probably, and her whining about having to wear her (mesh) mask is obviously a swipe at people (“anti-science Trumptards”) who don’t want to wear useless masks. The gym bro who is sexist because he believes men and women are made differently (only bigots have ever believed that throughout history!) and still lives with his mom because he’s actually a loser is a lefty swipe, akin to a conservative writing a purple-haired Starbucks “barista” who tweets from their iPhone about how much they hate capitalism and they should be paid more…as they’re on their 5th break of the day because they’re exhausted from the emotional work of having to explain CRT in a TikTok video they made. The idea that rich people are all scammers who don’t care about humanity and will do whatever it takes to “make it”.

        Have you not seen the original? Where it literally ends with the brown immigrant looking down on the white people who are all terrible, but she’s so pure she can’t even tell a lie without puking?

        Also, he wasn’t much of an “idiot CEO”. He was part of making the company successful in the first place. He surrounded himself with intelligent people who were able to invent a super-cure for COVID. He actually *did* use his brains to build his friends’ careers so that they would owe him and support him in his own dreams. More bad writing by Johnson. He’s suuuuch and idiot when convenient, but actually not an idiot, also when convenient.

        Convenient. You know, like you conveniently ignoring all of the lefty propaganda in this movie and pretending the only point that could possibly be lefty is “making fun of idiot CEOs”.

  26. Re: “whodunnit fans” being more forgiving of plot issues/writing etc. – The chief problem of this film for this “who dunnit” fan is that it is quite obvious who the killer is (or who it most likely should be due to motive – most directly threatened say – , opportunity, means, etc.”). Not that it couldn’t have been one of he “friends” but the audience’s first thought given the info presented shoudl have been – oh yeah Miles of course.

    IMHO the worst who dunnit films are those where it is blindingly obvious who is the most likely to be the murderer and then the plot spends loads of time with the protagonists oblivious to this fact. The only save in this situation is if it turns out the obvious villain did not ultimately commit the crime (see Agatha Christie). If this character, as in this movie, is in fact the killer this puts the movie/story in the “very bad who dunnit” category by this fact alone.

    Many people seem to think this is a shot at Elon Musk – if so that didn’t work at all. The guy who created Starlink and kept the Ukrainians able to fight in the early stages of the Russian invasion has no resemblance to Miles.

    HOWEVER – while the whole thing was written and filmed before the Sam Bankman Fried fraud was exposed it could be a very good metaphor for SBF who does appear at a distance as a completely stupid, shallow person who coopted tons of prominent people by outright greed and extremely shallow virtue signaling.

    One last note – its a sign of our diminished times that the hero destroys the Mona Lisa and the “friends” supposedly redeem themselves by LYING about seeing evidence etc. to topple Miles. That is a perfect encapsulation of elite ethics and depth of character (as in none of either). To see the films and books of earlier eras where being educated meant some level of mastery of classic literature and art (mainly the western canon but also of coarse great art of from China, India, Persia, etc.) renders the RJ oeuvre as basically trash regardless of whether it entertains or not.. Just my 2 cents..

    • Hey, Jeff! You had me nodding my head in agreement. I think stories that have fairly obvious binary results become pretty hard to enjoy. Personally. Like if the first scene of a movie establishes someone has a overbearing parent, then you know the story is going to pretty much boil down to: do they overcome the parent or not? That can still become compelling. But it’s also very prone to feeling dragged out and anti-climactic. Something like Whiplash keeps me on the edge of my seat despite being pretty binary. While Everything Everywhere All At Once had long stretches where I was just kind of bored because the only thing really happening is delaying the mother-daughter catharsis. When it finally arrives, it’s powerful. But it’s a lot of throat clearing to get there.

      Yeah, and the morality of Glass Onion was just kind of bonkers. On the one hand, it’s a sign of how much confidence Blanc had in Helen that he left her with everyone. Someone could argue his expert instincts let him know that she would be okay. Like he had assessed the situation and knew nothing bad would happen to her. Except Miles already shot her. It just feels a bit…arrogant? Irresponsible? To assume nothing else would or could go wrong. Such a weird call.

  27. I’m not sure I would call some of the choices Johnson makes “bad” writing, per se. It’s certainly a choice, but it’s not incompetent. The structure of the first half, for example, is very deliberate. He even has Yo-yo Ma spell it out for us, in his description of a fugue as a musical piece where in a musical theme is layered on top of itself to create something with more depth.

    And, I kind of like that idea. Certainly, when I was watching the movie, I definitely was wondering when the murder would happen. The pacing felt a bit slow, but I can appreciate the joke, where it’s set up so that the audience spends an hour wandering when the murder will happen, only to reveal that the real murder had already happened. I came to appreciate that.

    My only real gripe with the movie is that it tries to have two climaxes, and of those two climaxes, the denouement of the mystery is the lesser of them. It just takes the wind out of your sails, and the catharsis of Helen breaking everything doesn’t quite make up for it.

    I mean, I love the disruptor parallel. I love the sheer audacity of burning the Mona Lisa, and I love the fact that burning a painting is so much more audacious than any number of murders. It’s just not the climax of a whodunit, though, and that’s the only thing I don’t really like about the movie. (Even then, I can still see some defense of the choice, but maybe not any that reframe it well enough that I love it)

    In any case, I did really like Glass Onion. It’s certainly not the masterpiece that Knives Out was, but that was always going to be an extremely difficult film to top. I think Glass Onion loses out in that it had to follow up such a great movie, but I still envision a future where we have a whole series of Benoit Blanc mysteries, each trying a different concept, and I think Glass Onion will fit very snuggly into such a collection.

    • I would argue that using Yo-Yo Ma to explain the fugue to explain the layering is…kind of bad writing lol. But, yeah, I agree that the idea that the murder already happened is a cool one. I think I like most of the ideas in this movie. It’s just the actual execution I’m not a fan of.

      And yes, very much agreed with “just not the climax of a whodunit” issue. Tonally, it felt a bit all over the place. Some will argue that Johnson was opening up the whodunit genre and playing with the form. But I just don’t think it really feels good? Clearly, he’s capable. Knives Out was so patient. This strikes me as either coming out rushed or just a bit too eager to subvert expectation?

      Glad you enjoyed it still though!

  28. Thank you for writing this article out, I feel like I’m going crazy reading these rave reviews about Glass Onion. With all the hype leading up to its release, I was hoping it was at least somewhat comparable in quality to the first movie. It doesn’t hold a candle to Knives Out. I thought that the first reveal (the twin, Blanc knowingly arriving except not being invited) was where the movie started going downhill. Initially, we’re introduced to this quirky cast of characters and motives, and it immediately goes into overexplaining the backstory and cringe-inducing dialogue. Why does everyone flip the bird so often???? And why are there SO many pop-culture/product references???? Can we not do that every 10 minutes to show that it’s 2020??? Is product shilling a Netflix thing? And can I say that the Southern accent was one of the things I hated the most about the film???? Janelle Monae is a decent actress, the accent was fucking grating. I agree with your points about the plot holes and the awkward writing. It was nowhere near as clever or interesting as the first. The cameos, while funny at first (Yo Yo Ma was a fun one), got quite heavy-handed near the end.

  29. I’m not a fan of the genre, but to put it simply, it was all over the top nonsense, with really bad acting.

    That so many people enjoy this , is testimony to our degeneration as a culture

  30. I fully agree with your assessment.
    I will go a step further and add that I didn’t find it much fun. The portrayal of the super rich ego maniac influencers and their puppet master was too on the nose, such that anyone could’ve created the characters and their dialogue (including me). Nothing clever here, just the obvious.
    I did not care about Helen because the story did a horrible job of making me feel anything for her murdered sister, something that should’ve been fairly easy to accomplish. It didn’t help any that I guessed who the guilty party was as soon as Batista died, even though I didn’t know what murder the detective was actually trying to solve yet. The movie was a mess.
    I am truly surprised at how many people are raving positively about this film and how critics are being eviscerated for pointing out its obvious flaws.

    • I’m also amazed at how many people loved it enough to defend it so ferociously. I guess it’s a lot of Johnson fans from The Last Jedi? He’s gained a bit of a smaller Snyder-like following due to the wars people have fought over TLJ. And then of course Knives Out being such a hit.

      And, yeah, I also thought the characters were a bit phoned in. Like the actors were doing as much as they could to make them unique, but there was still a generic quality about the whole thing.

  31. SUCKED

    • Succinct review.

  32. The smashing of the statues was just dumb, overly long, and overdue. The explosion of the house. Dumb.
    The security in the ML was a Wilhelm scream without the payoff of the system killing someone.
    I enjoyed the movie, but it was no (pick any title with Out in the title including the Sean Connery movie).

  33. I agree with all of your points. I saw the movie two days ago and I am still frustrated with it.
    Great idea, great cast. Filmed well and there is a great story there; somewhere. It just didn’t come together right. So sad. Lots of holes, unneeded information. The perspective thing was a big issue for me as well. The character and events just seemed so unrealistic to me that the movie didn’t flow well at all. (No epipen, no cellphone when the lights go out, noone seems to have any injuries after the explosion)

    I wrote a “whodunit” once and I had to change the ending…. I had to change the “who”. Well that made it a disaster like this movie. I wrote a new ending, then had to insert information throughout to justify the new ending. You CANT reverse engineer a “whodunit” story….. never works. Really makes me think that’s what happen here, because this is how the review of mine played out.

    Lastly, I want to ask about the journal. Do we really think that a paper bound journal stopped a bullet? I mean, maybe, but that is where it got completely silly to me. Please let me know if I missed something.

    • Hey, J! Thanks for the comment. And yeah, I get that. I’m a novelist, too. And there’s something that feels very inorganic about how it all comes together.

      The journal thing is cliche and, yeah, a bit hard to accept. It’s just startling because the first Knives Out was so…patient and grounded? And this one feels more like a Saturday morning cartoon. I get wanting to have more fun with it. It just struck me as more reckless than fun.

      Do you have a favorite whodunit film?

  34. I saw the movie last night and it was just flat out dumb. The characters were absurd, but not funny absurd, just unrealistically over the top… dumb. The plot was kindergarten simple but made convoluted I presume just to match with the Dance Dance Revolution cacophony of all the characters running around clucking stupidity.

    If you cut out all the dipshit-sophomoric-vapid-moronic scenes that pretend to be wry and cheeky you are left with probably a few minutes of a 70s Bond film.

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film and thought it might have actually killed brain cells watching it.

    • Yeah, very caricature-y. The whole thing with the boxes and everyone calling one another and solving the puzzle together by adding unique bits of information was so…dumb. Like…dummmmmmmmmmmmmmmb. Sigh.

  35. Totally agree with your review.

    The thing I kept thinking for the first hour or so was “What’s the mystery?”

    Typically, mystery stories open with a crime (like in Knives Out and pretty much every other mystery), but not here. We sit through so much cringey humour before any sort of mystery appears.

    If it opened with Andi’s death and then Helen going to Blanc for help, that’s the beginnings of a mystery!

    • Hey, Matt! Right? I get Johnson wanting to do something different and subvert the structure a bit. But I just hated it lol. Not that it can’t work. I just don’t think how he went about it was satisfying.

  36. I agree, I hated this movie.
    I feel like they set up this “mystery” then throw any sort of random misdirection and because it *Happened in the past!! but we didn’t show you yet!!* the movie acts like its a big reveal. There’s no real solving to be done by the audience because they could just make up any arbitrary past event for some crazy story.

    Initially they glamorize the whole billionaire lifestyle and act like he’s amazing. The movie doesn’t instead address actual billionaire issues like resource hoarding and monopolies. The “justice” we get is that the billionaire has fake friends, and supposedly he will be caught for two murders. Yet they show nothing about him actually being convicted which is extremely unsatisfying.

    And the reason his fake friends turn on him? Because the one character destroys the mona lisa. Something that should be enjoyed by everyone but because the billionaire was in possession of it or something we are supposed to feel like he got what he deserved… For murdering two people. He gets to have a famous art piece destroyed. It made no sense. It’s like saying because this man is so rich its worth it for humanity to destroy some cool thing we have just to get at him.

    If at the very end Janelle Monae pulled out the gun and capped edward norton’s character in the face it would have been a much better movie.

    • > It’s like saying because this man is so rich its worth it for humanity to destroy some cool thing we have just to get at him.

      Miles was the one who put the Mona Lisa in danger by installing the easy override on its security system. What’s it’s actually saying, in my opinion, is that no one should be so wealthy that they can imperil beautiful, important things just to stoke their own ego.

      • Sure, but Helen still made the decision. And Johnson still thought it was an important choice for her to make. That the painting was worth the sacrifice. We can definitely blame Bron for his role in things. But he wasn’t the active destroyer of the work. His ego brought about the scenario, but you shouldn’t dismiss the reasoning of the person who took the action.

    • Hey hey! Yeah, part of the fun of a mystery is trying to work through what happened. When the actually proves impossible because the movie hid all the relevant information…it just doesn’t feel good. At least for me. It wasn’t some well done thing that kept me guessing. It was just impossible to figure out.

      Yeah, all the big reveals and thoughts just left me going “That’s not enough.”

      • There’s a ton of things you can figure out, though? I’m not sure how to square you saying it was “impossible” to figure out with all the other comments saying it was “so obvious.” It definitely BECOMES obvious once you realize Miles wasn’t the intended target, but that’s not what the comments are saying. I don’t blame anyone for not picking up on the misdirection, but I also don’t think it’s trivial to see through it. I don’t feel like either assessment is fair.

        The movie gave you tons of relevant information. You can figure out SOMETHING is weird with Andi immediately based on how differently she looks, acts and dresses in the first scene where you see the Puzzle Box being destroyed. You can see, right on camera, Miles handing Duke his glass. Duke had mentioned his pineapple allergy (albeit translated into Alpha Male speak). You can see Miles pocketing Duke’s phone. You can see Miles walking around with Duke’s gun awkwardly tucked under his shirt after the hug, and later you can see, on-camera, Miles dropping Duke’s gun in the ice bucket. During the black out, you can even see Miles carrying Duke’s gun around! None of that is “impossible” to notice!

        There are things you can’t necessarily guess before they’re revealed (it would be a leap to assume Andi was dead and being impersonated by her twin sister, unless I missed something), but that’s okay: not every reveal in a mystery is supposed to be something you were supposed to have already figured out beforehand. Instead, the new information forces you to recontextualize what you DO know and see if you’re clever enough to rethink the conclusions you had come to so far.

        I’m pretty sure the ONLY reason I, personally, was able to figure out what was going on was because of the repeated word “pancaked,” and how Miles cut off Duke’s story the first time the word was used: suggesting Duke was about to reveal something incriminating without realizing it, and Miles had to stop him. Now Duke knows that Miles is trying to cover up being on that road at that time and has a reason to be suspicious of him. Likewise, Miles knows that Duke knows he’s trying to cover it up, and has a motive for wanting to silence Duke. From there I got suspicious, and from there I was able to see through the misdirection.

        If you missed that (didn’t notice Duke’s reaction to being cut off with a lie; didn’t notice the repeated word; didn’t think the repeated word was meaningful, etc.), that’s fine. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t there or that it was “impossible” to figure out.

        And there’s tons of clues like that! I’m sure there’s plenty I’m still missing, having only seen it once. It’s only “impossible” if you miss the clues… almost like it was a mystery or something.

        You complain about the characters not acting “”genuine,”” but… my dude, it’s a murder mystery. Characters are going to have ulterior motives, hidden information they’re acting around, false narratives they’re trying to push. Oh no, instead of all the characters being honest, you have to work out who’s lying about what and why in a mystery?? How terrible. What “lazy writing”, to have deception and intrigue in a mystery story.

        I thought that criticism was bad, is what I’m saying. Bad criticism. I’ll say so genuinely since it would “lazy writing” and “impossible” to figure out what I mean otherwise, I guess.

  37. I think banking on Miles being held responsible for the destruction of the Mona Lisa makes perfect sense. Remember, France loaned it to him on the condition that it would be kept secure inside its protective equipment. Miles made the decision to install an easy-to-use override — one that’s abused repeatedly at the party, as you can hear the security equipment re-triggering every few seconds. He chose to put it at risk despite his contractual obligation to protect it.

    It doesn’t matter that Helen started the fire or hit the override. The painting would’ve survived if Miles hadn’t chosen to violate the conditions under which it was lent to him. That’s true whether anyone vouches for Helen or not.

    It’s also safe to assume that the explosion and destruction of the Mona Lisa would trigger a full investigation by the Greek/French government, revealing the use of Klear as a power source. The damage wouldn’t be consistent with simple arson or even a bomb. Obviously, once the friends are willing to testify, it’s all over on that front, too.

    Thematically, I took the destruction of the painting as “sometimes you have to accept there will be collateral damage when attempting to break a corrupt system.” It’s a shame, and a loss, but the movie opens with Miles trying to sneak an untested fuel on a manned flight. He murders those who stand in his way AND he is willing to risk the lives of people who have nothing to do with him. Stripping him of his power is saving lives. If it costs something beautiful to achieve that, so be it.

    Also it says “no one should be so rich and so removed from consequence that they can buy and imperil whatever they want, be it human lives or art” Don’t blame Helen, blame Miles for treating a national treasure like his personal plaything. (Or blame capitalism for allowing Miles to do so.)

    (I wonder if burning the Mona Lisa might have been partially inspired by the art collector who intentionally burned a work of art by Frida Kahlo in a bid to make an NFT based on it more valuable. )

    I disagree with most of your review, but while a lot of your points are more subjective (the nature of tension, the role of knowledge in a mystery) and open to debate, the Mona Lisa thing seems extremely clear-cut to me. He agreed to keep it safe and he failed. He should’ve been able to protect it from Helen, a random woman with no relevant skills and no premeditated plan, but his violation of the contract caused him to fail. It’s silly to think the French government might not hold him responsible after that.

    • Oh, right, I meant to add about the role of COVID:

      I’m pretty sure there were two main reasons to set the movie during the pandemic:
      1) It makes it plausible that France would loan Miles the Mona Lisa, with the Louvre being closed during the lockdown.
      2) It explains how the characters, in particular how a politician campaigning for the Senate, could all reasonably jet off to a private island on zero notice. All these characters would be working from home anyway, so theoretically they could continue their work/campaign from the island as needed.

      It’s a bit contrived, but it’s definitely not “pointless” like you say.

      And to add to the Mona Lisa stuff: it’s not just that the Mona Lisa was destroyed while in Miles’s guardianship, it’s that it was destroyed in a Klear-related disaster. There’s no way the destruction of the Mona Lisa wouldn’t be investigated; which means there’s no way the use of Klear to power the Glass Onion wouldn’t be exposed; which means the first thing the public learns about Klear is that it will make your house explode and that it cost the world the Mona Lisa. It’s not just Miles’s reputation that’s ruined in the explosion, it’s Klear’s as well. And that’s why the others turn on Miles.

      With Klear’s reputation already ruined, Lionel and Claire have lost their jobs and their reputation (having gone all-in on Klear); Miles can no longer save Birdie from her child labor scandal; Duke and Whiskey can’t ride Miles’s coattails on Alpha News. Previously, Miles had been able to buy their silence, but all that changes with Miles and Klear both doomed to be held responsible for the loss of the Mona Lisa.

      So no, I don’t think your point about “Miles not being held responsible” and Helen “not having the buy-in of the others” makes any sense. At that point, the others have absolutely nothing to gain from defending Miles, but could potentially salvage something from helping to take him down. Did you think they raised their hands at the end because they all suddenly developed a conscience? No. They realized Helen had won and self-servingly switched teams.

      • Hey again!

        When I say “pointless” I’m referring to larger implications of the choice. Did it play into the theme? Did it affect character arcs? Is the movie saying anything about the topic?

        Sure, it can be used to explain the Mona Lisa loan. But it’s not necessary for that. You could just say “I wanted it for a week and wrote them a check they couldn’t refuse.” It’s a little more ridiculous but also a stronger demonstration of Bron’s power. He doesn’t need a plausible reason. He has that level of “I want it, I get it” money and influence.

        And the characters go to the island every year. The characters have never had an issue going before. The only potential complication, as you noted, is Claire being in the midst of the senate run. But she’s been the governor of Connecticut. That didn’t stop her before. It being COVID times isn’t meaningful to her ability to go to the island. She could just say, “I’m taking a few days away from the campaign to spend with my family” then clandestinely head to the island.

        This is usually he litmus test if something is a story is “pointless” or not. If you can turn it into a variable and swap it out for something else and the rest of the story is primarily unaffected, then it’s pretty pointless. If you remove the COVID aspect from Glass Onion, nothing meaningful to the story changes. It doesn’t limit anyone. It doesn’t impact anything. It’s used as a throwaway justification for the Mona Lisa. That’s all.

        Do I think they raised their hands at the end because they all suddenly developed a conscience? I think Johnson wanted it to be a bit of both. The characters are self-serving but mostly portrayed as victims of Bron who don’t think they have a way out and want to escape. There’s a bit of a “we should have done the right thing before and stood by our friend, so this time we’ll get it right.” Rather than a purely transactional “This is better for me” scenario.

        And I don’t disagree with your assessment of how things could go. My point is that in reality, consequences don’t come about the way we’d expect. Look at Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. A country shot down a passenger plane and killed everyone on board, 298 people. What happened is pretty well documented, but because the responsible party has continuously said “Nope. We didn’t do it,” nothing meaningful happened to anyone in the government, and they played no role in bringing the soldiers who fired on the plane to justice.

        Similar thing happened with January 6th. The least powerful people got in trouble and faced legal consequences. But people in the government or with connections to government who had some role in the events? Nothing. But at the time when information first started coming out, it seemed like the consequences would be enormous.

        So why if a politician can get re-elected after participating in an attempted coup of our government should I expect Miles Bron to simply and assuredly go gentle into that good night? Everything that’s happened in the real world over the last 20 years just reinforces the fact that people with a lot of power don’t often face consequences.

        That’s why I would have liked for Glass Onion to actually demonstrate those consequences. Rather than leave them up to us to accept.

    • Hey, Soaring! Thanks for the comment.

      We’ve had so many huge events happen where the top people who should be held responsible aren’t. I just have a hard time buying into the idea that it would happen here, given how much power Miles has. Misinformation, disinformation, rabid fans, still having billions of dollars at his disposal——all of these things could protect him. We’re also having to accept that the friends would still be willing to testify. Which, maybe. But there’s still time for Miles to win them back. Or get rid of them.

      I don’t think the French government might not hold him responsible after that. It’s absolutely a possibility. I’m just saying given what we’ve seen of the world in the last 20 years, it’s not unrealistic to think he manages to escape major consequences. Miles Born as a character got to where he’s at through networking and manipulation and bending the rules. That’s suddenly over? He has no cards left up his sleeve? The implication of a happy ending, especially with the details that we have, just feels silly to me.

      I guess it comes down to a glass half empty vs glass half full perspective. Which says more about the viewer than the movie. You’re someone who can safely assume that events would play out in a just way. And that’s great! And it seems I’m someone who is a bit more cynical about it all.

      Also, your point about Helen being a random woman with no relevant skills and no premeditated plan is a description that…kind of…supports my review haha. (Said more jokingly than seriously).

      Hope the new year is starting well for you!

  38. Also, they keep name dropping and making Hollywood references which were just so cringe-worthy…

  39. Stupid and self obsessed.
    I gave up watching after 20 minutes. My wife, who is made of sterner stuff, lasted an hour before she too gave it away.
    Not worth two hours of your life.

  40. May I perhaps be the first one to agree with you 100%. At the moment “Elon” (groan) burnt the evidence, I was instantly annoyed. The entire premise of the film was as it “evidentially” proposed itself to be, STUPID!

    That is how I found this article. By searching for “Glass Onion ending stupid”. The casting of Edward Norton immediately gave away the ending as the obvious killer. All the glass breaking without a single injury took me out of the film immediately. She was running all over the glass or crystal without any care of slipping and causing herself serious harm. Pure nonsense.

    How saying the word “courage” could possibly imply, cause destruction made ZERO sense.

    And the moment she threw Klear into the fire, without a single care for her own safety or that of the people on the property was beyond ridiculous. I must say I hated this movie.

    Looper was mediocre at best. Last Jedi was even worse than Episode I which is an impossible feat. However I quite enjoyed Knives Out, making me believe Rian Johnson was perhaps a decent story teller.

    I watched 3 whodunnit films in a row today as a treat. The Pale Blue Eye, which was a fantastic story. Damn the critics, Harry Melling’s portrayal of Edgar Allan Poe alone is worth viewing this film.

    See How They Run, which I thought was going to be the one I wouldn’t enjoy. Turned out to actually be what Glass Onion was supposed to be.

    • Hey Shannon! Appreciate the comment. Yeah, it’s one of those things where the details are just kind of infuriating. If someone is the kind of person who just says “It’s a movie” then it might not bother them so much. But given how grounded Knives Out was, I expect details to matter. Glass Onion was more like a Saturday morning cartoon.

      I need to see the other two movies! I guess I’m one day away from Pale Blue Eye.

  41. How could Miles not know that she had a twin sister? Impossible. With him having to know there should have been some type of scene or storyline around that

    • Uh. He DID know that Andi had a twin sister. He even knew that it was Helen the moment she showed up for the trip, because by that point Andi was dead. Because he killed her. You know, the central plot element of the entire movie?

      Did you even watch it?

      • When Blanc introduces Helen to everyone at the big reveal there’s a shot of Miles looking surprised. Up until that point, he probably thought Andi simply survived the poisoning and was there for reasons he wasn’t completely sure of yet. Which makes your sarcastic e-mail and username pretty funny.

        • So your assumption is Miles assumed that Andi was only NEARLY fatally poisoned and, without alerting the authorities or getting any medical care (remember that her death was immediate, instant celebrity news the moment the press found out about it — good luck going to a hospital for a stomach pump without the press finding out), dragged her almost-corpse body onto a plane? Do you think a near-fatal poisoning is something you just sleep off overnight?

          Even if your theory actually made sense, it’s weird for you to treat your assumption (“despite seeing Andi drop dead in front of him, Miles assumed she survived”) as So Obvious and to treat mine (“he knew Andi was dead so he would’ve guessed it was Helen”) as Clearly Wrong.

          Also even if your theory is right, it doesn’t change the fact that Miles would’ve known about Andi having a twin sister either way. Matt’s criticism remains ridiculous.

          • Wait, no, this is even stupider than I initially thought.

            If Andi had survived she could’ve just gone to police and testified that Miles tried to kill her. The reason Helen couldn’t accuse Miles is that she had no proof, only speculation.

            Amazing what thinking about something for ten seconds can do.

          • I just thought about it for 10 seconds. What proof did Andi have?

          • The reason for the tone of my comment is because of the tone of your comment, plus the fact that you made your username (Attention to Detail) an insult to the person you were responding to and made up a fake e-mail address to further add insult (watchthemoviefirstpleaseandthankyou). I’m not treating my assumption as So Obvious. I’m pointing out the irony of you being so condescending when there was a detail that maybe you yourself missed.

            My point was that the movie included a reaction shot of Miles looking shocked when Andi was revealed as Helen. It’s not a very subtle movie. If Miles knew, then I’d assume the reaction shot and resulting dialogue would be different. But since Miles never said he knew, and we have the shocked shot, then I can only assume Johnson’s goal was to show Miles didn’t know it was Helen. That he thought it was Andi.

            I’m not assuming anything about why that is. But it would seem he’s bewildered by Andi surviving and unsure how it happened. Maybe she had private care doctors. Maybe she didn’t alert authorities because she was plotting something herself. Maybe he’s confused by how she could recover so quickly.

            Obviously I don’t think a near-fatal poisoning is something you sleep off overnight. But could Miles believe that? Sure. Or he’s confused because he also wouldn’t expect Andi to be out and about within the couple weeks that it’s been.

    • It’s a really weird thing. Given how close they were for so long…you’d think he’d have seen a picture? Something. I guess you could chalk it up to him being an idiot? But the movie doesn’t really present him as an idiot? It presents him as someone who is really, really, really good at manipulating people and events. You could argue Andi and Helen had a distant relationship? But then why wasn’t that emphasized a bit more? Sigh.

      • It’s not a “really weird thing,” it’s just bad criticism. You’re ignoring the obvious (Miles knew Andi had a twin sister), inventing a terrible explanation (“They were distant, despite everything else the movie tells us”) and then SIIIIIIIGHING that your terrible explanation is terrible.

        • You’re ignoring the fact that nowhere in the movie does Miles acknowledging knowing Andi had a twin sister. So it’s not obvious. Also, none of Miles’s reactions to finding out about Helen support that he knew about Helen. As I said before, the one shot of him reacting to the information is shock. Which is actual evidence that he didn’t know or at least wasn’t thinking about it as a potentiality. I wasn’t sighing about my potential explanation. I was sighing about the situation as a whole. Just like I’m going to sigh about this conversation lol. Sigh.

  42. Thanks! I felt something was off with the movie when it cut to a ridiculously long flashback to explain what was going on. My English major might not have been that profitable, but it did tell me what lazy writing looks like. I enjoyed the film for what it was, mostly because I agree with you about the current slump in good comedies or upbeat mysteries. This movie is fun for one forgettable Friday night, but not particularly rewatchable due to the issues you rightly pointed out. Sorry you’re getting so much flack for pointing out writing errors so basic that they would have been obvious to most critics 40 years ago.

    • I’d be very curious on where English majors fall on the quality of writing vs. everyone else lol.

      Appreciate the kind words! I enjoy the conversation and discussion. Most of the flack has been good discussion. Especially in the comments here. Some of the stuff on Twitter was outrageous. Like someone said the opening paragraph was riddled with errors. I asked them to describe three. Their response? “You really need me to point it out?” Like, come on lol.

  43. It is fun, I’ll give it that! The type of fun that I just went with it, even though I questioned several rather important aspects of the movie while I watched it. Like Bron continuing to welcome Blanc even after Brand showed up (hey, I just now noticed all the B names! I wonder why Johnson did this?) Brand impersonating her sister and sleuthing around so well. I mean, what a plot convenience for Detective Blanc! And everyone surviving the explosion. As well as Blanc being so certain that Brand would follow his last advice so stunningly!

    I didn’t mind being deceived by Johnson, but on reflection you and a handful of other critics who have dated to dislike this film, are right. It’s cynical and it’s lazy.

    You have the journal plus the identical twin, both making this plot resolution way too easy. Why didn’t Bron destroy the napkin immediately? Why was even it plausible that he would have saved it and that Blanc & Brand would need to find it?

    So… Entertaining, yes. Vastly moreso than Last Jedi.

    Well written, no.

  44. One more critique. Please.

    I let many questionable things go in movies until they build to a critical mass that I can no longer ignore (unless they’re in a personally beloved franchise, like just about any Star Trek film.)

    But here is the biggest questionable plot point in ANY popular movie: how is it that the Rebellion’s money-shot was supposed to a perfectly aimed torpodo blast from a X-wing into an exhaust port where the torpodeos are supposed to bend into an immediate 90 degree turn?

    It wasn’t The Force. The plan was always that the torpedos would do this. And yet this is in many ways the Biggest Film of all Time.


  45. I enjoyed this movie until the reveal of “who done it”. Miles has Helen’s sister (Andi) murder because of a simple napkin? That has got to be the stupidest reason for murder. The moment Andi threatened him with revealing the letter, he should have immediately set out to bury Andi under legal fees and work on disproving the authenticity of the napkin with his lawyers. It didn’t matter how colorful the napkin was, without anyone to testify in her stead, Miles could have accused her of fabricating evident and attacked her publicly as bitter and money hungry. A good smear campaign and thousands of dollars in counter lawsuits could have hurt her more than death. The napkin saying “Glass Onion” at the bottom doesn’t make it any more real or fake than the other. It’s a flimsy assertation of the truth at best.

    And the ending, If Miles is smart, Helen is in for one hella of a lawsuit for destruction of personal property. In a real-life scenario, no one on that island would admit to perjury and destroy their careers. Helen will forever be seen as the face that destroyed the Mona Lisa.

  46. I agree with basically all of this, but you left out the thing that most annoyed me and that was Johnson clearly showing Miles handing Duke his glass in such a clunky way that it drew attention to it. At that moment I knew the next scene would determine whether Miles was the killer based on his reaction. If he said “someone is trying to kill me because I handed Duke my glass!” then that (potentially) let’s him off the hook, but if he acted like he didn’t realize the drink was actually his then all suspecion should shift to him. But Johnson’s choice of having Miles actively lie and then actually show a replay that didn’t match what we just saw was even worse because it removed all doubt that Miles murdered Duke. I suppose Johnson was gambling that most wouldn’t have seen Miles hand the cup to Duke, but to anyone who did catch that the reveal of the killer was effectively spoiled at that moment. It was annoying.
    That being said, I did think it was a *fun* movie and annoying plot aside I enjoyed it (up until the last 20 minutes which soured me on literally every character) but I expected such a better mystery from Johnson.

  47. I actually think that this demonstrates a basic flaw in RJ’s thinking. I get that he loves to subvert expectations. But this runs right into Chesterton’s Fence. There is a *reason* why certain expectations hold, and why certain forms are used in storytelling.

    This is not to say that there is no possibility that a subversion can be excellent – but it must be done with extreme care. It must understand and respect the reasons why the expectations are there in the first place, even while avoiding them to achieve a greater result.

    In a murder mystery, the expectation is that the plot is like a puzzle – all the pieces are there, in plain sight, but it may not be obvious initially what is important and what is tangential, and how it actually fits together. But the unspoken covenant is that *you have all the information you need to solve the case, if you can make the right connections*. Implied in this is two things: 1) once you see the solution, you can see how it all fit together perfectly from the start, and 2) everything is explicable – people are acting in accordance with their character, no magical deus ex machina appears at the end, etc.

    Here we have a case where the pieces were -not- in plain sight for most of the movie; some are, but critical ones are missing, so you don’t get any real chance to try to work it out yourself. Further more, deus ex machina abound, such as the journal and the identical twin, both of which are simply unfair contrivances that allow characters to act in a sort of god-mode that should not have been available to them.

    He did subvert expectations in form, yes, but in such a way as to defeat that which makes the form interesting to begin with.

    RJ did something similar when he tried to defy expectations for SW:TLJ. By turning Luke Skywalker into a coward who tries to murder his own padawan, he subverted the Campbellian Hero’s Journey that Luke had in the original trilogy, even while making the character act differently than he actually would have done. He then systematically removed any interest in Rey’s own quest for identity, which might have touched off her own Hero’s Journey, but instead left her as a Mary-Sue shell of a character. He did not understand the form of the Star Wars universe – a mythology and a morality play – and instead just tried to subvert all the archetypes.

    I think Johnson is a smart guy who thinks of himself as a smarter guy than he actually is. He is capable of making good, interesting movies. But he is filled with hubris, and believes that his “clever” contrivances can substitute for the actual demands of the kind of story he is telling.

  48. Hey, Chris. Just wanted to let you know I really enjoyed reading your review. It was like a breath of fresh air. I left the film fuming with anger due to all these plot holes and could basically only find praise online (92% positive RT score!). I really wanted to like it too, since I was a huge fan of the Knives Out! original movie.

    There were a lot of lazy decisions taken with the script and this film doesn’t hold a candle to Knives Out. What struck me as the most glaring issue with the script is that none of the “Disruptors” have anything to gain by siding with Helen. In fact, they have everything to lose, since they have already lied in court to protect Norton’s character. So, the ending of the mystery doesn’t really make sense, as they would have had all the incentive in the world to either murder/silence Blanc and Helen or to put the blame of the fire on them.

    In addition, something you’ve said really resonated with me. Thematically, there could be a great movie about “cronies rebelling against the master”, so, something “Trumpian” about that. A good, intelligent movie could come out of that theme.

    Again, I’m really happy I found this page and I look forward to reading more of your thoughts. I’m already subscribed to the newsletter. Hugs from Brazil!

    • Thanks, Matheus!

      I guess with the Disruptors, it’s that none of them like Norton. So I could imagine if they’re all that sick of him that they’d take the opportunity to try and get rid of him. But it’s still flimsy, because, as you said, they have more to gain. And it could be the very next day all of them realize that lol.

      Thanks for subscribing and the kind words! Hopefully you’ve continued to enjoy the content!

  49. I hate the nonsense napkin too. App>Manpower/Risk+Crypto scalability? Seems like a business plan from the Step Brother minds of Prestige Worldwide. The weight put on that being the steal-able key to the success of the business was the dumbest piece of writing ever.

    • Oh man, haha. I watched in theaters so couldn’t really read the napkin. I never thought to actually see how good or bad it was.

  50. I hated the scene where Miles’s ‘friends’ turn against him. Felt like the movie tried to play it off as the only thing they’d lose for being honest people is the financial support of Miles. But obviously this is not true. All of them will be going to jail for falsely testyfing. If you think about this it is absolutely unlikely that the ‘friends’ would turn on Miles. Maybe I could buy it if it’s just about the money but not like this.

    • Yeah, they’d lose everything. Not just their careers but probably their freedom.

  51. Your final paragraph (not the update) is most salient. Are we to believe, that the happy ending actually came to pass?

    The friend group, all of whom have proven themselves to be narcissistic and willing to lie, can raise their hands on the stairs and say they’ll rat out Miles, but that requires them to *admit* to a federal, freaking crime (perjury) with real consequences. All of them will be ruined.

    This was a good takedown of the movie. So lazy, and so bad. But, worth noting that it’s not a terrible movie standing alone. It’s a 2.5/3-star movie on its own. But compared to its predecessor, it’s just bad.

    • Right? It’s insane to just leave it at “The audience should assume everything works out!”

  52. I typed in google that this movie was awful and got your review.
    You put way more effort into the review than this movie deserved.
    Uggh. I cannot explain how they got this cast to act in such a poorly scripted movie.
    I don’t get it.

    • Me either.

  53. Honestly, I do disagree with you a lot, but largely understand it to be a difference of opinion. However, the movie does acknowledge the differences between Helen and Andi.

    1. Clair suspects something’s up with her, which happens the first time that Helen as Andi spoke at length for the first time in the movie to one of Andi’s former friends.
    2. When she does make a conscious effort to talk, and not influenced by alcohol in doing so, she talks to Whiskey, who doesn’t know her enough to recognize the differences.
    2. She becomes more talkative as she grows more drunk. This is exhibited in her confrontations with the group. Yet, in that situation, when Helen as Andi storms off, Duke says “now there’s the Andi I know.” Implying that even Duke could sense that there was something amiss.
    3. Helen talks about how Andi and her would practice ‘rich bitch’ accent, and Helen clarified (or implied) that she was practicing that accent, emphasized by the second meetup between Blanc and her. For example, she had been studying her sister’s TED talks regularly to better mimic her manner of speech and knowledge.
    4. Blanc and Helen planned for her to avoid conversation whenever possible. Birdie, for example, tries to engage her in conversation, and Helen as Andi gives her the cold shoulder.

    Now, it’s clear you thought it’d be better if we knew she was faking, but to suggest that the film didn’t address the differences and complications doesn’t line up with the dialogue and story.

    • Hey hey! Appreciate the counter points. Honestly, it’s nice to have someone push back in a way that’s actually…good. That doesn’t happen as much as I wished it would. I think you’re right in pointing out that the movie does make an effort to establish some aspect of differences/complications/suspicion about Helen as Andi. But I don’t think I suggested anywhere in the piece that the movie didn’t address the differences? Just that what we got was subpar. I ran back through the piece, albeit briefly, and didn’t see anything like “The movie never addressed people being suspicious of the differences.” Moreso just that how it handled the whole thing was uninteresting.

  54. Didn’t like the movie. I liked the character dynamics of Knives Out. The characters in Glass Onion are all over the place. The premise that they didn’t really like each other made me not like them. 10 strangers packed in a box. I found Helen annoying and the twin replacement contrived and unbelievable. I didn’t care who was the killer. When it was finally revealed, after being told it was obvious this whole time (a “glass onion), I felt like nothing was accomplished. I didn’t even feel stupid, because I had given up guessing. I was just bored.

    How about the lady you just killed showing up and there’s no private conversation between the two of you? “Like, hey baby, how are you? You were so out of it last time we met… How are you feeling?” That would have helped to cement the feeling of a successful deception. Instead the most obvious problem is left floating there in the air, then revealed later in the film, which causes the film’s premise to collapse. If I had sent a threatening email AND ended up drugged by the person I was threatening, I would be extremely suspicious and cautious. It doesn’t make any sense that she’d show up and not say anything. Where is her handgun? Nothing in the film makes it make sense.

    It’s a stupid movie pretending to be smart, just like The Last Jedi.

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