Reel Thoughts: ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ won’t have you cutting onions


Graphic by Joanne Haner

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” was digitally released on Netflix last month.

Jessica Ma, Senior Staffer

Content: This article contains mentions of suicide. 

This story also contains spoilers. 

Nobody does a whodunnit like bestselling novelist Agatha Christie. But Netflix’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” comes close, presenting a modern twist on a classic British-style mystery. 

The film is a sequel to 2019’s “Knives Out,” in which detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), a Hercule Poirot-esque character, investigates the death of a wealthy mystery novelist. Blanc returns to the screen for the second film. 

Moments of the film feel like stepping into a time capsule. The film, set in May 2020, draws on cultural iconographies of the pandemic. In one scene, Blanc splashes around in his bathtub and plays the mobile game Among Us, which blew up in 2020.

Tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invites five friends to his island mansion — dubbed the Glass Onion. In the evening, Miles hosts a murder mystery game. But the game becomes reality when a real murder takes place. 

The five invitees carry the film with their eccentric, dynamic personalities. The ensemble comprises of a “men’s rights” Twitch streamer Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), former-model-turned-sweatpants-designer Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), politician Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.) and the mysterious ex-business partner Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe). 

Though Miles didn’t formally invite Blanc to the party, he allows the detective to stay. Then, things go wrong. 

After choking on his drink at the dinner party, Duke collapses on the carpet and dies. Miles is adamant he was the one targeted, but as the film unravels, the truth becomes more complex. 

The smoking gun? A cocktail napkin. 

A flashback reveals that Andi supposedly committed suicide before the invitees even stepped foot on the island. The “Andi” on the island is actually her twin sister, Helen (Janelle Monáe) who believes Andi was murdered and seeks out Blanc’s help. Racing against the clock, Helen works with Blanc to find her sister’s murderer. 

Ten years ago, the friends met at a bar called Glass Onion. There, Andi scribbled the idea for her and Miles’s company, Alpha Industries, on a napkin. When Miles wanted to invest company resources in a hydrogen-based fuel, Andi raised concerns about its dangers. Miles had the four friends lie in court to maintain control of the company. The friends claimed Miles was the one who wrote the idea on the napkin, effectively kicking Andi out of Alpha. 

“Glass Onion” moves quickly, and its plot twists are satisfying — reminiscent of “Knives Out.” The camera jumps from character to character, developing a sense of franticness. 

Like its predecessor, “Glass Onion” also gives its heroes some well-deserved closure. Helen discovers the original napkin in Miles’ possession. From there, Blanc figures out Miles murdered Andi, and later Duke for being an eyewitness to his getaway from Andi’s murder. 

Blanc’s breakdown of the case is a highlight of “Glass Onion,” where the genius of its screenwriting shines through. From pineapple juice to Google alerts, seemingly disjointed bits and pieces of the film come together, revealing “Glass Onion” to be a carefully constructed story. 

Ultimately, Helen’s search for justice for Andi becomes the heart of the story. It’s a humanizing reminder of sisterly love, which contrasts the demoralizing financial dramas of the other four invitees — who Helen refers to as the “sh*theads.”

The movie is also on-point with its humor, taking a more light-hearted approach than “Knives Out.” Though its plot felt less complex than its predecessor, “Glass Onion” made up for it with its vibrant characters. 

“Glass Onion” proves that a whodunnit will never go out of style. The next Knives Out installment will have high expectations to meet. 

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @JessicaMa2025

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