Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery Breaks Through The Stereotypes of Mystery Genre

“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” sets itself apart from and above the competition — unlike other murder mystery stories, the film adopts a lighthearted, comedic, and unique twist to the classic genre. Released to Netflix on December 23, 2022 after a week-long run in theaters starting on November 23, 2022, the film follows a group of longtime friends who go on an island gateway to participate in a murder mystery game, organized by their genius billionaire friend, Miles Bron (Edward Norton). Mysteriously accompanied by their estranged friend Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe) and the uninvited detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), their trip takes a turn for the worst when Bron’s plans for a playful pastime becomes a horrifying reality.

Where “Glass Onion” really shines is within its complex relationship between the seven friends, and the issues between each of them and Brand. All of the characters have their own agendas: some, like Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), want money to support her campaign, while others, like Brand, want revenge. These ulterior motives for attending the island getaway make it complicated for Blanc and everyone to solve the unexpected murder of Duke Cody (Dave Bautista) that occurs on the first night of the trip. Everyone is paranoid, on edge — yet even more surprising and unique is how the film keeps up a comedic tone as each of the eccentric characters allow their wild personalities to shine through.

Another one of the film’s impressive points is the clever use of detail. While there are plenty of clues littered throughout the scenes, it is near impossible to figure out what to focus on. The nuance of each character creates an incomprehensible mystery to solve as they all have bizarre behaviors, motives, and complex history with each other. But with this movie, the fun is not knowing what to look for. From the start of the movie, viewers are compelled to scrutinize every scene, no matter how weird or idiotic. So when there are inevitably no clues in the scene, the viewer must find another avenue to figure out the murder.

Additionally, some have criticized how shallow the film’s critique of the rich and elite in society as they portray Bron as a selfish character who buys superfluous items, including the Mona Lisa. The movie may have just wanted to make fun of the rich. The title of the film, “Glass Onion,” refers to the Beatles’ song with the same name — a tune that intentionally pokes fun at people who over-analyze their music. This deliberate allusion shows the movie’s intentions as one that is an easy and enjoyable watch, as the mystery was hidden in plain sight.

Overall, Glass Onion provided a breath of fresh air in the genre of mystery, focusing its attention on the humorous aspects of the storyline while still executing it in the way that kept the movie exciting. Nowadays, there have been more breakthroughs with exploring the space in between genres instead of falling into just one. And Glass Onion is most definitely an example of this.
“The Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” receives a 5/5 rating for its interesting plot and humor, while still achieving its role as a murder mystery.

Editor’s Note: Vera Zhang ’24 is a News Associate for The Phillipian.