Rian Johnson, et al, like to call his Benoit Blanc movies whodunnits, and they are, but not the way you’d assume. Knives Out starts as a whodunnit, morphs into a paranoid thriller where we’re rooting for the supposed murderer, only for it to morph back into a whodunnit by the end. Johnson’s follow-up, Glass Onion, on Netflix now, does a similar switcheroo. We think we’re watching one thing, with one victim and an unknown murderer, only to find out it’s something very different. But the biggest twist of Glass Onion is that there really wasn’t a twist at all.
Major spoilers from here on out, folks.
The setup of Glass Onion finds gentleman sleuth Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) joining a murder mystery trip to billionaire tech mogul Miles Bron’s (Edward Norton) lavish (ridiculously so) private island. The mystery starts right away. Why has Blanc been invited? Why would Bron’s jilted former partner Andi (Janelle Monae) show her face? And who could possibly be out to kill Bron for real?
The entire first act sets all the pieces into place. We learn about Andi having started the company and Bron promptly snaking his way into getting it all for himself. All of their supposed friends side with Bron, which has given them their own successes. But Andi’s presence puts everyone on edge, especially Bron who assumes she’s out to get him for real. Well, that’s sort of true. Men’s rights Twitch streamer Cody (Dave Bautista) dies suddenly and Bron believes the killer will strike him, only for Andi to end up dead.
Or so it seems. We then cut back to before the trip to learn the true-true. The woman we, and everyone, believes is Andi is actually her twin sister Helen. Andi is already dead, and Helen wants Blanc’s help in uncovering who killed her. This is a fun revelation because it lets the audience know Blanc was in on things from the start. Helen makes herself up to be Andi and arrives on the island with no one the wiser.
So then who killed Cody? And who shot Helen believing it be Andi? Occam’s razor this shit. The big twist, as Blanc tells the room, is not that it was some clever concoction by a genius, but the depraved act of a scared moron. Bron killed Andi, and Bron swapped his drink with pineapple in it with the pineapple-allergic Cody. He learned the truth and planned to expose him. Then during the hubbub, Bron shot Helen believing her to be Andi. It was all incredibly obvious, really, but we, like Blanc initially, expected something far more complex. Nope!
Like Knives Out, the resolution to Glass Onion feels a bit weird when you first see it. That’s not what you expected. But that’s exactly what Rian Johnson does best. We expect a criminal mastermind and instead get a rich doofus who thinks he’s better because he has money. The big twist is not who killed anyone, it’s how the killer will get their comeuppance. Nothing as sweet at the holiday like 1%ers facing consequences. It’s downright Dickensian.