Rian Johnson is an American writer and director recognized for writing and directing the science-fiction thriller Looper (2012), a critical and commercial success. He received the Directors Guild of America Award for outstanding directing for his work on three episodes of Breaking Bad (2008-2013), and he wrote and directed the space opera Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017). For Knives Out (2019) and its sequel Glass Onion (2022) he received Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay, respectively.
Knives Out follows master detective Benoit Blanc as he investigates the death of Harlan Thrombey, a wealthy mystery novelist. Thrombey is also patriarch of
a dysfunctional family, the members of which are planning a happy 85th birthday celebration for him. The film received universal acclaim for its screenplay, direction and acting and was named one of the top ten films of 2019.
It has an interesting cast featuring Daniel Craig as Blanc, Christopher Plummer as Thrombey, as well as Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger), Ana de Armas (No Time to Die), Jamie lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All at Once), and Toni Collette (Nightmare Alley, Unbelievable).
Plummer had a long and distinguished career on stage and in film, receiving his first Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Leo Tolstoy in The Last Station (2009). In 2011 at the 84th Academy Awards he received the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the comedy drama Beginners making him, at age 82, the oldest actor to win an Academy Award. In 2017 he stepped up to replace the disgraced Kevin Spacey in the already completed film All the Money in the World. All of the scenes that included Spacey were re-shot with Plummer, who then received numerous nominations for Best Supporting Actor.
He would be disappointed to know that after all of his serious, dramatic roles, he is probably best remembered by the general movie-going public for his roles as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965) and as Ebenezer Scrooge in The Man who Invented Christmas (2017).
Knives Out was the last film completed by Plummer before his death in 2021. It is a good movie, and deserves the sequel, Glass Onion, which is also wonderful. It deals once again with the experiences of Benoit Blanc, played again by Daniel Craig, as he attempts to solve a murder mystery on a Greek island while dealing with another crop of arrogant, ultra-wealthy, self-obsessed idiots. This film has some marvelous supporting performances, including Edward Norton as a monumentally selfish tech billionaire, Kathrine Hahn as the corrupt governor of Connecticut, Kate Hudson as a vapid, chronically insensitive fashion designer, Dave Bautista as an incredibly macho Men’s Rights YouTuber, and the spectacular Jannelle Monae expertly playing dual characters.
There are also some great cameos in this film. Hugh Grant, Angela Lansbury, Stephen Sondheim, Yo Yo Ma, Serena Williams and Natasha Lyonne all make appearances that will delight an audience.
Glass Onion reflects Rian Johnson’s writing skills with a masterfully written script, full of well executed twists and turns, as well as absolutely hilarious dialogue, and, as in its predecessor, a deep and abiding disdain for the ruling class, which is something this critic will always appreciate.
Two thumbs up. You can find this tremendous film on Netflix.