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Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (12A, 139 minutes)
The name’s Blanc… Benoit Blanc
2019’s Knives Out coined in almost $313million from a $40million budget on box office takings alone, relegating Ken Branagh’s Poirot reboots to also rans and creating a renaissance for the all-star whodunnit.
So much so that Netflix came in with a $400million deal with producer, director and star for a sequel (and probably another to follow) which sees Glass Onion appear in cinemas for one week only before appearing on the streaming service from December 23.
This is a bit unfortunate as it’s one of those lavish productions that begs to be seen on the big screen.
But while it certainly has the style, does it have the substance to back it up?
A group of friends, each successful in their own fields, are invited to their long time pal and benefactor’s private Greek island for a weekend of luxury and fun.
Part of the fun planned by the tech billionaire (Edward Norton – a strange choice for an ensemble piece as he’s notorious for not being a team player) is for the group, which includes a state governor (Kathryn Hahn), a completely dense fashion designer (Kate Hudson) and social media influencer (Dave Bautista) to solve his murder.
However, one unexpected addition to the guest list is the world’s greatest detective – no, not Sherlock Holmes, but Louisiana gentleman sleuth Benoit Blanc.
Daniel Craig could not have chosen a role more different to James Bond, while still remaining in the good guy/hero mould. We all know that no one rocks a dinner jacket like Bond, but Blanc is the most absurdly dressed figure to hit the screen since Austin Powers, and at least he had an excuse.
Where Poirot has his distinctive moustache, the similarly sexually ambivalent Blanc has a strong southern states accent and an eye for fashion that even a colour blind 1930s playboy would have a problem finding dapper.
But this is all part of the appeal as a screenplay with some creative plot twists is littered with moments of humour from an unexpected cameo and things going on in the background that if you blink you will miss to Hudson’s Birdie Jay’s laugh out loud politically incorrect faux pas.
Hudson and Hahn are wonderful, as is singer Janelle Monae (I can’t say more about her for fear of spoiling the denouement).
It’s Craig, however, who dominates every scene – the switch from stately home to a tech wizard’s playground in the sun giving him room to turn the Blanc-ness up to 11 while the steely eyes at times still betray a glimpse of the MI6 killer he will forever be associated with.
Netflix is obviously looking at Glass Onion as an investment in its bid to improve subscriptions, but catch it in a cinema if you can.