“Glass Onion: A Knives Out” from writer and director Rian Johnson is another uproarious take on the whodunit series that outdoes its predecessor in nearly every way. Turning in killer performances, Janelle Monae and Edward Norton lead an invigorating ensemble that makes this awards observer hope Netflix will put every available dollar behind making this its leading awards contender for 2022.
Daniel Craig reprises the role of Benoit Blanc, throwing himself into the funniest performance seen this year. It’s impossible to explain what the film is about without spoiling it, so we won’t do that. What we will do is tell you that the award for SAG ensemble is going to be a cutthroat race with “Glass Onion” in the mix alongside “Women Talking” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”
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The year of the consumer-friendly titles continues with titles like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Elvis” getting the season started, and “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” waiting in the wings. How many are going to be able to sneak into the awards picture?
Netflix, as always, will be juggling multiple projects and may seem light on the best picture front. Following the mixed reception for Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s “Bardo” and a good, but quiet drop of Noah Baumbach’s “White Noise,” the streamer would be smart to put all its efforts behind this film that has a smorgasbord of high points, and could find a pathway to best picture attention, something the first “Knives Out” failed to secure. Adapted screenplay may be the easiest trophy goal with its snap, crackle and pop of a script.
Acting attention could be more difficult to zero in on, as it could be hard to single out a single player. Monae would be the easiest actor to get behind with a role that brings new nuances to her performance after her roles in “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures” (2016).
Three-time Oscar nominee Norton has a role that remains memorable and calls back to one of his nominated turns in “Birdman.”
The artisan branches must not ignore this modernized gem. Rick Heinrichs’ production design and Jenny Eagan’s costumes are undeniably effective. Bob Ducsay’s editing creates a seamless pace that has the two hour and 19 minute runtime go right by.
Nathan Johnson’s composition is back in full force and would be an inspired choice for score, but there might be more obvious selections for the music branch to support.
This is where Netflix can flex its muscle. Show the Academy that it’s cool to embrace the comedy genre, and do so with an elevated pizzazz.
The “Knives Out” sequel already seems like a hit.
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