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NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ is a Great Pastime 


This review contains spoilers. 


This film begins with several key players: Claire Debella, Lionel Toussaint, Duke Cody, and Birdie Jay. Toussaint is the head scientist for a company called Alpha, which is debating whether they should use the hydrogen-based alternative fuel “Klear” on an airplane, as the substance is extremely reactive.  

Debella, a mother and the governor of Connecticut, is running for a position in the United States Senate. Cody is a men’s rights activist who is seen streaming and preaching about “mandom” from his mother’s basement. Finally, Jay is a former model who does not filter what she posts online and is not the brightest bulb in the box. 

They each receive an invitation to a private island getaway to solve a false murder mystery revolving around Miles Bron, the co-founder of Alpha and their close friend. When they gather in Greece, the audience learns that detective Benoit Blanc will also join the group.  

As soon as the five — or rather seven, counting Jay’s assistant Peg and Cody’s girlfriend — are just about to board the yacht, Bron’s ex-wife Cassandra Brand appears.  

Eventually, the murder mystery game becomes real when Brand, Toussaint, Debella, Cody, and Jay get into an argument about the group’s betrayal of Brand. Suddenly, Cody starts choking while taking a drink; once he falls, Blanc confirms that he has passed away.  

While this pandemonium is taking place, the viewer is taken back in time to a crucial scene with only Blanc and Brand. A woman by the name of Helen Brand comes to visit Blanc and tells him that she is the sister of the late Cassandra Brand, who allegedly committed suicide after Toussaint, Debella, Cody, and Jay turned their backs on her in an intellectual property trial about Klear. 

Blanc reveals that the “Cassandra Brand” present is truly Helen Brand, who has come to punish the group for their roles in her twin sister’s death. While the rest of the group betrayed Cassandra Brand, Bron was her actual murderer. Blanc encourages Helen to burn down Bron’s house using a chunk of Klear. 

Blanc informs the group that the police will arrive in the morning. The rest of the group unanimously agrees to testify against Bron. Seeing that this is the best they can hope for, Blanc and Brand head back to the mainland on a speedboat.  


I’ll start with the characters. There is no question that Blanc is a smarter man than the general populace, and I credit director Rian Johnson for actually showing it. He uses words and complex sentences that make no sense to the viewer at first listen, but they are what draw us into his personality in the first place.  

Every single character is relatable; the audience can see themselves in such positions at some point in their lives. The personalities are a bit kooky, but essentially down to earth and not Mary Sues, superheroes, or villains.   

Bron is a billionaire, and even though we don’t have the same kind of wealth he does, he has a paranoia of being betrayed, a mindset that people develop with the more successful they get. Blanc is like a present-day Sherlock Holmes who solves mysteries, and who doesn’t want a good mystery in their own life? Toussaint and Debella resemble average middle-class citizens who worry about their jobs and reputations.  

While Cody is a satirical figure of some men in today’s society who preach about masculinity and toughness, Jay is a ditzy has-been celebrity present for comedic relief. In fact, she is so removed from society that her scenes are always comical. Finally, her secretary Peg reminds me of all us NJIT students: trying to do damage control when dealt a less-than-favorable hand.  

As for the murder plot, the moment you think you have figured it out, the film throws you a sharp curveball. I was so sure at the beginning that due to Jay’s unfortunate choice of words with Brand, who was parading around as her sister, Jay was sure to order a hit on the billionaire. But then I realized that she did not have the mental capacity to do so, and Peg was just an exasperated, glorified babysitter.  

 Then, I thought the death might be a collaboration between Debella and Toussaint because their reputations were at risk, but even they wouldn’t risk Bron’s death because they needed his cash input to survive. Out of options, I thought the murderer could be Blanc because he was never originally invited to the getaway, but he had no motive. With the sheer curiosity that this film provoked, and the witty interactions between the characters, it is worth watching.  

I never once thought that it was the rich CEO pulling all the strings, which in hindsight was rather naïve of me. Then again, I am not a detective, and nor did I have the full picture. It is always the rich man doing something; in fact, the actions of Bron are so doltish, they are brilliant.   

I will confess that Marvel Studios and the DC Cinematic Universe have often set the cinematic bar too high for me. It is an unrealistic desire to expect all films of all genres and starring all actors to reach that mark. Therefore, it is sometimes hard not to compare films; it is a basic instinct.  

If you are watching this for information, then I am sorry to say that you are in the wrong genre; National Geographic might be better for you. Personally, I watched this film to escape from reality and give my brain a chance to shut down. It is similar to the reason why people prefer to watch trashy romantic comedies. Therefore, I have to rate this film a good 3.75 out of five crabsters! 

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Vaishnavi Kodali, Staff Writer
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