At the end of 2019, Daggers in the Back surprised everyone and proved Rian Johnson’s talent for making movies that are fundamentally intelligent and funny in the conventional and popcorn genres. Johnson was burned out by the Star Wars experience. The Last Jedi – his excellent film, one of the best in the entire franchise – because he teased fans with a purely imaginative touch for them. Its visual and story decisions were so troubling that the saga returned to the famous bad guy (Jay Abrams) to close out his new trilogy in disappointing fashion.
Johnson focused on making the film, which, like all his work, has the packaging of a popular movie, but there’s a lot of substance inside. Daggers in the Back took the form of an Agatha Christie novel and updated it to criticize racism in the United States. Just like Jordan Peele did in Let Me Out With Terror, Johnson made it a whodunit, a word used to describe movies that aim to find out who the killer is. Cluedo’s modern, flexible and highly relevant game, which received Golden Globe nominations, won at the box office and continued to perform when it reached digital platforms.
That’s when Netflix was clear. The franchise potential was there. If the original source was the Agatha Christie novels, why not offer Johnson a (huge) check to make it into a movie franchise. Each of them would have their own secret and everything in common with the investigator Blanc, the face of Daniel Craig, who had pus in the tuxedo of James Bond. Johnson accepted the challenge and the check, and now comes the second installment of what should be a successful franchise. His prime ministerial strategy is also strange. Johnson managed a one-week release exclusively in theaters, and in a month, in the middle of Christmas, it will hit streaming.
Daggers in the Back: The Secret of the Glass Onion is second-hand evidence of Johnson’s brilliant mind. He knows that the surprise factor is missing, so he just pushes the gears towards satire and the tendency to exaggerate. It’s a less subtle and good movie that uses a cameo surprise, but deep down it’s still a fun movie that you can’t even blink at. The glass onion is a matryoshka that gradually reveals its different layers and rotates.
Little is known about the plot, suffice it to say that Blanc attends a party hosted by a tycoon who owns a technology company, and who has invited his friends to a luxurious vacation on his private island, where they play Cluedo. The secret is his own murder. The novelty here is that the crime has not been committed, or at least for the moment, so the beginning places the plot in a confusing way, investigating something that has not yet happened. That helps Johnson deal with one of the things he takes aim at: fake news.
This new piece unfolds as a scathing and relentless critique of a post-COVID society that would be better and more supportive, but has created an almost mental state of conservatism, denial, and anger that has perpetuated the victories. The Far Right and Attacks on the United States Congress. It’s brilliant that the writer-director puts something that didn’t happen at the heart of the mystery. They all take it for granted and talk about a murder that didn’t happen and they know it, but they play along with their rich friend who pays for their vacation.
But if Johnson is bashing anyone, it’s the incels and their idols, the purveyors of macho, misogynistic and xenophobic messages. The party planner, the brilliant Edward Norton, is nothing more than Elon Musk’s trump card. It is frontal and clear in his statements, his praise of ignorance and how he believes everything is for sale. As if that weren’t enough of a reference, in a beautiful scene that reflects on the past of his characters, Norton’s character is portrayed in different times: Tom Cruise in Magnolia, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, after characters who were in different times. Icons and referents of recent decades of incels, young extremists who express their anger on the Internet and start to act. His sidekicks include a recluse with a YouTube channel, an ambitious scientist, and an “independent” politician with many pending accounts. Also a mysterious character, Janelle Monae’s character, who is all charisma.
Although it’s not as well-rounded as the first, this sequel to The Glass Onion shows Johnson’s ability to navigate the X-ray community – it’s incredible how each of their masks in one scene defines their personalities and their position in the face of the pandemic – without. Giving up cigar fun. People will laugh, have fun and try to figure out the killer. Whoever wants it, that too with sharp and intelligent social criticism. If all Puñales por el back sequels are like this, welcome.
Source: El Diario