(director/writer: Rian Johnson; cinematographer: Steve Yedlin; editor: Bob Ducsay; music: Nathan Johnson; cast: Daniel Craig (Benoit Blanc), Edward Norton  (Miles Bron),  Kate Hudson (Birdie Jay), David Bautista (Duke Cody), Leslie Odom Jr. (Lionel Toussaint), Kathryn Hahn (Claire Debella), Madelyn Cline (Whiskey), Jessica Henwick (Peg), Janelle Monáe (Cassandra “Andi” Brand); Runtime: 139; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Ram Bergman/Rian Johnson; Netflix; 2022)

The mystery whodunit breaks no new ground but is highly entertaining.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The sequel to Knives Out is directed and written by Rian Johnson (“Looper”/”Star Wars: The Last Jedi”). The mystery whodunit breaks no new ground but is highly entertaining, as it’s filled with twists, red herrings and has many murder suspects in its murder mystery. Netflix has paid Johnson a tidy sum of $450 million to write and direct two sequels to his 2019 hit whodunit Knives Out. Though making it more expansive, it uses the same winning formula.

The adventure takes place on a Greek island owned by the egoistic and power-driven billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton), who uses the island to create his own paradise. It has at its center a giant onion-shaped glass structure. Miles invites five friends, known as “The Disruptors,” who were sent a mystery wooden box, a puzzle to solve and when solved receive an invite to spend the weekend with him on his Greek island for a visit of fun and games.

The friends are excited about the visit but wonder what are the techie genius Miles’ true intentions for the sudden invite. The invited friends are Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), an airhead former supermodel turned fashion designer; the scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), who works for Miles; Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), a ruthless Connecticut governor interested in being a senatorial candidate; Peg, Birdie’s assistant (Jessica Henwick); the aspiring YouTube star and the ‘male rights’ activist Duke Cody (David Bautista) and his attractive girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline); and, Miles’s former business partner, Cassandra ‘Andi’ Brand (Janelle Monáe).

Also there is the eccentric, southern-accented, goofy detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), who received an invite but not from Miles, as first thought, but from one of the other invited guests. The dick has the wit to rattle all the snobs on the island and make them feel uncomfortable, which I found to be a hoot.

It’s set during the outbreak of the COVID pandemic.

Every character there has a gripe against Miles, and wants to harm him; and no character is exactly who they seem to be, as they all have questionable motives for being there. When a murder occurs, Blanc springs into action, and they are all suspects.

Though the murder story might be slight, it’s beautifully crafted with no false notes in its execution.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, and thought it was at least as good as the original (benefiting greatly from a much bigger budget).

It played at the Toronto International Film Festival (Special Presentations).

Kate Hudson plays a controversial social media user named

REVIEWED ON 11/8/2022  GRADE: B+