An excerpt from Reals’ script review for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery which will be available 01/01/23:
The Puzzle Box – It is an interesting opening and a fun way to introduce our main characters for this mystery – each one receives a strange puzzle box from someone named Miles and they all work together (via phone calls) to solve/open it.
Blake Snyder once called this technique “The Pope in the Pool” – basically, when you have to deliver a lot of exposition, try to do it in a visually exciting way.
This doubled-down on The Pope in the Pool technique, by not only giving us exposition, but giving us character introductions in a flashy, stylized way which kept the read moving and kept my attention.
The Puzzle Box 2.0 – There is a nice parallel here, after we have seen the lengths that the friends have to go to in order to figure out and open Miles’ puzzle box, when, on Page 16, it is delivered to Cassandra Brand – or Andi as she is referenced throughout the script – (referred to as The Woman in this scene for reasons that will become clear later on in the script), and she simply smashes the box open with a hammer and gets her invitation.
This is good for several reasons:
First, it was a funny visual in stark contrast to our previous scene(s) with the friends.
Second, it was a great, visual character moment that showed the audience who Cassandra was and how she solved problems without a single line of dialogue.
Third, it was also a great way to show that, even though the puzzle box was tedious, pretentious, and lame, everyone else is under Miles’ thumb and has decided to play along with his nonsense.
This will become important later, but it was nice that it is set up from our very first scene.
The Murder Mystery Game Resolution – Minor spoilers below:
Miles invites all of his “Friends” to the island for a “Murder Mystery Weekend”. It’s supposed to be a fun time as all of his friends look for clues and try to figure out who killed Miles.
However, the very first evening (for those reading along, starting at the bottom of Page 48), Blanc easily solves the murder mystery, ruining the weekend.
It was a funny scene, but also a good moment of characterization, as we get to see that Blanc really is a genius with an eye for detail, and that very little gets past him.
“It’s so much stupider than that!” – Though I will get into how Rian Johnson’s subversion of typical tropes didn’t really work here, I did like the fact that the reason Blanc can’t immediately deduce who the killer is from the beginning is that the crimes are just so stupid and poorly planned / executed.
It is a nice subversion of the “Sherlock / Moriarty” dynamic we are typically treated to, and I did get a chuckle out of it.
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