Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery opens in theaters today and marks the debut of writer/director Rian Johnson’s sixth feature film. In the years since his feature film debut brick, Johnson has risen to become one of the most celebrated filmmakers of his generation, a creator proficient at both writing and directing, and a versatile storyteller capable of working in several different genres, sometimes all at once. With glass onionhe proves his skills once again with another handcrafted crime thriller with an unforgettable cast and a mystery worth savoring.
But how works glass onion compete with Johnson’s other feature films, including his original Benoit Blanc mystery film, knife out? Well, that’s what we want to find out today. From his first movie to his latest, this is every Rian Johnson movie worst to best.
RELATED: The plot thickens! Rian Johnson & Daniel Craig after Glass Onion for more Knives Out movies
6. The Bloom brothers (2008)
To be clear, Rian Johnson has never made a bad movie. Every feature film he has produced has its own unique charm and sense of originality, but something needed to get to the bottom of it, and this is where his second attempt at writing/directing lands. The story of two con-artist brothers (Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody) and their plan to involve a wealthy heiress (Rachel Weisz) in a journey across Europe. The Bloom brothers has many of the hallmarks of the capers that Johnson would later employ knife out films and displays the same deft blend of new and old film styles that he brought with him brick. It’s never quite as smooth and brilliant as its ambitions suggest, but that doesn’t stop the film from being a fun, breezy ride with a winning cast.
5. brick (2005)
Johnson’s feature film debut heralded a bright new voice in the world of crime cinema, establishing Johnson’s penchant for old-school noir and crime films with a fresh twist. brick plays out like a classic crime story that could have been filmed decades earlier, but with the added twist of being set in a contemporary high school with contemporary closets. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is great as a grieving teenager who decides to play detective and everyone rises to walk the tightrope that is the script, which seems to walk in two worlds without straying too far into one or the other stumble. brick is a gem of a debut and proves that Johnson has always been a filmmaker worth watching.
4. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)
After gritting his teeth on his first two feature films, things changed in Johnson’s production, and since then every film he’s made has been great in its own way. This includes glass onion, the second Benoit Blanc mystery and Johnson’s latest attempt at pure crime territory. Set on a shimmering private island with a cast of super-rich characters who all seem to be keeping a secret or two, glass onion Like its predecessor, is both contemporary and timeless, a film that unveils deep character moments without losing sight of a deeply funny, beautifully fast-paced mystery. It’s another genre masterpiece in a career that’s increasingly filled with it.
3. grinder (2012)
In 2012, Johnson married his love of crime cinema with his love of sci-fi, giving us the gift of the time travel gem grinder, the story of a hitman (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who must confront his own future self (Bruce Willis) while trying to keep his entire world from collapsing around him. Set in an impeccably designed dirty near future world and with one of the best performances Willis has ever given, grinder is still one of the best science fiction films of the 21st century even ten years after its debut. It’s a testament to Johnson’s ability to straddle genres without losing a step, something that would come in handy in his solitary exploration of someone else’s franchise (more on that in a moment).
2. knife out (2019)
After working in crime cinema for years and thus actually starting his career, Johnson took over the cozy police department knife out, and reminded us what a special filmmaker he is. Based on a script as precise as a Swiss watch, an ensemble cast filled with legends, and a production design you’ll want to step into and live in. knife out is a master class at delivering the genre goods while beating expectations. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had at a movie theater in the last ten years, and it gets better every time I watch it.
1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)
I know this is going to be a controversial choice for some because people online are still angry about the supposed sins of The Last Jedi, five years after its publication. But I don’t care because I think Johnson’s take on a galaxy far, far away is the best war of stars Movie since 1980, and maybe the best war of stars movie at all. Built on the foundation of a deep love for the franchise and transformed by Johnson’s own talent for unexpected, deeply compelling story twists, it’s an impeccable exploration of how war of stars became what it is now, what that means for the people who love it, and how the story continues. The fact that we still argue about it today is a testament to its greatness, and I mean it ambitious. In a career that hasn’t produced a single bad cinematic experience, The Last Jedi remains an absolute masterpiece.
Looking for more gumboot crafts? All seasons of Columbo and Murder She Wrote are now streaming on Peacock.
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