I recently watched the movie, Glass Onion, staring Daniel Craig and, among others, Janelle Monáe. I didn’t know much about Janelle Monae, but the movie includes two Bowie songs in its soundtrack, “Star” and “Starman.” Little did I know there was almost a third— “Moonage Daydream.” There was an idea for a character played by Edward Norton and Monae to have had an occasion to sing the song together. It didn’t end up happening in the movie, but Monáe, in addition to being an actress, is also a singer, and what do you know? She’s already covered the song.
This video was clearly taken by a fan and what you’re watching isn’t all that great, but the sound quality is good enough, and the performance by Monáe and someone called Young Pete is terrific. I would have liked to have seen her do the song in the film, with or without Norton.
So about the film…it’s OK. It’s clearly trying to be like an Agatha Christy mystery, and Daniel Craig is clearly trying to establish a character that’s very different from James Bond. His “great detective” has some of the qualities of a Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot, but he’s also a goofball with a goofy sounding accent (coming out of Craig’s mouth). For me, it isn’t always clear what contributions his character is actually making to solving the mystery (as opposed to Monáe’s character). But he’s not simply an observer. Part of the plot involves Norton’s character staging an elaborate murder mystery weekend game, which, after a lot of buildup, Craig’s character immediately and instantly solves, ruining Norton’s character’s plans for the weekend. Craig’s character also reveals Norton’s to be an idiot. Norton’s character is supposed to be an Elon Musk-style eccentric billionaire, and because of that, we the audience assume that he’s standing on solid ground when he says nonsensical things, poorly explains a juvenile pseudo-philosophy and hires other people to create things. We should have seen it all along, but it took Craig’s character point out what should have been obvious.
That’s all good, as is the placement of the two Bowie songs, which play almost in their entirety. But the lead up to the mystery takes too long, many of the characters are too cookie-cutter and exaggerated, and the whole thing is neither as clever or funny as it could have been. But, hey, like I said, it was OK.