Warning: Spoilers for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery ahead.
After one short stay in theaters in November, Glass Onion: A Knife Mystery is streaming on Netflix. And this onion isn’t making many people cry. It has earned a “universal” rating on Metacritic and a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and as of Tuesday, is The 10th most watched movie of all time on Netflix.
Here are the answers to some of the questions people are asking about the movie, its twist ending, and the famous movies and other easter eggs thrown in along the way.
Glass Onion bottom explained
Here come the spoilers.
In a very Agatha Christie arrangement, a group of friends gather on an isolated Greek island for a weekend break. They are staying in a domed glass-topped mansion called the Glass Onion.
Elon Musk-style billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) has gathered the group of old friends together. Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) makes an invitation and breaks up the fake murder Miles has set up for himself. But then, it seems, the real killings begin. The gun-toting Duke (Dave Bautista) drinks from Miles’ cup and dies. And Miles’ former business partner Andi (Janelle Monae) appears to have been shot. (Except for the bullet lodged in a journal she was carrying and she’s fine.)
But this is a strange film, and we soon learn that Andy died before leaving the island, supposedly by suicide. Her twin sister, Helen, kept Andy’s death a secret and went on a journey posing as her twin to try to solve the murder. She hires Blanc to come along.
It turns out they all had a motive to kill Andy. She and Miles started a tech company, Alpha, based on a business strategy Andy sketched out on a napkin at their favorite bar, the Glass Onion. Miles copied the napkin sketch and claimed it was his idea, and the others all lied in court to support his claim because he was helping them financially. But some time later, Andy found her original sketch of the napkin, which unlike the copy, has the glass onion logo on the napkin. She foolishly alerted all her friends to find her, and since they all lie in court against her, they all have a reason to seek her death.
The killer ends up of course Miles, who insulted his ex-partner and tried to make it look like a suicide. Duke later tells Miles that he knew about the murder, and that explains why Miles killed him — by putting pineapple juice, something Duke is allergic to, in his drink. (Apparently allergic reactions to pineapple can actually be fatal.)
Miles manages to burn the all-important napkin, prompting an outraged “Andy” (who is actually Helen) to break all his glass statues, with the other guests secretly hating and resenting Miles who eventually joined the party of destruction. Alpha’s big new product is a hydrogen fuel called Klear, and Miles is pushing it despite knowing it’s dangerous. Andy left the company for this. Blanc vengefully gives Helen a piece of Klear and she blows up the glass onion with it.
This wouldn’t be such a big deal, except that Miles somehow leased the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris, claiming the museum was closed due to COVID-19 and “France needed the money” (yeah, that rich it’s him). The museum insisted that the painting be behind fireproof glass, but Miles insisted on a change, saying he should look at the painting in the eye. Helen hits the override and we all get to watch the world’s most famous works of art melt away. The final scene shows the police boats streaming towards the island as all the other guests vow to bring back Miles, now exposed as a double murderer and the man who destroyed the Mona Lisa.
The destruction of the Mona Lisa is the only thing that finally gets to Miles, who wanted to be remembered forever in the same conversation as the painting. And… now he will be. Meanwhile, director Johnson says he sees the Mona Lisa living in Helen, the woman who destroyed her, but also the woman who found justice for her late sister.
Famous glass onion cameos
The cast is star-studded, with Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Norton and Craig among the cast. But there are some fun shows to watch out for.
Among us the call of the famous
Early on, Blanc is seen in the bathroom playing Between us with four friends via an Internet call. Those friends are not just ordinary people, they are actress Angela Lansbury, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, composer Stephen Sondheim and actress Natasha Lyonne. (Sadly, Lansbury and Sondheim have died since the movie was filmed.)
Hey, if Miles can afford to rent this world’s Mona Lisa, he can also afford to keep tennis icon Serena Williams on the phone as his virtual personal trainer. She appears on a large video screen and tries to get Blanc to train.
Hugh Grant doesn’t have a major role, but he is briefly seen as someone who answers the door at Blanc’s house (partner? friend?). Like many others, he apparently spent the pandemic in the kitchen cooking.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma makes an early appearance as a guest at a wild, chichi party. His musical knowledge helps Kate Hudson’s character Birdie figure out how to solve the puzzle box containing her invitation to the island from Bron.
Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is heard but not seen. Miles has a clock of some kind that announces a musical “bong”! every hour, and Gordon-Levitt speaks.
Actor Ethan Hawke has a brief and odd scene as one of Bron’s employees. He drops a magical COVID-19 preventative (or something?) into each guest’s mouth before they board a boat to the island, allowing them to take off their masks and making the plot unnecessary to affect pandemic precautions. Still, there are plenty of references to “pando,” and how it’s kept everyone inside for so long.
Where was the movie shot?
Bron takes his friends to his supposed “private island” in Greece. Production designer Rick Heinrichs told Conde Nast Traveler that those scenes were shot at a luxury resort called Amanzoe, located near Porto Heli, with other scenes filmed on the Greek island of Spetses. (Maggie Gyllenhaal’s 2021 film The Lost Daughter was also shot in Spetses.)
The film’s opening party scene was shot in Belgrade, Serbia, the film’s costume designer, Jenny Eagan, told Men’s Health. And Heinrichs confirmed that Serbia had a lot of love for the glass onion, saying, “Everything that’s placed in New York or the Northeast is made in Serbia.”
Can rich people rent the Mona Lisa?
In the film, Miles Bronn pays the Louvre Museum in Paris big bucks to borrow the famous Mona Lisa painting. The 500-year-old masterpiece has indeed left the Louvre at various times, but not at the whim of a rich man who wanted to hang it in his Greek pleasure palace.
During World War II, the French moved it to different locations to protect it from the Nazis. Before that, in 1911, it was stolen, but was found when one of the thieves tried to sell it.
The Mona Lisa was also exhibited in Washington DC and New York in 1962 at the request of then First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
In 2019, Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez said the museum would not include the painting in a traveling exhibition of France’s masterpieces because it is too fragile.
But the painting has a protective structure, just like the glass bulb. Since 2005, it has been hanging inside a temperature-controlled box behind bulletproof glass.
Glass Onion ice cream actually exists
No really. Van Leeuwen Ice Cream made a glass onion ice cream flavor. (You can buy it online to be shipped dry iced.) The flavor mirrors the movie by mixing vanilla ice cream with Greek yogurt for a Greek setting, honeycomb candy for a glass crunch, and a swirl of bourbon caramelized onion jam . I’ve tested it, and while the onion smell is immediately off-putting, the cooked onions are so sweet that it’s…almost okay?
The Beatles connection to the Glass Onion
In the film, the “glass onion” refers to the giant glass dome on Miles Bron’s Greek mansion. Beatles fans, of course, recognize the title as a 1968 track from the band’s famous White album. Johnson knew he wanted a glass-related title, and told Deadline that when he searched for the word “glass” in his phone’s music app, the Beatles’ glass onion popped up and he was inspired. The song plays over the closing credits.
“But I was always surprised, when I showed the script around, how many people didn’t know it was a Beatles song,” Johnson said. “I thought everyone knew the glass onion, but I guess they don’t.”
There’s another Beatles reference. In Bron’s first scene, he’s trying to play the band’s song Blackbird on guitar and pretends that the instrument he’s playing is the one Paul McCartney wrote the song on. He then hugs Birdie and tosses the guitar carelessly onto the beach as she looks horrified.
Will there be a Glass Onion sequel?
The glass bulb itself is a continuation of the type. Daniel Craig’s detective character Benoit Blanc first appeared in 2019’s Knives Out, though the rest of the cast is new. Netflix bought two Knives Out sequels, so expect another Blanc detective film, perhaps with an entirely new cast, to emerge eventually. Director Rian Johnson told Deadline that he knows he will have to keep the franchise fresh and not just rehash the first two films. No release date or title yet.
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