‘Glass Onion’ Characters, Explained: Understanding The Pretentious Characters Of Rian Johnson’s Knives Out 2

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It might take years to build or create something. But destroying that creation would simply take a single instant. Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion” attempted to send a similar message through its suspicious characters. The basic premise of the film revolves around Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), who showed up in the Tech Billionaire, Miles Bron’s (Edward Norton) mansion “Glass Onion” on an island of Greece to solve a murder mystery. Miles Bron, who referred to himself and his friends as “the disruptors,” favored disruptive behavior and quick fixes overachieving success through toil and graft. But in the end, their stupidity caused them to deal with even worse destruction.

Spoilers Ahead

Helen Brand, the twin sister of Cassandra Brand, cofounder of the technology company “Alpha,” hired Benoit Blanc to find out her sister’s murderer. This company was founded by Cassandra Brand, aka Andi, who wrote down her business idea on a napkin. But as time went on and Alpha started to succeed, Miles Bron, one of her friends and the cofounder, proposed the idea of a dangerous, explosive alternative fuel based on hydrogen. Andi rejected the idea due to the risk, turning Miles Bron against her. Miles then designed a sinister scheme to throw Andi out of the company. She tried to sue Miles for allegedly stealing her concept, but Miles and his entire gang of friends, who were once Andi’s closest buddies, betrayed her by presenting false testimony against her. However, Andi eventually discovered the napkin to prove that Alpha was her creation, but she was killed before she could make any further progress. Therefore, Helen’s sister wanted Benoit to track the murderer, but Blanc advised her to travel to the island as Andi to trick the killer. Blanc’s unexpected and uninvited appearance astonished Miles, who had only invited his group of friends for a murder mystery game. Blanc had already begun his investigation at the time, and he found out that Mile’s invited friends had all their different motives to kill Miles. Thereby, Blanc’s rigorous inspection helped him work through these suspects’ psyches to identify the real culprit.


Lionel Toussaint and Claire Debella 

One of the disruptors in Miles’ gang was the power-hungry politician and traitor Claire Debella. She was a smart woman and a shrewd opportunist. After Miles assisted her in winning the election, she understood the financial advantage and completely abandoned her longtime friend Andi by presenting false testimony in court. This ultimately led to her rise to political prominence under the influence of Miles. Similar circumstances applied to Lionel Toussaint, a substitute teacher before he met Miles. He later became a chemist and was known to his friends as the genius, but Duke’s mother seemed to be brighter than him because of her understanding of a mystery box Miles had sent to each of his buddies. Lionel and Claire were both well-educated and qualified in their respective fields, but they abandoned their middle-class profiles to become Miles’ pets, only to gain illimitable riches and recognition. Even when Miles suggested a hydrogen-based flammable compound, Klear, as a substitute fuel, they could sense something was wrong. Yet, in order to avoid losing their relationship with Miles and their conquered positions, Claire and Lionel promised him a lab trial, after which they would be able to begin marketing this fuel, but Miles went a step ahead by using the fuel for his Glass Onion mansion.

Claire and Lionel both knew they were fishing on the wrong side, yet they stuck with Miles because they had a fear of losing their prestigious and pretentious lifestyle. They were trapped in dread of losing everything, including fame, fortune, and so on, because Miles had purchased their relationship rather than earned it. Claire and Lionel were nothing more than objects for Miles to use or discard. So, in order to avoid being kicked out, they stayed on Miles’s side and blamed Andi for coming to the island. They were such mindless puppets that they arrived at Andi’s house to convince her to cease presenting the envelope as proof in court in order to protect Miles since if he lost the lawsuit, their money-making machine would be dismantled.


Birdie Jay and Peg 

Birdie Jay, the stupidest member of Miles’ gang, demonstrated in every way imaginable that she was a beauty without a brain. Her childlike innocence was endearing, yet her mindless actions were destructive. She had never given it a second thought before commenting on someone or tweeting something derogatory, and she had no regrets either. She was a young fashionista who began her career as a model before launching her own sweatpants brand, “Sweetie Pants.” She was so mindlessly ignorant that she mistook sweatshops for sweatpant shops and suggested a sweatpant factory there, jeopardizing her career and that of her assistant, Peg. She might have never had an internship, nor could she have her salary raised, so she has no choice but to rely on Birdie. Though Peg was aware that her career would suffer as a result of Birdie’s actions, Birdie was still trying to hear Miles out and was ready to make her statement to the public about Bangladesh just because Miles offered her $30 million for this. Miles, who was also a shareholder in Sweetie Pants, didn’t want his name associated with the unlawful action, so he asked Birdie to do it in exchange for money, and Birdie agreed without considering that her entire career would be wrecked if she made such a mistake.

The character of Birdie Jay hints at a new breed of professionals whose entire success and career rely on viral content and overnight success. These people often achieve their fame by passing derogatory comments on social media or in the press in order to maintain their spotlight. The common users or audiences, on the other hand, love to troll them for their nonsense or make “memes” about them, which evidently prompts them to continue making fools of themselves, believing their fans love them for such posts. We as viewers feed their egos instead of just ignoring them and doing so probably coaxes them to become more and more offensive. The entire issue with popularity or success gained in such ways is that these people tend to ignore conventional ways to earn a living. They often have no formal education (or knowledge), which diminishes their prospect of being humble, and what we often witness is a person who is humiliating others in order to find their existence. What happens if a certain social media platform goes down one day and one’s entire band of faceless followers just vanishes in a matter of seconds? In the absence of it, who are they? Do they really have any relevance in the world?


Duke Cody and Whiskey 

Duke Cody was the ideal portrayal of how social media influencers are not always a positive influence. He was an ordinary gamer and a close friend of Andi’s before meeting Miles and becoming one of his pets. Miles bought Duke’s loyalty by introducing him to Twitch, where a million followers and a reputation got him addicted to fame. He, therefore, betrayed Andi like the rest of the group in order to gain popularity and Miles’ favor. He rose to fame on Twitch, and in an effort to maintain his popularity and money, he recklessly began online trading of rhino pills, a sexual enhancement product, but in return, he was permanently banned from Twitch, thereby losing his entire popularity in seconds. Because of his notoriety, he became embroiled in controversies, and in response to that, he irresponsibly commented on women’s bodies, objectifying them. He was seen recording a video to discuss parts of women’s bodies, in which he objectified his girlfriend in an effort to make a patriarchal argument. After being banned from Twitch, he became a YouTuber, but his videos didn’t make much money. As a result, he was aggressive in his pursuit of a job as an anchor at Miles’ Alpha News company, even though he had no relevant experience or any knowledge in the field of journalism. Duke manned up by flashing a gun, yet he was living with his mother. He was essentially a man-child who was good for nothing. 

Duke was the kind of man who needed to rely on others to earn something. He forced his girlfriend to sleep with another man to get an opportunity. He even started blackmailing Miles after learning of Andi’s death because he was the one who spotted him leaving Andi’s house. But he was too naive to see that neither of these things could make Miles appreciate him. Therefore, before he could properly blackmail Miles to recruit him for Alpha News, he was silenced by Miles for good. On the other hand, his go-getter girlfriend didn’t like sleeping with Miles but did it just to get a piece of the profit when Miles would give it to Duke. She wished to establish her own brand, but instead of choosing hard work, she favored quick fixes that turned out to be futile. In Duke, we saw a certain kind of toxic addiction to fame, where people were willing to go to any lengths to maintain their spotlight. They indulge in immoral activities or exploit people around them just to feel good about themselves. These people generally develop a very high-fi lifestyle, believing they deserve it, and then, in order to maintain such a cost of living, they get involved in illegal activities like selling drugs to kids on a platform like Twitch. They lock themselves in their luxurious, self-designed prison waiting for their doom.


Miles Bron 

Miles Bron appeared to be a genius, but upon closer inspection, it became clear that he was really just a phony and a fraud. From a mystery box to a murder mystery game, not a single concept was his own. Even after killing Duke and pretending to be innocent, he still turned off the lights and grabbed Duke’s gun, which was once again Detective Blanc’s idea. He didn’t even have a sense of word choice, but his confident appearance and savvy style of speaking had the potential to manipulate others. He exploited the entire group of friends that Andi had brought to him and damaged their ability to think. He made them famous in order to use them as puppets, and everyone fell into his trap without even realizing it. He had an intriguing theory about himself and his friends being the disruptors, but it was absurd, given what he was doing with his company. He was preparing to launch Klear, a deadly substitute fuel, without thinking of the consequences, and he felt like a genius for not paying attention to its hazardous nature. When Andi rejected his idea, he took over the entire company by falsely proving her guilty. He killed Andi and Duke without even second-guessing it, demonstrating how the need for fame has corrupted his humanity. When Helen pointed out what he was truly disrupting, he had to come to a stop. She ignited the Glass Onion with the Klear and hurled the substance into the flames, setting off a huge explosion. Even though everyone miraculously survived, Miles lost everything, including the priceless Mona Lisa that he had acquired on a short-term loan from the Louvre. His entire career was wrecked right in front of his eyes, turning him into the gigantic zero that he truly was.


Andi and Helen Brand 

Cassandra “Andi” Brand introduced Miles to her group of friends when they didn’t even like him. But after Miles offers them a shortcut to fame, they all reveal their true identities by betraying Andi. They left Andi alone and stayed where they knew there would be profit. Since Miles was a White man, everyone in her group was fascinated by him and his borrowed ingenuity, but because Andi was a woman of color, neither the law nor her closest friends supported her. Andi was brave and determined to defend her company up until the end of her lawsuit. But when she found the envelope, she made a big mistake by sending an email to Lionel and Claire. Consequently, she was killed by Miles Bron. But Miles mistakenly thought the chapter was closed. Even though Andi had lost the game, she had a twin sister who was braver and a tougher player than her. Helen hired detective Blanc and came on the island as Andi to get a closer look at these suspects, among whom one was the real murderer. However, once Miles’ crimes were exposed, she showed him the actual napkin that would have revealed the fact that Andi was Alpha’s creator, but Miles burned it to save his neck. In response to that, Helen, who was a cool, controlled kind of person, thus showed him the actual destruction by blowing up his Glass Onion. She didn’t get her sister back or the napkin, but Lionel, Claire, and Birdie regained their capacity to think, and they eventually turned away from Miles in favor of Helen. They consented to testify against Miles for Duke’s murder and burning the napkin, which would undoubtedly start Miles’s downfall.


Final Words

“Glass Onion” had a satisfying ending with an entertaining storyline that you may watch without giving it too much thought. These characters, ranging from politicians to social influencers, were intricately diabolical and brought up a variety of contemporary societal problems, demonstrating that individuals would do everything to keep their social standing and popularity, even if it meant hurting the ones they care about. “Glass Onion” is a funny movie with excellent cameos, amazing performances, and scenes with climaxes that had us hooked to the screen. Without a doubt, this is a film to watch multiple times in order to appreciate its aesthetics, humor, and those hilariously dangerous characters. 


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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami is an artist and an aspiring screenwriter both by profession and passion. Apart from writing stories, poems and songs, studying cinema is her obsession. She is also a freelance painter yet it is the world of cinema that fascinates her the most.

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