Written and directed by Rian Johnson, “Glass Onion” is the highly anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed and financially successful 2019 film by him, “Knives Out.” Here he follows Claire (a politician), Lionel (a scientist), Birdie (a fashionista), Peg (Birdie’s assistant), Duke (a social media influencer), Whiskey (Duke’s girlfriend), and Andi Brand (the ex-co-owner of Alpha) as they are invited to a murder mystery weekend on a remote island, during the pandemic, by their common, billionaire friend and current and only owner of Alpha, Miles Bron. Along with them, the world’s best detective, Benoit Blanc, joins the party, and just like in the first film, he doesn’t know who has hired him to oversee this weekend. But when someone drops dead, it becomes clear that there’s an actual murderer in their midst, and they are challenging Blanc to solve the puzzle.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Benoit Blanc Exposes The Problem With Overintelluctalism
After spending the whole day understanding what Miles actually does and how everyone there, with the exception of Benoit and Andi, is indebted to Miles for bankrolling their respective jobs, they arrive at the dining room to begin the murder mystery party. Since Benoit solves it within seconds, everyone is confused about what they are supposed to do for the rest of their vacation. Benoit plants the idea in Miles’s head that someone from his group of friends is out to actually murder him. Miles has already murdered Andi (the real Andi) to prevent her from exposing the fact that she was the one who came up with the idea of Alpha, not Miles. So, Miles not only makes the fake Andi (which is Helen, Andi’s twin sister) his target but goes after Duke as well because he thinks both of their existences are going to expose the fact that he has killed Andi. Helen luckily survives since the bullet from Miles’s gun (which he stole from Duke) lodges in her notebook. Duke doesn’t, and he dies due to an allergic reaction because Miles spikes his drink with pineapple juice. However, since Miles puts up this act that he’s the genius that the world desperately needs, he seems like the victim, while his desperate friends look like potential killers.
Blanc points out that Miles personifies the Glass Onion because the layers around him are performative, as they allow you to see his greedy, malicious core. As soon as Helen reveals how Miles took over Andi’s friend group and then her company, it becomes pretty clear that he’s the murderer in the room. But Rian Johnson, via Benoit and Helen, over-intellectualizes everything about Miles and the entire movie itself to highlight how, in this day and age, we are obsessed with faux layers instead of the objective truth. Miles is modeled after all the tech company CEOs who have exploited millions to make billions and talk about colonizing Mars, making a virtual world that’ll be better than the real world, or how NFTs and cryptocurrency are the future. That’s because they know that’s enough to distract the general populace and their investors from the cases of racism, sexual assault, or fraud labeled against them. And since folks out there are so desperate to discover the next Nikola Tesla, Marie Curie, or Albert Einstein that they purposefully buy into this grift. It only takes a moment of clarity (get it?) and the courage to be self-sufficient to see that you don’t need to associate your existence with the success of fake intellectuals like Miles.
See More: ‘Glass Onion’ Symbolism, Explained: Unpacking The Irony Of Miles Bron, The Mona Lisa, And Hydrogen Fuel ‘Klear’
Benoit Blanc Tells Us To See What We See Instead Of Seeing What We Are Told To See
While addressing how someone like Miles wraps themselves in lies, Benoit Blanc also points out how people like Miles warp our perception of reality. Before Duke’s death, we catch a glimpse of Miles making a drink, carrying it over to Duke, and Duke taking Miles’s glass. As soon as Duke drops dead, our murder mystery movie knowledge kicks in, and we assume that the “poison” that Duke has consumed was meant for Miles. But since the glasses got exchanged, Duke bit the dust, and Miles survived. When Miles essentially affirms our presumptions by loudly claiming that Duke drank the drink that was meant for him, the image of Duke taking Miles’s glass in our mind changes into Duke accidentally taking Miles’s glass. Rian Johnson plays with us by inserting a fake scene of Duke accidentally taking Miles’s glass too. But then, upon Benoit’s insistence, we get the actual scene (which matches the original scene from earlier in the film, which you can rewind and see for yourself) where Miles clearly hands his glass (that’s spiked with pineapple juice) to Duke to kill him. And then he goes on to hide the very device—Duke’s cell phone—that’s responsible for warping our perception in real life.
You can say that the commentary is pretty on the nose, but maybe it has to be to reach several generations of folks who are constantly online and are being bombarded with misinformation, the extent of which is so immense that people should be jailed for doing it. A certain social media platform was responsible for manipulating elections in the United States of America. The same social media platform was responsible for doing the same in several other countries, in addition to allowing the sharing of hateful videos against minorities. Its owner simply changed the name of the website and avoided any kind of consequences. Another social media platform that saw a significant level of democracy was purchased by a tech mogul just to make sure that its users saw the world through his lens. Thankfully, it is backfiring on him. But the damage that has been done is irreparable. The governments of certain developing countries have been accused of buying out the owners of mainstream news channels and advertisers so that people can see only what will motivate them for another term. That’s working brilliantly, and there’s seemingly no official cure for that brand of cancer. The unofficial cure is this: stay sharp, stay vigilant, and don’t let rich people manipulate you.
‘Glass Onion’ Ending Explained – Will Helen Get Justice? Is Claire, Lionel, Birdie, Whiskey, And Peg’s Realization Too Little Too Late?
So, the big falling out between Andi and Miles happened when Miles tried to push for a hydrogen-based compound (later labeled Klear) that would apparently revolutionize how people consume fuel. Andi was against it because it was a health and fire hazard, and she said that she’d walk out of the deal and take out her half of the company’s ownership if Miles didn’t put a stop to this plan. Miles reverse uno-d her by convincing his lawyers that he was the mastermind behind Alpha and that he had written the idea of the company on a napkin (which was a fake), not Andi. Lionel, Birdie, Claire, and Duke lied and corroborated Miles’s claim. Andi found the original napkin and threatened to expose Miles. That’s why Miles killed Andi and stole the envelope which had the napkin in it. Helen found the envelope that Miles had kept in plain sight. But Miles simply burned it, thereby destroying the only piece of evidence that proved Miles wasn’t the genius that he claimed to be. That’s why Benoit handed over the piece of Klear (that Miles had given him earlier) to Helen, who started a fire and then threw that piece into it, thereby causing said fire to bloom. Since the whole building was air-conditioned and fueled by Klear, the fire spread easily and destroyed everything.
In doing so, Helen ruined Miles’s plan to mainstream Klear because not only was it proven to be hazardous, but it also destroyed the Mona Lisa that had been kept for the Louvre. Additionally, this whole explosion of action gave Claire, Lionel, Birdie, Whiskey, and Peg the courage to speak the truth and rightfully frame Miles for lying about creating Alpha, killing Andi, and then destroying the evidence that proved all of it. Helen claimed that she had finally gotten justice. From an optimistic perspective, you can say that, yes, Helen has avenged Andi’s death. Her bold and brash actions have given the people who were dependent on Miles the courage to finally stand up for themselves. And Miles is probably going to go to jail for killing Andi, Duke, and destroying the most popular painting in the world. But if you see it all from a realistic and slightly pessimistic perspective, do you really think that Miles isn’t going to wiggle his way out of this? Haven’t we seen folks who are not as rich as Miles get away with worse? Because way too many people want them to succeed and want them to endure. Also, are we really trusting those five stooges to testify in court against Miles, especially when their entire careers depend on him, and he can still decimate them? I highly doubt it, and maybe that’s the dilemma Rian Johnson wants us to experience.
No matter how you cut it, “Glass Onion” closely resembles the world that we live in. We know these people. They are around us, virtually or physically. And if they aren’t, well, maybe you are the subject of ridicule in this film. So, naturally, the expected outcome of the events in the film is going to mimic what happens in real life. Rich people rarely go to jail. Without naming any names again, the former president of a country, who used to star in a reality show, managed to incite an attack at the seat of the legislative branch of the federal government. That man has people supporting him and his actions to this day. There are businessmen all across the globe who flout basic human rights, evade millions in tax money, and commit crimes that we can’t even imagine. What happens to them? Nothing. Because in a capitalistic world, there’s no room for morals and justice. It’s cute to think that there is. Maybe there are a few rare examples of the underdog coming out on top. Does that mean we should stop persevering for equity or start abiding by what the system wants of us? Absolutely not. We need to set fire to every monument of opulence and break down every illusion that’s demeaning our self-worth because doing so hurts people like Miles the most.
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Rian Johnson.