Did you catch all the Beatles references in the Knives Out mystery on Netflix? And can richies really rent the Mona Lisa?
Warning: Spoilers for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery ahead.
After a brief stint in theaters in November, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is streaming on Netflix. And this onion isn't making many people cry. It's earned a "universal acclaim" rating on Metacritic and a certified fresh rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and as of Tuesday, it's the No. 10 most watched movie of all time on Netflix.
Here are answers to some of the questions people are asking about the film, its twist-filled ending and the celebrity cameos and other Easter eggs dropped along the way.
Here come the spoilers.
In a very Agatha Christie setup, a group of friends gather on an isolated Greek island for a weekend getaway. They're staying at a mansion with a domed glass top dubbed the Glass Onion.
Elon Musk-esque billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) has called the group of old friends together. Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) finagles an invite and foils the fake murder Miles had set up for himself. But then, the real murders appear to begin. Gun-toting Duke (Dave Bautista) drinks from Miles' glass and dies. And Miles' former business partner Andi (Janelle Monae) appears to have been shot. (Except the bullet lodged in a journal she was carrying and she's fine.)
But this is a twisty film, and we soon learn Andi died before the island getaway, supposedly by suicide. Her twin sister, Helen, kept Andi's death under wraps, and went on the trip pretending to be her twin to try to solve the murder. She hires Blanc to come along.
Turns out everyone had a motive to kill Andi. She and Miles started a tech company, Alpha, based on a business strategy Andi sketched on a napkin at their favorite bar, the Glass Onion. Miles copied the napkin sketch and pretended 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, Andi found her original napkin sketch, which unlike the copy, has the Glass Onion's logo on its napkin. She stupidly alerted all the friends to her find, and since they all lied in court against her, they all have a reason to want her dead.
The killer ends up being Miles, of course, who offed his ex-partner and tried to make it look like a suicide. Duke later told Miles he knew about the murder, and that explains why Miles killed him -- by putting pineapple juice, something Duke's allergic to, in his drink. (Apparently reactions to pineapple allergies can indeed be deadly.)
Miles manages to burn the all-important napkin, prompting an outraged "Andi" (who's actually Helen) to break all his glass statues, with the other guests who secretly hate and resent Miles eventually joining in the destruction-fest. Alpha's big new product is a hydrogen fuel called Klear, and Miles is pushing it despite knowing it's dangerous. Andi left the company over this. Blanc gives the revenge-minded Helen a chunk of Klear, and she blows up the Glass Onion with it.
That wouldn't be as big of a deal except Miles has somehow rented the Mona Lisa from Paris' Louvre, claiming the museum was closed due to COVID-19, and "France needed money" (yes, that's how rich he is). The museum insisted the painting be behind fireproof glass, but Miles installed an override, saying he needs to look the painting in its eyes. Helen hits the override and we all get to watch the world's most famous artwork melt. The last scene shows police boats streaming toward the island as all the other guests vow to turn on Miles, now exposed as a double-murderer and the man who destroyed the Mona Lisa.
The Mona Lisa's destruction is the one thing that finally gets to Miles, who longed 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 on in Helen, the woman who destroyed it, but also the woman who found justice for her late sister.
The cast is star-studded, with Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Norton and Craig among the actors. But there are some fun cameos to watch out for.
Early on, Blanc is seen in the bath playing Among Us with four buddies via an online call. Those buddies aren't just regular people, they're 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 the Mona Lisa in this world, he can also afford to keep tennis icon Serena Williams on call as his virtual personal trainer. She shows up on a big video screen and tries to get Blanc to work out.
Hugh Grant doesn't have a big role, but he's seen briefly as someone who answers the door at Blanc's place (partner? friend?). Like many others, he apparently spent the pandemic in the kitchen baking.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma appears early on 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 that contains her island invitation 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 voices the word.
Actor Ethan Hawke has a brief and odd scene as one of Bron's employees. He squirts a magical COVID-19 preventative (or something?) into each guest's mouth before they board a boat to go to the island, allowing them to take off their masks, and freeing up the plot from having to touch on pandemic precautions. Still, there are plenty of references to the "pando," and how it's kept everyone indoors for far too long.
Bron takes his friends to his supposed "private island" in Greece. Production designer Rick Heinrichs told Conde Nast Traveler 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 movie The Lost Daughter was also shot on 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 Serbia got a lot of Glass Onion love, saying, "Anything set in New York or the Northeast was created in Serbia."
In the film, Miles Bron pays big bucks to Paris' Louvre Museum to borrow the famed Mona Lisa painting. The 500-year-old masterpiece has indeed left the Louvre at various times, though not at the whim of a rich guy who wanted to hang it in his Greek pleasure palace.
During World War II, the French moved it around to a variety of places to protect it from the Nazis. Before that, in 1911, it was stolen, only to be found when one of the thieves attempted to sell it.
The Mona Lisa also was exhibited in Washington DC and New York in 1962 at the request of then-First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.
In 2019, the director of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, said the museum would not include the painting in a traveling exhibition of France's masterpieces because it is just too fragile.
But the painting does have a protective setup, just like it does in Glass Onion. Since 2005, it's been hanging inside a temperature-controlled box, behind bullet-proof glass.
No, really. Van Leeuwen Ice Cream made a Glass Onion ice cream flavor. (You can buy it online to be shipped to you with dry ice.) The flavor reflects the film by blending vanilla ice cream with Greek yogurt for the Greek setting, honeycomb candy for a glassy crunch, and a swirl of bourbon caramelized onion jam. I've sampled it, and while the onion smell is immediately upsetting, the cooked-in onions are so sweet that it's ... almost OK?
In the film, "glass onion" refers to the giant glass dome on Miles Bron's Greek mansion. Beatles fans, of course, know the title as a 1968 song from the band's famous White Album. Johnson knew he wanted a title relating to glass, and told Deadline that when he searched the word "glass" in his phone's music app, the Beatles' Glass Onion showed up, and he was inspired. The song plays over the closing credits.
"But I was always surprised, when I was showing the script around, how many people didn't know it was a Beatles song," Johnson said. "I thought everybody knew Glass Onion, but I guess they don't."
There's another Beatles reference. In Bron's first scene, he's attempting to play the band's song Blackbird on the guitar, and claims the instrument he's using is the one on which Paul McCartney wrote that song. He then hugs Birdie and tosses the guitar carelessly to the beach while she looks horrified.
Glass Onion itself is a sequel of sorts. 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 sequels to Knives Out, so expect another Blanc detective film, probably with an entirely new cast, to show up eventually. Director Rian Johnson told Deadline he knows he'll need to keep the franchise fresh and not just rehash the first two films. There's no release date or title yet.