Edward Norton- Glass Onion
Screengrab via Netflix

Rian Johnson opens up on the fitting final shot of ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’

Truly a moment of Mona Lisa overdrive.

This article contains spoilers for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

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Netflix paid a reported $469 million for two sequels to the 2019 smash whodunnit Knives Out. We suspect that the streaming giant is beginning to feel very positive about its investment in Rian Johnson’s Detective Benoit Blanc, as Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery debuted on the service last week to rave reviews, rocketed to the top of the streaming charts, and is very much the movie of the moment.

Set during the first COVID lockdown, Glass Onion takes place on a private Greek island owned by tech billionaire Miles Bron, who’s invited his friends for a murder mystery-themed weekend. Without getting into too many specifics, things go wrong and before too long the island is a crime scene, the world has changed forever, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has gone up in smoke courtesy of the righteous fury of Janelle Monae’s Helen.

The very final shot of the movie is a tight close-up of Monae’s face with an inscrutable expression on her face, which Johnson explained to The Wrap is him linking the Mona Lisa with her character.

“That kind of gelled fairly early, the connection between the two of them and also the notion of seeing something and then squinting a little closer and seeing something different was baked into the structure of it. I had a great conversation with [“Everything Everywhere All at Once” filmmaking duo] the Daniels recently and they’re also big structural writers, and they put it in a really beautiful way, they say the meaning of the movie is contained within the movie’s structure. And to me this is very much reflecting that, and everything Edward says when he’s talking about the Mona Lisa, in front of everybody, suddenly fusing that up to this character of Helen at the end. And you know, she burned the Mona Lisa but the Mona Lisa lives on in Helen.”

It’s a barnstorming finale, and one we’ll remember for a long time to come. Now that Glass Onion is out of the way, all eyes are on Johnson to repeat the feat for a third time with the next Benoit Blanc mystery. Both Knives Out and Glass Onion subverted traditional plotting, so our bet is for the next one to really push the boat out with some truly wild twists.

However it pans out, we just want more of Craig chewing the scenery as Blanc, who has now cemented his place in the whodunnit canon.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is streaming on Netflix.

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David James
I'm a writer/editor who's been at the site since 2015. Love writing about video games and will crawl over broken glass to write about anything related to Hideo Kojima. But am happy to write about anything and everything, so long as it's interesting!