Rian Johnson, the writer, and director of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, reveals the meaning of the last image of the Mona Lisa. A new mystery involving tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) and his ragtag group of sycophant friends, played by Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr. Kate Hudson, and Dave Bautista is the focus of the whodunit sequel, which debuted on Netflix on December 23. The Mona Lisa is a key element in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
Miles presents the Mona Lisa, which he borrowed from the Louvre, in his Glass Onion house, which is propelled by the hydrogen-based alternative fuel known as Klear. In the suspenseful Glass Onion finale, Monáe’s Helen—the twin sister of Andi, whom Miles murdered—uses the flammable Klear crystal to destroy the iconic work of art. One of the movie’s final scenes shows the Mona Lisa engulfed in flames in slow motion. The final image of Helen even has a reflection of the Mona Lisa, which unifies the whole thing. Johnson discusses the significance of the photo in a current interview with The Wrap:
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.
Glass Onion Follows Knives Out’s Legacy Of Striking Last Shots
The original Knives Out had an equally cathartic conclusion in which Marta, the protagonist who has the best of intentions, triumphs against the entitled and selfish Thrombey family. The last image, in which Marta, who has inherited Harlan Thrombey’s mansion and wealth, stands on the balcony and watches as Ransom Drysdale (Chris Evans) is arrested and the rest of the family congregates below, wonderfully captures the emotional effect of the film’s conclusion. Marta takes a sip of coffee from Harlan’s “My house, my rules, my coffee” cup, which is the cherry on top.
Glass Onion carries on Knives Out’s legacy of powerful cliffhangers. As the renowned work of art by Leonardo da Vinci burns to the ground, so do Miles’ aspirations to be mentioned in the same breath as the Mona Lisa. Miles’ companions ultimately make the decision to turn against him because they understand that destroying the artwork will expose the dangers of Klear, which he accelerated despite the consequences to their lives. Benoit Blanc is an excellent investigator, but his authority is limited, and it is up to well-meaning protagonists like Monáe’s Helen or de Armas’ Marta to make a case stick. Both Knives Out films beautifully capture this in their climactic moments.
Netflix paid $469 million for the rights to two Knives Out sequels back in 2021, thus a new Knives Out Mystery movie starring Craig’s Benoit Blanc is forthcoming. Knives Out 3’s closing scene has yet to be revealed, however, it is hoped that it will have the same effect as the original two Knives Out films. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is currently available to view on Netflix.