[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.]
Central to Glass Onion is the character of tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton), whose invitation to a small Greek island is what kicks off Rian Johnson’s new whodunnit. When Miles’s friends — his “beautiful disruptors” — arrive at Miles’ island with an unexpected plus-one in the form of legendary detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), all they’re expecting is a long weekend of relaxation, with a promised murder-mystery game to keep things lively.
But the real murder mystery to be solved isn’t the Gillian Flynn-penned romp that Miles has planned, but the unexpected death of MRA lunkhead Duke Cody (Dave Bautista). There’s also the reveal that days earlier, Miles’ former business partner Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe) was also found dead, leading her twin sister Helen (also Monáe) to enlist Benoit’s help in finding out who was responsible.
Miles, it turns out, was the murderer in both cases, which Benoit Blanc reveals with disgust because Miles’ other crime is being painfully, painfully dumb. It’s something Norton plays brilliantly, giving long speeches about “infraction points” and “the full reclamation of everything I’ve achieved up to now,” while his employees and allies freak out over his obsession with an “eco-friendly” fuel source that could literally blow up the world. But despite the character’s innate surety, Miles’ idiocy cannot be suppressed, even as he uses all the trappings of being a straight cis white man with money to appear otherwise.
Which makes the arrival of Glass Onion eerie timing, because at this moment, the Internet is getting to watch another straight cis white man with money be revealed as not the brightest. What Glass Onion is really all about is subversion — subversion of quirky clue-heavy mystery box stories, for one thing. But it’s also got its knives out for the Miles Brons of the world, including one tech billionaire who has been in the news quite a bit recently.
Since the film’s arrival on Netflix on December 23rd, people have been using Elon Musk’s Twitter to debate the connections between Miles and Musk (that is, when Twitter has been working). Johnson has acknowledged the similarities in an interview with Wired, while also clarifying that “there’s a lot of general stuff about that sort of species of tech billionaire that went directly into it.” This is to say, it’s not meant to be a direct riff on Musk — instead, Musk is just part of a trope that he happens to define very well right now, a man with too much confidence and too little talent to back it up.