Marvel's Mike Colter and Hillary Swank's Netflix thriller Fatale ending explained

Gabriella Geisinger
·4-min read

From Digital Spy

Fatale, a new to Netflix thriller, is out now for your trashy weekend viewing. But is the thriller part of the so bad it's good camp? Or just 'bad'?

With a formidable cast — it stars Hillary Swank, Michael Ealy (2 Fast 2 Furious), and Mike Colter (Marvel's Luke Cage) — the entirely absurd and hamfisted plot twists are carried off with aplomb. Swank's performance in particular grounds a movie that would otherwise be too silly to enjoy.

But in the end, the movie spins itself out, thwarted by muddied motivations and poor pacing. Speaking of the end, it was so convoluted that even we had to rewatch it to figure out what was going on. Lucky for you we did! So read on for Fatale's ending explained. Warning, Fatale spoilers follow.

Photo credit: Lionsgate
Photo credit: Lionsgate

The movie initially sets up our lead, Derrick (Ealy) having dinner with best friend and business partner Rafe (Colter), Rafe's new girlfriend, and Derrick's obviously unhappy wife Tracie (Damaris Lewis) whose displeasure with her husband is comically clear.

On a bachelor's party trip to Las Vegas, Derrick tells Rafe he thinks Tracie is cheating on him to which Rafe's response is: you know what you need? To cheat on her! Weird, but okay.

At the bar he meets a woman named Val (Swank), but doesn't tell her he's married and calls himself Darren. The two have sex, and after an awkward goodbye (she locks his phone in the safe to prevent him from leaving at first) Derrick returns to Los Angeles and tries to do right by his wife, doting on her.

Photo credit: Lionsgate
Photo credit: Lionsgate

That night, though, their house is broken into and Derrick, fighting off the gun-wielding robber, is nearly killed. Tracie calls the police, and wouldn't you know it! Val — aka Valerie — is the detective now in charge of the crime!

She doesn't grass Derrick up, but a series of very terse conversations take place in which she passively berates him for cheating. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles mayor is being investigated for skimming money off a charity (which is not really important to the plot at all) and wouldn't you know it? The mayor is Valerie's ex-husband!

But more awfully, in a flashback we learn that in a drunken stupor Valerie left her gun out on the bed and her daughter took it and shot herself accidentally, leaving her paralysed and resulting in Val losing custody — which went, instead, to her ex. She goes to Derrick and says there's a break in the case, and leads him to the beach.

Photo credit: Lionsgate
Photo credit: Lionsgate

She hands him a telescope (yep!) and instructs him to look at a beach house window where he sees Rafe and Tracie having an affair. Val hints that maybe Tracie hired the intruder to kill Derrick, so that she would get half the value of his business while Rafe, as his business partner, would get the other and they'd be free to carry on their adulterous ways.

Derrick gets drunk and goes to Val, they have sex, and then he stumbles home. The next morning, the police come and ask Derrick to come to the station where Valerie confronts him with pictures of a murdered Rafe and Tracie.

He confesses to confronting them, but not killing them — unfortunately, the court of public opinion proclaims him guilty, though his cousin Tyrin (who, it's later revealed, took the full rap for an armed robbery in which he and Derrick were involved) knows he's innocent and he and Derrick realise it must be Valerie who set Derrick up.

Photo credit: Lionsgate
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Tyrin and a friend break into Valerie's home, but after a scuffle she kills them. When Derrick arrives, she tells him that she can frame Tyrin instead for the murder, but only if Derrick kills her ex-husband.

It seems like Derrick agrees, but when he confronts the ex, they have a misunderstanding — which beggars belief when you'd think you'd get to the point fairly quickly — and Derrick accidentally shoots and kills him. He goes back to Valerie to tell her it's done, but when she says she'd kill anyone to get her daughter back he realises she means him too.

They fight. He shoots her with blanks — which somehow don't seem to even touch her, because blanks, while they don't kill you, can do serious damage — and then shoots her for real. She, however, lives long enough to stab him before he gets the knife and stabs her, revealing he had recorded her entire confession and the cops are on their way.

She dies, he lives. He is exonerated and the final scene is of him driving off. The end. YEP.

Fatale is now available to watch on Netflix

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