This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film A Day and a Half and will contain spoilers.
A Day and a Half opens in a quiet but propulsive manner. There’s an air of tension hovering over it immediately and it never quite dissipates for the next ninety minutes. Director Fares Fares (pulling double duty as one of its stars) begins as if it’s going to be Dog Day Afternoon, before turning into a variation of Steven Spielberg’s The Sugarland Express.
Artan Kalmendi (Alexej Manvelov) is on edge the moment we meet him. His wife Louise (Alma Poysti) clearly doesn’t want to see him; their separation has been vindictive and their lives are a mess. From there, the film’s fraught hostage situation turns into a long drive to a destination that feels as if it has the potential to turn bad very quickly. Along with Artan’s other hostage, police officer Lukas (Fares Fares), the three find themselves trying to resolve the situation while dealing with their own fractured lives.
A Day and a Half Ending Explained
After having spent the best part of a day and a half driving through the Swedish country on one of the hottest days of the year, Artan, Lukas, and Louise finally make it to the docks where a ferry is potentially waiting to take Artan to freedom. A group of armed officers are already waiting at the scene.
What does Lukas say to his son?
Lukas inquires over the radio to the negotiator if the ferry is aware of what is happening. The negotiator replies that they are. Artan hands Lukas his mobile phone and says he should call his son as he is missing his birthday.
Lukas takes the phone and manages to get through to his son Teo. He tells him he has called just to say that he is thinking about him and to wish him a happy birthday. Lukas becomes emotional during the conversation. He tries to hold back the tears as he composes himself as he tells his son that he loves him very much. Before hanging up, he tells Teo to say hello to his mum on his behalf.
He hands the phone back to Artan. Over the radio, the negotiator tells Lukas that the captain of the ferry that is waiting for Artan does not grant permission for weapons on board the boat. Lukas says he understands. Artan then tells Lukas that he would like a coffee now after having turned down some earlier during their journey to the docks. Lukas sees Louise nod her head in the rearview mirror. Lukas climbs out of the car, leaving Artan, Louise, and their daughter Cassandra alone.
Artan tells Louise that he loves his daughter. Louise says she knows he does. She removes the necklace that she has been wearing throughout the film and places it in Artan’s hands. She refers to the necklace as her rings, describing it as Cassandra’s heartbeat. Louise becomes even more emotional as she apologizes for missing the coffee meeting Artan had arranged the day before, telling him that she had fallen asleep beforehand. She says that while she can never see him again, she promises he can see Cassandra whenever he wants. Artan weeps at hearing this.
Does Artan evade the police?
He removes the clip from his gun, handing the weapon to Louise who throws it out the car window. She embraces Artan and the two of them hug each other tightly. The car is surrounded by armed officers who yell at Artan to exit the car. They remove Artan from the vehicle and place him under arrest, his hands clutching the necklace that Louise gave him as tightly as possible. The officers lead him away.
The last image of the film is Artan turning around to his family as he is arrested, smiling at them as he does so. The film ends on a freeze frame of Artan smiling.
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