Directed by Amy Hesketh, Rucker is a 2022 drama thriller that follows a truck driver with an insanely shocking motive to kill the women he encounters on the road. It falls into that part of the spectrum of movies that are equally hard to believe and explain. The film is filled with so many complex emotions that it cannot be judged objectively. Yet, let us go ahead and try to deduce what threads bind the plot.
The film tells the story of Leif Rucker, a truck driver who has been carrying out his duties for 30 years. But there’s more to Leif than just his job. In all these years, Leif Rucker aims to complete a roadmap portrait of his ex-wife. Once finished, he will give her the portrait. This is certainly interesting. But what makes him so sadistically interesting is that the roadmap portrait of his wife, Darlene, consists of women he kills.
At every truckload location along the route that forms Darlene’s portrait, Rucker slits a woman’s throat. These women are not selected at random but on the basis of a trait that they share with Darlene. And to add more drama to an already fascinating tale, we meet a filmmaker, Maggie, who is making a documentary on truckers, and she is Rucker’s audience. She records the killings on her camera. And the whole movie revolves around their dynamic.
Who is Rucker?
There is something about truck drivers that makes them so eerie. Or rather, their use in Hollywood thrillers has made them this way. And more so in this movie, since the character of Rucker is a bland nobody who no one would even care to look at. This is the extreme opposite of those serial killers who love to have knives and spilt blood tattooed on their arms, necks, or even foreheads. Even the way he speaks makes him appear like a regular person, one who misses his wife. However, on digging a little deeper, things start to come up.
Rucker is a talker. He keeps on giving us information about himself, his wife, daughter, father, and more. And the more he reveals, the more complex he gets for us. There is this conflict between his love for his wife and how he wants to rid himself of her (by killing women who have her traits). He is probably trying to forget her but loves her too much for that. Yet, he is angry at her. Otherwise, there would be no killings.
On the other hand, there’s the portrait. If he wants to get rid of his wife, why would he make a portrait of her for her? Well, it seems like it is his reward, much more than a “masterpiece,” for being able to rid himself of his wife. The portrait will be proof that he doesn’t need his wife anymore and that he is better off without her. And yet, we see him talking about her again and again. But there is a reason for this, and it is none other than Maggie.
What was Maggie?
Maggie is not just any girl filming a documentary on truck drivers. As mentioned earlier, one strong reason why Rucker would continue revealing things about his wife, Darlene, is that Maggie would compel him to by simply asking straightforward questions about her. Rucker never thought about her intentions because he didn’t need to. He rather liked her for showing this much interest in knowing more about his wife.
Moreover, her move to choose her handle as “Daddy’s girl” was also strategic. After all, she is Rucker’s daughter, who, it seems, had planned this all along. She wanted to know more about her father, who never came home and who never protected her from her “cracker-head” mother. Before her revelation, she clarifies to Rucker, towards the beginning of the film, that she too has killed someone, more of a mercy killing. In this way, Maggie tries to get close to him. And by the end of the film, she is able to. But how did she find out about her long-gone dad? Or did she realize that Rucker was her father after he mentioned Darlene to her?
‘Rucker’ Ending Explained: Who Killed Darlene?
The numerous snippets of animation from Maggie’s POV are proof of what kind of woman Darlene was, i.e., evil to the core. The snippets also prove Maggie’s hatred towards her mother and love for her “Daddy”. According to Maggie, Rucker left her for dead in the hospital. Rucker probably left home because he couldn’t see the love of his life hurting, as well as accept how much she hurt him the way she did.
Towards the end of the movie, we find out that the person whom Maggie had said she killed was Darlene herself. There was no remorse or regret in her. Her character is made to be hated, perhaps to balance against the sheer ruthlessness of Rucker. This balance establishes the fact that the couple’s traits are equally deranged in thoughts and actions.
Mercy killing. Darlene’s death by Maggie is stated as a mercy killing. And one question arises here. Did Rucker, too, leave his wife out of mercy because he didn’t want to kill her? And to compensate for this, and vent out his rage, did Rucker go on to kill so many women who shared her traits? His portrait would be complete this way, and he would come back to her to give it. And that would be the ultimate proof of his love for her. But it was too late; Darlene had died.
So, with his daughter by his side, Rucker finally kills himself too. His wife’s portrait, proof of his killings, remains for his daughter Maggie to cherish. Her mother is dead. Her daddy is gone. Now all that she can do is keep the portrait or throw it away. But for all we know, she will keep it, if not out of mercy for her father, then out of hatred for her mother.
Overall, the film is able to deliver on its promise, to portray a thought-provoking thriller that compels us to think till the very end. At times the narrative does seem stretched, as many scenes are clearly boring, like Rucker’s crocheting or having lunch with his friends.
The killings become tedious after a while, despite our knowing the fact that serial killers have a distinct way of killing their targets. Yet, we forgive them and wait to find out what happens next, thanks to the acting talent of Bobby C. King. The way he channels the carefree nature of Rucker, even during and after the killings, while carrying the rage in his eyes, is visible. Cheyenna Lee delivers a satisfactory performance as Maggie. More could have been done with the content, but Rucker certainly qualifies as a thriller.
Rucker is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Amy Hesketh.