‘The Wages Of Fear’ 2024 Ending Explained & Film Summary: Is Fred Dead Or Alive?


A remake of the 1953 original, The Wages of Fear, is your typical action film with a time-bound mission. Cars and trucks blow up time and again, and people are killed for making the slightest mistake. Fred, a mercenary, ended up working at the refugee camp in an isolated town. The Middle Eastern country had been taken over by the military and bandits, and whatever remained of the land was controlled by the Southern Oil Company. The company was exploitative, but given the situation, cooperating with them was the only option the locals had. Life in the camp was tough, and getting medical supplies from outside meant dealing with the bandits. Amidst the hardship, a fire erupted at the oil field, and the only way to extinguish it was through a nitroglycerine explosion. The oil company needed trusted drivers to get the nitroglycerine, and Fred was one of the chosen ones.

Spoiler Alert

How did Alex end up in prison?

In The Wages of Fear we get a back story into how Fred ended up at the camp. When the political unrest and the riots in the city got worse, Fred and his brother Alex planned on fleeing to Paris. Fred had one last job to complete before leaving. He had to help an influential man flee the country before the military got hold of him. Meanwhile, his brother, an explosive expert, got rid of all the explosives at the demolition company he worked at. Fred realized he was not being paid enough for the job when he watched his client load up his bag with cash. His client was interrupted by the oil company representative, Anne, and soon, the military entered the mansion. What followed was an intense shootout that resulted in the death of Fred’s client. Fred and the mercenaries accompanying Anne managed to kill the military men.

Fred met Alex soon after making it out of the mansion. He proposed that they use the explosives Alex had to break open the client’s safe. After seeing the stacks of cash, Fred refused to just let it go. Even though it was a risky operation, Fred lied to his brother, saying it was safe. He believed they needed the cash to survive in Paris, and they must seize the opportunity. While there was no one when they entered the mansion, as soon as Alex fixed the explosive in the safe, military men barged in. The explosion resulted in the deaths of a few men in uniform, and Alex was arrested. Fred watched his brother land in trouble from afar. He knew that he alone could not shoot everyone dead. By the time he realized the mistake he had made, it was too late.

What brought Alex and Fred back together?

After moving into the refugee center, Fred looked after Alex’s wife and daughter. They were disappointed in him because it was because of Fred that Alex ended up in prison. Alex was having a hard time in prison, being forced to fight at the command of the jail guards. Meanwhile, a gas leak resulted in a fire in the oil field, and Anne Marchand, the head of security for the company, was paid an extra million to handle the situation. The gas leakage could lead to the destruction of the camp that was built over the second gas pocket, and therefore, extinguishing the fire was the need of the hour. The plan was to explode 100 kilos of nitroglycerin, and the local NGO was contacted to assist with their mission. Alex and Fred were also considered for it. Fred was a trusted mercenary and a capable driver, while Alex was an expert in explosives, and they needed his help to carry the nitroglycerin to the location safely. The mission had to be completed within a day, or the entire refugee camp would be wiped out. The money that the company offered to Fred and Alex was good enough to help them leave the country, but Fred doubted that there was a catch. Anne assured him that the company had a drilling team that would help them put the nitro in the well and that he had nothing to worry about.

Fred had developed a romantic relationship with NGO worker Clara, who was also a part of the operation. Even though they believed their relationship was purely sexual, they had started to care for one another. Meanwhile, Alex was released from prison to carry out the operation. The brothers finally met, and Alex was furious. He could not forgive Fred for risking his life, his family, and his future. He wanted to fight Fred, but the success of the mission was of more importance.

How did Gauthier betray Fred?

After securing the nitro in two trucks, the group headed to the oil field to extinguish the fire. During the journey, Clara repeatedly had disagreements with Gauthier because of his arrogance. Gauthier never cared about the people he was working with; he had his eyes only on the money he would receive in the end. His wrong move with a gang of bandits resulted in the death of NGO worker Djibril. Leaving behind the body of his colleague was not easy for Clara, and she could not forgive Gauthier for his mistake.

After handling the bandits, they ended up on a dirt road filled with mines. On the one hand, they were losing time; on the other, they needed to handle the situation calmly, and removing the mines was time-consuming. Fred helped Alex remove the mines, and it helped the brothers bond. Fred felt guilty for the trouble his brother had to go through, and he hoped that someday Alex would forgive him. When Fred stepped on a mine by mistake, Alex was ready to risk his life to save his brother. All the anger he held against Fred disappeared at that moment, and all he cared about was saving Fred’s life. Alex held his brother’s hand and pulled him off the ground; luckily, the mine turned out to be a faulty one, and it did not detonate.

The gang decided to split and explore the two possible routes that led to the village. Fred and Gauthier teamed up, and they arrived at the lake they had to cross to enter the village. Meanwhile, Clara and Alex took the other route, where they faced a blockage and had to come up with a plan to explode the boulders blocking the path. Fred successfully crossed the lake without harming the nitro they were carrying. Gauthier assumed that since the difficult part was done, he could drive the rest of the way and take Fred’s profit. Towards the end of The Wages of Fear, Gauthier shot Fred and pushed him off the truck. Alex and Clara ended up at the same lake, following the alternate route, and they, too, successfully crossed it. They spotted Fred and Gauthier’s truck on the hills and all of a sudden it exploded. Gauthier was not well versed with the terrain like Fred, and it resulted in his death.

Why did Fred sacrifice his life?

Clara and Alex assumed that they had lost Fred after watching the truck blow up from a distance. They were surprised when a villager walked up to them and asked for help. They were relieved to see Fred lying on the ground, alive. He needed immediate assistance, and Clara and Alex brought him along with them in their truck. Just when they thought they had successfully carried out the mission, they realized that the oil company had tricked them. Anne held Alex’s wife and daughter at gunpoint and asked him to drive the truck into the well for the sake of his family. At the end of The Wages of Fear, it turned out that the company’s drilling team never made it to the site. Fred had been right to doubt their intent because, at the end of the mission, it involved sacrificing a life. When Fred heard Anne’s proposal, he shot her and her bodyguard. He made up his mind to drive the truck into the well for the sake of his brother and his family. It was his way of repaying for the mistake he once made.

During The Wages of Fear’s ending, Fred drove the truck into the oil well and died in the explosion. The fire was extinguished, and the villagers living in the refugee camp were saved. At the core of the film was the love that the brothers had for each other. Alex had previously proven in the minefield that he would risk his life for Fred, and in the end, Fred drove into the well with a smile on his face, knowing that Alex and his family would finally make it out of the country and would get to live a better life. Clara lost the people she loved during the mission, but maybe her interest in serving the villagers will be her reason to continue living there.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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