Ruben Fleischer’s cinematic adaptation of the popular action-adventure video game series, “Uncharted,” is mostly a hit and miss affair, with an unusual lack of substance that is balanced out by an intelligent and charming cast. Tom Holland as a slightly older (and arguably one with much less depth), Nathan Drake, and Mark Wahlberg as a younger Victor Sullivan are mostly what makes the work a fairly enjoyable experience. Despite not being very accurate to the games, “Uncharted” takes viewers on a similar journey across the world in search of a lost treasure that is lost but not gone.
‘Uncharted’ Plot Summary
The film begins with a short snippet of the iconic airplane scene from “Uncharted 3” where Nathan Drake falls off flying cargo from an airplane; Nate manages to climb up to safety, but now a car is let loose and hits him out into the air, and the film cuts back to the past as he free-falls. Fifteen years ago in Boston, Nate and his elder brother Sam were caught in the act of trying to steal the original map of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition around the world. The brothers live at an orphanage, from where Sam is evicted and taken into police custody. But before they can take him in, Sam flees from the scene, promising his younger brother that he would come back someday, and leaves him with a ring made into a locket that Nate preciously wears to this day. Fifteen years later, in present-day New York, Nate is a young man working at a bar as a flamboyant bartender who often steals jewelry and other items from customers by getting close to them with his charm.
One night, as the bar is closing down, a middle-aged man asks him to assist with some work where his skills in theft and pickpocketing will be of benefit. Although Nate turns him down, he quickly realizes that his own wallet and a bracelet, which he had earlier picked off from a woman’s hand, have been stolen and replaced with the man’s card, named Victor Sullivan. Nate goes over to the card’s address and breaks into his house to find the same map of Magellan that he and his brother had seen years back. Sullivan, or Sully, now explains that he had indeed known Sam, and it was through Sam that he had tracked down Nate. Sully is a treasure hunter who was working with Sam on finding the lost gold of Ferdinand Magellan until Sam mysteriously vanished during one expedition.
Although Nate disregards the story of Magellan’s hidden gold as a mythical legend, Sully believes that Magellan was actually ordered by Spanish royalty at the time and funded by the powerful and rich Moncada family to find the gold and bring it back to Spain. Although Magellan died during the expedition in the Philippines, his second-in-charge, Juan Sebastian Elcano, had taken over and had possibly hidden the gold somewhere, which Sully now wants to find out and asks for Nate’s help. Despite not being at all interested in the treasure and its supposed five-billion-dollar value in current terms, Nathan agrees to join the search only to find his brother and possibly reunite with him.
Major Spoilers Ahead
How Do Nate And Sully Reach Magellan’s Treasure?
The first step in finding the treasure for Nate and Sully is to get hold of a gold cross that serves as a key required to open the chest or vault supposedly holding the fortune. Nate is quick to remark that a second similar key is also required, as Elcano and his crew had made two keys to keep with the captain and the crew so that neither could dupe the other and run away with the gold, but Sully reassures him that he already has the second key. This gold cross is being sold at an elite and private auction, and Sully asks Nate to create a commotion there so that he can steal the cross with ease. At this auction, Nate meets a cold-looking man named Santiago Moncada, who is the living descendant of the Moncada family, and who believes the cross to be part of his family heirloom. Along with Moncada, there is also a hired mercenary, Jo Braddock, and her men, who have been hired by the wealthy man to get hold of the cross by hook or by crook if someone else manages to buy it off. Although Nate fails to carry out his plan of causing a blackout at the place, he manages to himself become a commotion, jumping over rails and swinging on hanging lights, to give Sully enough time to steal the cross. Once the two unite after the heist, they waste no more time and fly off to Barcelona in search of Elcano’s tomb and the buried treasure.
In Spain, Nate is introduced to a young woman named Chloe Frazer, who at first seems to be Sully’s friend and business partner, but soon is revealed to be a treasure hunter like Sully. She was already in possession of the second key (Sully had earlier lied about having it with him) and now steals the other key from Nate at the first opportunity. However, both sides ultimately have to reconcile and decide to work together, as Chloe has the other key with her and Sully has Nate with him, who has turned out to be quite an expert in solving puzzles and riddles to find locations of items. Nate uses his skills once more, and now he finds out that the treasure vault is underneath the Santa Maria del Pi. The three of them go over to the church and find clues that set them on a trail in which Nate and Chloe traverse underground tunnels while Sully walks the same path above the ground.
Meanwhile, Santiago Moncada is seen getting his father killed off by Braddock, as the old man was not interested in hoarding his family’s wealth and instead wanted to donate it for welfare. Braddock and her men now follow Sully and his friends, and the two groups soon clash with each other. Sully was already very well acquainted with Braddock, and there had possibly been some romance between the two as well, but the mercenary now explains that she is looking for Magellan’s gold in the same way that Sully is, except that she is doing it for and with the help of Moncada. Sully defeats Braddock in a fist-fight and manages to start a geared machine that drains off water from a crypt inside which Nate and Chloe were trapped. By now, Nate seems to have taken an obvious liking towards his fellow treasure-hunter, and he saves Chloe from death by pulling her out of the water and bringing her back to consciousness. The two now continue to look for the gold underground, and now manage to break into a large chamber inside which two huge urns stand together. Certain that Magellan’s gold is hidden inside the urns, Chloe takes a peek inside the old urns and manages to break one of them, which in turn, shatters the others. However, there is no gold to be found at all, but rather just salt, which was stored inside the urns. Nate’s eye first spots a golden hilt, and he pulls out a medieval map that suggests that Elcano and his crew had never brought Magellan’s gold back to Spain but had only hidden a map that revealed the gold’s actual location in the Philippines. As Nate is about to tell Chole all this, though, he sees the woman holding a gun towards him, and she reveals that she too had known Sam, and something sinister had happened between him and Sully. Chloe then strikes Nate unconscious and flees the scene with both the map as well as the keys that might still be important to retrieve the gold.
Why Does Chloe Betray Nate? How Do They Reach The Treasure?
Chloe now brings the map back to Moncada, as it is revealed that Moncada had hired Chloe during the same time that he had hired Braddock, to increase his chances of getting towards the gold that he believes to be his family’s property. Together with both the women, he soon flies towards the Philippines in a private cargo plane; the entire party is completely unaware, though, that Nate and Sully have also boarded the plane and hidden themselves in the trunk of Moncada’s favorite car. In a sudden turn of events, though, Moncada’s throat is slit by Braddock, and her crew now takes over the gold-searching expedition, making Chloe unsure of what’s going on, and she quickly hides amongst the cargo. By now, Nate had confronted Sully about Sam, and the man had admitted that Sam had been killed by Braddock in a gunfight from which Sully had managed to escape. Now seeing Braddock on the airplane, Nate cannot hold in his anger any longer and confronts the mercenary about having killed his brother. Utter chaos ensues as Nate breaks loose the cargo, and the opening scene plays out. While the young man survives the falling cargo, he is hit out onto the open-air again by Moncada’s falling car, with Chloe in the driving seat, and the two manage to survive the fall by landing on a parachuted cargo box that falls into the ocean. After floating around for some time, they come across a tourist island where they check into a hotel room with a credit card Nate had stolen from Sully, who was last seen aboard the plane getting hold of the treasure map. Although they know of the gold’s existence in the Philippines, its exact location still remains unknown, and Nate now sits down with all the postcards his brother had sent him, after Sully had previously suggested that Sam might have hidden more clues for his brother in them. Rightly so, Nate finds a secret message from Sam on one of the postcards and finds out the exact spot of the treasure. However, knowing that Chloe would probably again try to dupe him, he writes down the wrong coordinates and goes off to sleep. The next morning, he wakes up alone, to a hand-written message from Chloe, apologetically letting him know that she has gone off in search of the treasure, smirking at his own cunningness, and sets out towards the real coordinates to find Magellan’s gold.
At the spot, Nate sees a hidden cove and dives into it; he can hardly believe his eyes when he comes out of the water on the other side. In front of him stood two wrecked ships, undoubtedly of Magellan’s crew, which had been somehow hidden inside this secret natural-vault. He quickly climbs onto one of the ships and starts to explore it when he is joined by Sully, who has managed to reach Nate through a tracking app on his phone. The two together find caskets full of jewelry and trinkets, all made of gold, but their excitement is stopped short when Braddock and her crew also join the scene. The mercenary had already been on the spot and had spotted Nate’s entry into the cove, now following in with her men. They quickly order two helicopters to airlift the ships out of a crater-like opening over the cove, and Nate and Sully are airlifted as well, trapped inside the ship. They find weapons in the hull and fight mercenaries with them on the deck, and then Sully climbs up onto the helicopter, fights off the bad guys, and takes control of it. Using the old cannon by the ship’s side, Nate blows up the other helicopter, and the ship it was hauling crashes into a rock and shattered to pieces. Nate’s ship also starts breaking down from the impact, and he now has to deal with Braddock, who had jumped onto the same deck. They brawl it out for some time, and then, once part of the ship starts to sink, both of them clamber towards the rope ladder to climb up onto the helicopter. Followed by Braddock, who is determined to kill him, Nate reaches close to Sully and cries out his name, asking for help. In a strange act, though, Sully ignores Nate’s outstretched hand and instead grabs the bag filled with gold artifacts from Magellan’s ship.
‘Uncharted’ Ending Explained: Who Gets The Treasure? Where Is Sam?
In another, arguably predictable turn, Sully drops the bagful of gold on Braddock’s head, making the mercenary lose control of the ladder and fall into the water, with the bag also ending up in the ocean. As Braddock swims up to the surface, the old ship falls onto her head, potentially killing her. The ship floats for a while and then starts to sink, which is approached by the coast guard of the Philippines, who Sully suggests are now the rightful owners of whatever value the ship, and the sunken gold (if ever found again), can bring. Chloe also reaches the scene on her cruise boat, but she realizes that she is a little too late. On the helicopter, Nate then brings out small gold artifacts he had hidden inside his pockets, one after the other, and hands them over to a delighted Sully, and they fly off into the distance.
In a final cryptic scene, a local run-down prison house is shown, possibly somewhere in the Philippines or in some other part of Southeast Asia. A long-haired man is seen sitting on his cell bed and scribbling something on a piece of paper. The camera then closes up to the writing, which is a postcard being written to Nate, that warns him to watch his back and signs off with a singular “S.” This character is undoubtedly Sam, who is actually alive, although Sully wants us to believe that he is dead. The brotherly love and admiration that Nate has for Sam is one of the primary driving forces in this film, although such a strain was absent in the games. It is to get back together with Sam that Nate goes on the long adventure facing puzzles and adversaries, and he does not get to fulfill his wish. This would definitely be capitalized on by potential sequels to the film, as the producer, PlayStation Productions, intends to make video game franchises into film franchises more common. In a post-credits scene, we also see Nate in a bad-deal situation until Sully, who now has a mustache exactly like his character sports in the games, walks in to save him. The two then go off on a new adventure and face what might be a returning character who is not seen, and the screen cuts to black. Also, with the fair success that the film has been earning financially, more films are bound to follow. Characters returning would also not be too surprising, as Chloe’s intentions are left unclear, and the real character of Braddock is also left unexplored, as she once mentions her own father while killing Moncada, but we do not get to know anything more along those lines.