Leave The World Behind ending explained

The complicated ending of Netflix’s Leave The World Behind, explained in simple terms

I need a lie down

Do not sit down for a viewing of the new Netflix film by Sam E-mail, Leave The World Behind, if you hope to finish with all the answers. This is an apocalypse thriller with an all star cast that doesn’t spoon-feed, and relishes in its mystery and mundane when it comes to the end of the world. It’s all a bit complex, as the world often is – so here’s the full ending to Leave The World Behind explained in simple terms for those who this film simply went over the head of.

What happens at the end of the film?

The final chapter of the film sees Archie’s teeth begin to fall out, and Rose missing. GH and Clay try and get help from GH’s neighbour Danny, but he’s useless – and Ruth and Amanda go looking for her but all they find is the world in destruction. New York’s filled with explosions and gun fire.

The film then cuts to Rose who finds a house where there’s a doomsday bunker inside. All through the film, Rose has been increasingly more and more anxious about watching the finale to Friends – the show she’s been binging. When she gets to the bunker, the film ends with her finding a huge DVD selection including the Friends boxset, and she clicks play on The Last One.

That’s it. That’s your lot! But let’s try and get the context of the apocalypse in the ending of Leave The World Behind explained a bit clearer.

What caused the apocalypse?

Via Netflix

GH explains towards the end that he works in finance and he’s been keeping quiet on his theory behind what’s actually happening so not to scare everyone. One of his clients is high up in the defence sector so GH has researched the cost-benefit analysis of military campaigns. Basically, what’s the cheapest and most effective way to start a war against your enemy country. One of these methods was a “three stage manoeuvre” that could topple a government from the inside.

Stage one is isolation, so the hacking and the blackouts that plague the start of the film. Stage two is “covert attacks”, which is basically the piercing noises to disorientate and the misinformation, like the sea of leaflets that rain down on Clay when he’s driving looking for answers.

GH says on the third stage “If done successfully, the third stage would happen on its own. Coup d’etat. Civil war. Collapse. This program was considered the most cost-effective way to destabilise a country. Because if the target nation was dysfunctional enough, it would, in essence, do the work for you. Whoever started this wants us to finish it.”

We never get to know who actually instigated the plan, it’s left ambiguous as just the enemies of the United States. It’s a very bleak ending – with Rose seeing in the bunker that the White House is under attack and there’s radiation levels at critical level in populated areas.

Despite the doom and gloom, Sam Ismail says it’s not all bad.

“There’s a painting that’s hung up on the end of the hallway before Rose goes down into the basement that says, ‘Hope begins in the dark’,” he told Tudum.

“I think as much as this film is a cautionary tale and it’s meant to be a warning, it’s not meant to give us an answer as to what to do next – but it is meant to say, ‘As dark as it could get, as bleak as it can get, we can always strive to find some hope’.”

Leave The World Behind is streaming on Netflix now. For all the latest Netflix news, drops, quizzes and memes like The Holy Church of Netflix on Facebook. 

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