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The Pledge Ending Explained: The Ultimate Faceoff

The Pledge
The Pledge (Credits- YouTube)
The Pledge marks the stunning performance of Jack Nicholson. He is seen as a retired police detective finding a young girl’s killer. But it wasn’t just a murder but a killing spree. The American thriller film was released in 2001.

The storyline engages us right from the start. If we talk about the ending, it isn’t very pleasant for some of the fans. They comment, ‘the ending destroyed the beauty of the movie’, ‘saddest ending’, and ‘the end killed the whole movie.’ But for some, the movie’s main message lies in the end only. Despite varied views, the film thrilled us all.

Jerry Black, a police detective from Nevada, comes across the news of the murder of an eight-year-old girl at his retirement party. He visits the site with another detective, Stan Krolak. Jerry also went to the girl’s family to inform them about her death. Her mother, Margaret Larsen, takes a pledge from Jerry to find her daughter’s killer.

The pledge inspires him to start the investigation. The police team falsely accused a Native American man, Toby, of the murder. He had a mental disability. Police took advantage of it and directed him to confess the crime. Post confessing, Toby dies of suicide, and the case closes. But detective Jerry wasn’t satisfied with it. He learned that three other girls were also killed in the same pattern. Also, the murdered girl, Ginny was friends with a mystery man.

But, the findings did not reopen the case. Jerry takes the matter into his hands and buys a gas station near the location of the murders. Meanwhile, Jerry comes across a waitress Lori and her daughter Chrissy. He develops a fatherly affection for Chrissy.

The Pledge- Jerry With Chrissy

The Pledge- Jerry with Chrissy (Credits- Letterboxd)

This little girl also begins meeting with an ‘unknown friend.’ The unknown friend had similarities with Ginny’s mystery man. Chrissy tells Jerry that she is about to meet her unknown friend. Jerry sees this as an opportunity and convinces Stan to catch him.

 The high-voltage climax starts. The arena was all set with Chrissy as bait. But they kept on waiting, and the killer never came. Stan discloses everything to Lori, and she leaves Jerry for putting her daughter’s life at stake. In the end, Poor Jerry is left all alone.

The ending scene of the film shows Jerry in a turmoil state. The failure of Ginny’s murder investigation deeply impacted his psychological state. He is seen drinking and ruined. Jerry’s lady love, Lori breaks up with him. The police team lost faith in him. And his gas station business is stopped now. So, what happened to the mystery killer? Was he too clever to be caught? Actually, NO. Jerry was right from the start.

We could have seen an exciting face-off between the killer and Jerry. But, the expectations of a heated climax were ruined when the murderer died in a road accident. And that’s how; the ending became the most depressing for some movie lovers. So, who was the killer?

Also Read: 50 Best Jack Nicholson Movies to Watch Right Now

 You will see him at 35.31 in a shop window. It’s Oliver, the man with grey hair. He is always shown from the back for a short period. He works in a candy shop and drives a black wagon.
 
Early in the movie, a lady shopkeeper calls out to Oliver to handle the customer. There’s also a scene at the last when the shopkeeper again asks Oliver about the chocolates. He used these chocolates to lure young girls. His black car with a hanging toy porcupine was also shown in Ginny’s drawings. It was the same car that had an accident. The film was indeed clever in giving hints.
The Pledge

The Pledge – Jack as Jerry Black (Credits-IMDB)

The Pledge – Cast, Characters, and Production

The Pledge did not create any magic at the box office but won critical acclaim. The film, directed by Sean Penn, is based on a 1958 novella, The Pledge. It is written by Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Most of its shoots are done in the interiors of British Columbia.

The suspense drama had a stellar cast. Jack Nicholson blew minds with his intense performance as Jerry Black. His colleague Stan Krolak is played by Aaron Eckhart. Actor Benicio Del Toro is cast as Toby, and Patricia Clarkson plays Ginny’s mother, Margaret. Jerry’s love interest Lori was played by Robin Wright.

And Pauline Roberts starred as Chrissy. For some of the viewers, the ending of the film was classic. It tells us that life doesn’t unfold as we expect it to. Also, it’s not always the hero who wins. What’s your take on it?

Written By

Hi, this is Shailja Tripathi. I'm a mass media student with a passion for reading and writing. My professional voyage of content creation started in 2020. I'm also skilled in content strategy and social media. You can check out my LinkedIn profile for more info.

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