In the Netflix movie Close, Noomi Rapace plays Sam, an experienced bodyguard who has seen active warfare and taken bullets. Considering her background, this latest gig — accompanying heiress Zoe Tanner (Sophie Nélisse) to a compound in Morocco — should be a cinch. Spoiler: It's not. This last-minute job ends up being a drastic and transformative experience for everyone involved, Sam and Zoe included.
But before we can unravel the movie's twisty ending, let's iron out its premise. Sam is summoned for the job last-minute because Zoe had slept with her last male bodyguard, a major no-no. After landing in Morocco, Zoe — with an alarming sense of entitlement — demands that Sam stay an extra night at the lavish, isolated estate.
But we must forgive Zoe. At that point, she is recently orphaned and in a state of turmoil. Her father, Eric Tanner, the CFO of Hassine Mining, has just passed away of cardiac arrest. In his will, Eric bequeathed all of his shares of Hassine Mining to Zoe — not to his second wife, Rima (Indira Varma), whose family actually founded Hassine Mining.
According to the lawyer, Eric hoped Zoe having the shares would bring her closer to Rima, but it seems to have the opposite effect. Now, teenage Zoe is locked in a battle for control with her cold and impenetrable stepmother, who is CEO of the phosphate mining company. Look — it's a lot to deal with for anyone, let alone a teenager. We can overlook her awkwardly trying to seduce Sam.
Ah, how innocent that scene seems. Once intruders burst into the house and overtake the control system, it'll seem like the distant past. Sam manages to beat the intruders, but don't celebrate yet: Sam and Zoe are still in danger, as they'll be for most of the movie. After the intrusion, Sam and Zoe escape in a police car that turns up at the house. As it turns out, the police are in on the kidnapping scheme and plan to take the women hostage. Once again, Sam and Zoe escape from the officers — but in doing so, Zoe kills a police officer.
This act of violence has major repercussions: Sam and Zoe become fugitives whose faces are plastered all over the local news, and sends Hassine Mining into a PR and financial crisis. Rima has a curious reaction to Zoe's call for help. Why would she act so cold to her struggling step-child? Why would she take Zoe off of her insurance policy, instead of sending in a rescue team?
Her aloof reaction is the perfect jumping-off point for figuring out the ending. Rima has her mind on something other than Zoe — she's thinking of her business.
What is this "deal" that keeps coming up on the news?
In the universe of Close, the phosphate mining industry is dominated is run by two companies: Sikong Industries of China and Hassine Mining of Morocco. Both companies are bidding to purchase 6,000 acres of phosphate reserves in Zambia. Since Hassine's prices are falling after Zoe's kidnapping, there's speculation that Sikong could steal the $3 billion deal. The deal's closing is set to occur the day after Zoe is kidnapped.
Why is Hassine Mining in trouble?
Hassine Mining had been doing just fine — until Zoe was accused of killing a police officer and stocks started to plummet, that is. Since Zoe a) owns most of the company, and b) is wanted for murder, the landowners in Zambia demand a higher bid from Hassine Mining in order to even consider its bid. Rima doesn't think Sikong could match a higher bid.
Is Rima behind Zoe's eventual kidnapping?
No — though we're made to think so for most of the movie. Sikong Industries is actually behind the kidnapping. Sikong's representative (Kevin Shen) implies that if Hassine follows through with the deal, Zoe's life will be threatened. Rima is being blackmailed into backing down. Later in the movie, an assassin paid by Sikong tries to kill Rima.
This is essentially a movie about an act of corporate ransom. According to director Vicky Jewson, incidents of corporate ransom like this "happen all the time." Jewson learned details of corporate ransom from Jacquie Davis, the bodyguard on whom Sam's character is based. Davis often deals with situations like this.
So, what happens in the end?
After an extended fight scene, the three women beat their assailants from within the house. They're safe — but Rima turns down the deal. In Jewson's imagination, Sam and Zoe run the company together from then on.
Victory! But about Sam's personal life?
Ah, the other half of the movie. Sam is great at her job, but her personal life is troubled. Her lover, Alik (Akin Gazi) dies right in front of her. In an intimate moment, she also reveals that she gave up her child for adoption when she was 16. Though the daughter tries to get in contact with Sam, she refuses.
So that explains Sam's mystery caller.
Yes. At the start of the movie, Sam gets a call from a young woman. As we learn at the end, this woman is her daughter.
Will Sam get in touch with her daughter?
According to director Jewson, the answer is probably not. "Part of me thinks she does call her, then she chickens out and never follows through with meeting her. She just goes onto the next job and carries on. Which is tragic. But the one thing she does have is this very close relationship with Zoe, which will continue on," Jewson speculated on a call with Refinery29.