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The Ending Of The Stronghold Explained

Netflix has a new French-language gritty crime drama that is a must-see for fans of the genre, similar to past hits like "Rogue City" and "Narcos." The movie is called "The Stronghold," also known as "BAC Nord," and is based on a true story of anti-crime officers on the Marseilles police force who are charged with drug trafficking after using confiscated drugs to pay an informant to help them take down a major drug ring. The story deals with morality and questions if in some cases the ends do justify the means. 

"The Stronghold" follows three officers named Yass (Karim Leklou), Antoine (François Civil), and Greg (Gilles Lellouche), whose careers are on the line if they can't dismantle the powerful drug ring holding control in the northern neighborhoods. While their superior approves of the trio doing whatever they can to complete the mission, he denies this when the officers are charged and accused of stealing drugs and using them for their own enjoyment, leaving Greg, Antoine, and Yass all on their own, with the only option being to reveal their informant. So what happens to the three men at the center of the new Netflix film?

Here's the ending of "The Stronghold," explained.

What happened with Greg, Yass, and Antoine?

Right after the drug bust, the three men are seen as heroes, and everyone around them seems proud and congratulatory. But a few months later, everything changes with the surprise charges of racketeering and drug trafficking coming from IGPN (The General Inspectorate of the National Police), and they are arrested. For Greg, Antoine, and Yass, no one in the police force dares to help them at all as they face the intense charges. Without any evidence to back up their claims, the trio is sentenced to prison to await their trial, with each man getting solitary confinement. 

Greg has the worst experience in prison, where fellow prisoners hate police officers, making them huge targets for hate and abuse. He harms himself, gets in intense fights, and his mental health greatly deteriorates. Antoine is the only one who can save them, if only he would reveal the informant to the police. He caves after seeing what prison does to Greg, and they are all released, but the damage is already done. In the end, Yass joins the police union to help other officers in similar situations, while Antoine decides to work as a prison nurse to look after inmates. As for Greg, his badge is taken away and he starts working as a municipal officer to support himself. 

What happened to the real officers this story is based on?

While "The Stronghold" focuses on the idea of the officers using confiscated drugs and money to pay off informants that provide key information in the case, considering if it is an example of necessary evil, the real case focuses more on evidence of drug trafficking and money laundering, and a number of officers benefitting from reselling or obtaining the goods for themselves. The movie only looks at three of the accused officers who claimed that the drugs were used solely to pay informants for information, but in reality around 30 were suspended altogether, with a number of them being arrested and charged (Bangkok Post).  

According to RTL, the film is accurate in showing one of the three officers moving on to lead the police union, but it's unclear what happened with the other two. As for the other officers arrested, "all the accused police were either acquitted or given suspended sentences earlier this year." But that doesn't necessarily mean that they are innocent, as one critic mentioned in the article, Samuel Douhaire, criticized the overwhelming support for the officers that the film represents, when "they have [only] been partially cleared, they are still facing an appeal by prosecutors." Because of this major case of corruption, the Marseilles police unit was completely closed in 2012, and drug and gang violence in the city has grown exponentially since then (via France 24).

Did the officers do the right thing?

The answer to this question is unclear. Although the movie is based on a true story, "The Stronghold" definitely takes creative liberties in portraying the police officers' personal character and presenting the case from a certain point of view. Despite the director Cédric Jimenez stating in an interview at Cannes that "My work isn't to judge. I tried to experience the case as they did, at their level and through their eyes, without going beyond," there's no way for a film like this to be unbiased. No matter how hard Jimenez tried to be impartial, films need to have emotion and themes to create interest for the audience, which will sway them to think one thing or another. 

In the movie, the message being portrayed is really about "the individual being crushed by the machine, regardless of their behavior," with Yass, Greg, and Antoine following orders from above and then being left to face the consequences on their own. It's not really about the action of paying off an informant for drugs. But in terms of the real case, the public just doesn't know enough to make a judgement either way. But the law is the law, and if the officers did take drugs from people on the street to sell or use, then they're guilty in the eyes of the government.