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The Ending Of Uncharted Explained

The movie "Uncharted," based on the beloved video game franchise, serves as an origin story for rugged adventurer Nathan Drake. Played by Tom Holland, Nathan is a street-smart bartender in New York when he's approached by Victor "Sully" Sullivan (Mark Wahlberg) about teaming up to find the lost gold of Ferdinand Magellan. Sully explains that he was originally partnered with Nate's brother, Sam. While Nate hasn't heard from Sam in years, he can't help but be intrigued by the prospect of finding the treasure Sam told him about when he was a child and possibly discovering what happened to his long-lost sibling.

Competing with Sully and Nate to find the gold is the ruthless Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas) and a deadly mercenary named Braddock (Tati Gabrielle). However, by the time the entire cast of characters is on a plane bound for the Philippines at the end of the second act, Braddock shows her true colors, slitting Moncada's throat so she can collect the treasure herself. It's at this point that she and her henchmen catch on to the presence of Nate, Sully, and their ally Chloe (Sophia Ali), who have stowed away. 

Their fight in the cargo bay leads to the film's most eye-popping set piece in which Nate is swept out of the plane with several large crates. When he finally manages to make it back, things go from bad to worse, leading to the film's final act. Here's what happens at the end of "Uncharted."

A miraculous landing

Nate climbs the boxes of cargo and dives back into the plane. However, before he can settle down for even a second, Chloe, who is also battling Braddock and her goons in the cargo hold, drives into him and out of the plane in Moncada's little red sports car in an effort to escape. Things don't look good for either of them for a moment, but Chloe soon reveals that she has a parachute. Through a stroke of good luck, she manages to save herself and Nate. They make it safely to the ground — but they're in the middle of the ocean sitting on top of a box of cargo with no signs of civilization in sight.

Fortunately, good luck strikes once more, and after drifting in the water for a while Chloe spots something in the distance. It's a crowded beach, and the tide is sweeping Chloe and Nate straight towards it. They make their way across the sand and then find a room for the night.

Nate realizes Sam has left him a clue

Throughout the movie, Nate reads and re-reads the postcards his brother Sam sent to him through the years. These are postcards Nate now knows Sam sent while he was working with Sully to find Magellan's gold. Now that Sully has told him his brother is dead, they're more precious to him than ever. As Nate looks over the map and the two crosses that serve as keys to the location of the treasure, he turns his attention back to Sam's postcards.

He then thinks of something that hadn't occurred to him before: Sam could have left him a clue to finding the gold in one of the postcards. In the flashback scene that starts the movie, Sam leaves Nate a secret message when he escapes from the orphanage where they live. Young Nate uncovers the message by shining the flame from a lighter on the back of the paper where the message was embedded. Now, Nate uses the same technique on Sam's postcards and discovers his brother did, indeed, leave him a hidden message. The invisible ink he finds on one of the postcards tells him that the crosses can also serve as a compass.

Nate wises up

Just as Sam seemingly intended, Nate uses the crosses to find the coordinates of the treasure. Now that he knows exactly where to go to get the gold, he has to decide whether to share the news with Chloe. Throughout the movie, Nate has been quick to trust, especially when it comes to Chloe, and he's paid the price repeatedly. Now, however, it seems that Nate finally realizes that he can't trust Chloe to stay loyal to him or keep his best interests at heart. So before he goes to sleep, he leaves out a set of fake coordinates for Chloe to find in case she wakes up before him.

Just as Nate suspected she might, Chloe takes the bait. When Nate wakes up, Chloe is nowhere to be found and the fake coordinates are gone. While Chloe is off on a wild goose chase, Nate takes a boat and speeds out to the location of the actual coordinates, a cave in the middle of the ocean. However, when Nate gets there, he discovers that the cave doesn't contain just one ship, but two.

Nate's got company

Nate boards one of Magellan's timeworn ships and starts to explore. As he does, Sully arrives and is delighted to find that the ship contains barrels full of gold. Between that and the value of the historical ships, Sully knows he's in for quite a payday. Unfortunately, the celebration is short-lived because Braddock and her henchmen appear in the cave. Nate and Sully are vastly outnumbered, so they hide in the ship as Braddock takes in her discovery.

As they wait, presumably, for her to take what she wants and go, Nate and Sully realize Braddock has something else in mind entirely. She has summons two large helicopters to fly the intact boats out of the cave so she can bring every bit of the treasure back with her. After each helicopter is attached to one of the ships with ropes, they begin to lift the ships out of the open ceiling of the cave and start toward their destination.

An in-flight fight

Since the ships are now completely in Braddock's control, Nate and Sully are going to be revealed eventually, so the two know they're going to have to fight. Since Braddock and her henchman are on the ships as they're being transported, it's not long until a full-on brawl starts. While Braddock and her henchmen don't hesitate to attack Nate and Sully once they reveal themselves, the duo is every bit as determined as Braddock to get the treasure. Even though the pair know the other ship is lost to them, they do everything they can to establish control of the ship they're on.

This results in a battle involving clubs, guns, swords, knives, fists, and anything else the combatants can use. In the end, Braddock's henchmen are vanquished and Sully manages to gain control of the helicopter carrying the ship. However, Braddock is still standing and Nate turns to face her as the ropes holding the ship to the helicopter start to give out.

Sully make a choice

Nate and Braddock know they don't want to be on the ship when the ropes break, so they start to climb the ship's masts and the ropes attached to the helicopter. Ultimately, whether or not either of them makes it out of the situation comes down to Sully in the helicopter. Yet, Sully also has his hands on a bag full of gold, which may be more important to him than anything, including Nate's life.

Nate scrambles toward the helicopter and reaches out his hand to Sully, but Sully pauses. Just when it looks like he's going to let Nate fall with the ship, Sully drops the gold and grabs Nate's hand, pulling him to safety. The bag of gold falls into the ocean, along with Braddock. Then, the ropes attaching the ship to the helicopter finally break and the boat crashes into the sea, right on top of Braddock.

For a glorious moment, the ship floats on the water. Then, as Nate and Sully watch from above, the ship crumbles and slowly sinks into the ocean. Nate suggests they could still salvage the treasure from beneath the sea, but Sully points out a Filipino government boat is already on the scene. There's no way he and Nate could get to the treasure before they do. Just when it looks like they're going to go home empty-handed, Nate reveals he's stashed several pieces of gold in his pockets as a thrilled Sully flies them away.

A last-minute revelation

While Nate and Sully's first cinematic adventure together has ended, Nate still doesn't know all the details about what happened to his brother. At one point in the movie, Braddock indicates that she killed him, and Chloe and Sully make it clear that they both believe Sam is dead. However, the final few moments of the film reveal that none of the characters really know the truth about Sam's fate.

The scene cuts to a dark prison. In a small cell shrouded in shadows, a prisoner with long, unkempt blonde hair is writing a postcard that looks like those Nate had previously received from his brother. Although the camera never gives us a good look at his face, this must be Sam. Beyond that, the postcard he's writing seems to indicate he's been trying to contact Nate for a while, but he's not sure his messages have actually been getting through. Following that brief glimpse, the credits roll.

Setting up the next adventure

Finally, in a mid-credits scene, the movie sets up a potential "Uncharted" sequel. Nate is seen meeting with a man with an eyepatch in what looks like a tropical cafe. They are there to make an exchange: the ring Nate wears on a strap around his neck in exchange for a Nazi map that presumably leads to a new treasure. Just as it seems like the negotiations are about to go south and Nate is preparing to fight the man's allies, who have him surrounded, Sully shows up with a gun and the pair regain control of the situation.

Nate grabs the map and throws Sully, who's now sporting a mustache, a cigar. Sully sniffs the cigar appreciatively as Nate joins him at the door only to show the man with the eyepatch that he's also taken back his ring. As the pair walk out together, Nate expresses his annoyance with Sully, who was supposed to arrive the day before. However, Sully explains he was late because he had a hard time getting his cat, Mr. Whiskers, who he's now carrying in a backpack, through customs. 

As they talk, the pair turn and stop dead in their tracks. Whatever they see in front of them seems to startle them both, but before we can see what it is, the sequence cuts, and the rest of the credits unspool.