‘All Souls’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Did River Save Her Child?

Godard had once said that to make a good movie, all one needs is a woman and a gun. All Souls takes this a little too much to heart. Indeed, there is a woman here named River who gets a gun to save her daughter from the clutches of the monstrous drug lord who happens to be the child’s father, and that is all there is to it. In its runtime of about 70 minutes, All Souls, directed by Emmanuelle Pickett, tries to create a throttling and gritty atmosphere, but the film suffers because neither there is a freshness to the narrative nor is there a deeper take on violence, femininity, motherhood, or confidential informanthood, for that matter. We have seen monsters before on celluloid who you know will harm children if they have to, and if the movie’s aim was to put us in the shoes of a young mother who goes through the suffocating tension of being a CI for the police, well, it does so for a short period. After a decent buildup, the film devolves into generic tropes, and its freshness is lost in the process. Mikey Madison shines in the role of River, the young mother, who is left with no choice but to try and help the police nab Silas, the drug kingpin.


Spoilers Ahead

Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

River, who self-deprecatingly referred to herself as a ‘cockroach,’ implying she could survive anywhere in any condition, was soon going to figure out if she indeed could. The day began, and she had decided to take her daughter Jade out to the Santa Muerte parade, where people put on a specific kind of makeup in honor of the deity. But River’s ultimate goal on that day was to ensure she wasn’t ever disturbed by the cops again. She had been working as a confidential informant, or CI, for the Valley Police Department, and two cops, Carcillo and Hernandez, were the officers she reported to. This time they wanted the big enchilada, and that’s why they called River. The man they were after, i.e. Silas had notoriously stayed out of the police’s clutches, and River was the cops’ only chance to get to him. As he was Jade’s father, there was an assumed trust that River wouldn’t go against him, and she had given them zero inkling that she was working for the cops. River didn’t ever need to, as she was dealing with ‘low-level’ stuff and was pressured into being a CI in order to avoid letting Jade go into the hands of social services. River was nervous, but this was her only way out of the mess she was in. She had been caught by the cops, and she couldn’t bear to be away from Jade. Her bag was bugged with a wire, and the codeword was told to her, but things didn’t go in River’s favor from the get-go.


Why Did The Wire Fail To Work?

When things seem too easy, that is the perfect time in the criminal world for them to become extremely difficult. River thought she would make the drug deal and that would be the end of it. But Silas never arrived. Instead, his minions, Frankie and Vic, did. They took her to a remote location, where Silas was waiting for her. The deal was supposed to have gone down in the parking lot, where Carcillo and Hernandez were nearby for the bust, but now River was out of their reach and the wire was dead. River had a bottle with her, possibly filled with beer, that she had been drinking while waiting for Silas to show up. When Frankie arrived, she had put the bottle in the bag, but the bottle was leaking. The wire put in her bag must have gotten wet and hence failed to work, which is why the cops could hear nothing. River did try to dry up the wire in the bathroom after she had reached Silas’ place, but nothing worked.

Why Did River Go Back?

It’s friends and acquaintances that eventually help in certain situations. After River ran from Silas’ place, for they had found the wire in her bag, she went to Stacy, a friend working in a restaurant. Through her phone, she called Madison, who was taking care of Jade that night. Madison calmed River down, telling her that Jade was okay, but soon Silas’ men showed up at Madison’s place and abducted Jade. River had no idea about this, and it was a really smart move, too, in a crunch situation, to call the Valley Police Department and let them know Silas’ address. The message went to voicemail as Carcillo and Hernandez had not picked up the call, but they later figured out that if River was alive, she must have contacted them at their department. When River figured out that Silas had taken Jade away, there wasn’t the option to wait for Carcillo or Hernandez now. She had to protect her daughter, which is why she got a gun from her neighbor, Stevie, who seemed to be a low-level drug dealer himself.


Why Did The Cops Let River Go?

Carcillo and Hernandez might not accept it, but their bust was quite shoddily planned. They had not prepared for any backup, and nobody knew about their operation. They were hesitant to tell anybody that perhaps they had let their CI go into death’s mouth while they were waiting for the wire to work. Ultimately, it was River who had helped them locate Silas’ hideout by calling the police station and leaving the address in the voice note.

Meanwhile, River went back into the same den she had barely managed to escape from, but this time she had the ferocity of a tigress and a gun to help. She had hidden the gun in one of Jade’s toys, hoping Silas’ men wouldn’t check it for weapons. Silas was waiting for her, knowing there was simply no way she wouldn’t return after knowing that he had kidnapped Jade. River didn’t go berserk straight away and tried to reason with Silas. There was still no harm done. No real deal had taken place, and the cops were not even aware of his whereabouts as far as she was concerned. Silas refused to listen to reason, and that’s when she had to pull out her gun. Silas survived as there was a lot of muscle power in the room to take her down, but when little Jade chipped in as well with her agility, it was game over for everyone. River ultimately killed Silas when he had taken hold of Jade. Carcillo and Hernandez came and saw the bloodbath that had occurred. They were able to arrest Vic and Frankie and decided to let River go. There was no other way to stop River from killing Frankie and Vic. She had the gun pointed right at them, and the cops promised she would be let go if she lowered her weapon. She had done her part, and Silas, the drug lord, was dead. It would have been better if he was caught alive, but Frankie and Vic were knowledgeable enough that they could twist their arms to get the information out about their drug operation. The cops didn’t mind letting River go, as she didn’t seem to be of much use to them. River was back with Jade, with the sole intention of always being with her.


Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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