‘Breakwater’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Was Childress’ Real Intention?

James Rowe’s latest film, Breakwater, spotlights Dovey (Darren Mann), a young man who takes on the whole world to deliver on the promise he made to his cellmate. Dovey met Ray Childress (Dermot Mulroney) when he was sent to prison for an unknown crime. Childress had a daughter but never knew where she was based until he found newspaper clippings that told him his daughter, Marina, was in Outer Bank. Childress asked Dovey to go to Currituck and find his daughter. Dovey had no intention to disappoint Childress, as he was among the few people who treated him nicely when he was serving his jail sentence. Also, it was Childress who taught him how to survive and fend for himself in jail. So, it’s the least he could do, implied Childress.


Spoilers Ahead

Why Did Dovey Disobey His Parole Officer?

Dovey decided to abandon the life of crime for an honest living, even if it paid peanuts. He met his father, and helped him fish scallops and crabs from the lake to sell on the open market. Dovey also wanted to get a decent-paying job so he could save some extra cash on the side to go back to college and complete his education. The only problem is that he was told by his parole officer, Bonnie Bell (Sonja Sohn), that he couldn’t leave the town for a year. If Dovey was caught outside the state, emergency or not, he’d be thrown back inside cell block six. Dovey figured he would find and meet Marina after a year but was slapped with a deadline when Childress told Dovey that he was dying.


After learning about Childress’ illness, Dovey had no choice but to disobey his parole officer and leave town. He would stay out of trouble and be back before anyone noticed he was gone, Dovey told his father. Dovey learned from one of the townspeople that the girl in the newspaper clipping was not Marina but Eve (Alyssa Goss), who owned The White Whale, the bookstore down at the end of Pinecroft. Marina had changed her name to Eve, after moving to the town.

Eve’s assistant told Dovey that Eve often gave people a tour of the lighthouse. Dovey finally had a chance to meet Eve face-to-face but chose to wait a couple more days before breaking the news to her. However, Childress told Dovey not to tell Eve anything about him. Childress figured if Eve was happy, there was no point in disturbing her mental peace.


Why was Childress Taken to Hospital?

Prison politics was a dangerous thing, and Childress became the latest victim of it. One of the prisoners, in the dark of the night, stabbed Childress and he was taken to the hospital. At first, it appeared that Childress was mortally wounded, but it was all just a farce. Childress had faked it all up so he could escape, and his plan worked. Childress was taken to the hospital for treatment, but in the middle of it, he ditched the ambulance and escaped. Once Childress was on the run, a nationwide manhunt was organized against him, which also roped in Dovey, as he was the last person on the call with Childress. Bonnie Bell, the parole officer, visited Dovey’s father and made it clear that if his son had anything to do with it, he would be returning to Saint Brides (the prison). However, this was the least of Dovey’s problems, as spending time with Eve suggested to him that Eve might not actually be Childress’s daughter but an entirely different woman.

What was the childress’ real intention?

The first half of the film portrayed Childress as a good man who had found himself in prison after getting involved in some illegal things. But the truth was far from reality, as Childress was nothing but a cold-blooded criminal who would do anything to get what he wanted. He told Dovey to find his daughter, Marina, so he could learn if she was happy and possibly make up for the lost time, but this wasn’t true. Childress was a compulsive liar who once lied about his mother’s death, claiming he was going to identify her body just to get out of a speeding ticket. The real reason Childress was looking for Marina was to kill her because she was the one who had sent him away for a long time. Marina’s worst nightmares manifested, and Childress kidnapped Harper, Marina’s daughter, and asked Marina to meet her at church.


Revenge wasn’t the only thing on Childress’s mind when he’d escaped prison. Childress was also looking for the score Marina had kept. In reality, Ray wasn’t Marina’s father but a man her mother once dated after her father’s death. A few months into the relationship, Ray came into Marina’s work, who at that time worked in a gift shop that housed some expensive war mementos. Childress and Marina lifted the loot together, but the latter gave him up to the cops and escaped. Since then, Childress has been looking for Marina so he can get his revenge and his loot. Also, Harper, Marina’s daughter, whom Dovey saw in the bookstore, was Childress’s daughter. Dovey agreed to bring what Childress wanted to him at the pier but was arrested by his parole officer. Fortunately, Bonnie believed his story and only held him culpable for being conned by an ex-convict. However, Dovey soon escaped to save Marina and her daughter. 

As Breakwater neared its end, Dovey found Childress, and in the ensuing chaos, both plummeted into the water. Dovey tried to save Childress, but it was too late. As for Marina and her daughter, Dovey made the police chase him so Marina and Harper could have time to leave. But what happened to Dovey? He was arrested but wasn’t charged with anything serious other than just ignoring parole rules, and he got out soon after.


Dovey wasn’t a criminal, but he made some mistakes when he was a minor, which landed him in prison. All the while, when Dovey thought Childress was teaching him the ways of prison, he was actually studying him so that one day Childress could manipulate him into doing his bidding. Childress lied about having cancer, and it gave Dovey another push to deliver on the promise he had made to him, sending a whirlwind of troubles his way.

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Rishabh Shandilya
Rishabh Shandilya
Rishabh considers himself a superhero who is always at work trying to save the world from boredom. In his leisure time, he loves to watch more movies and play video games and tries to write about them to entertain his readers further. Rishabh likes to call himself a dedicated fan of Haruki Murakami, whose books are an escape from his real being.

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