‘Broken Wings’ Ending, Explained: How Much Of It Is True? What Happened To The Real Heroes Of Indonesia?

“Broken Wings” tells the true, dreadful tale of one of Indonesia’s biggest tragedies in recent history in the form of a love story. Director Rudi Soedjarwo and producer Denny Siregar wanted to represent the history of the country in an entertaining format to get people talking about it and leave a mark on the lives lost. While mostly fictionalized, the movie looms with a feeling of dread until its last few minutes, when you are expecting the inevitable but are still left shattered. The movie relies mostly on sounds and scenes of blood and bruising to represent its brutal violence and shies away from most of the real atrocities that took place at Mako Brimob jail (Police Mobile Brigade), Kelapa Dua, Depole, West Java, reportedly having included officers’ limbs being separated from their bodies. With “Broken Wings,” many moviegoers (and Netflix-ers) are now revisiting the painful incident, remembering the members of Densus 88 who lost in the fight. “Sayap Sayap Patah” (the Indonesian title) plays it safely and accurately tells the tale of good vs. bad with a dramatic romance, evoking the right emotions in its final act. 


Spoilers Ahead

‘Broken Wings’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

The movie follows a happily married couple, Aji and Nani, who is pregnant with their first child. Aji is a member of the Densus 88 (Special Detachment) anti-terrorism squad, and his work is slowly putting a strain on their lovely relationship. Nani starts to have complications in her pregnancy caused by high blood pressure due to stress as she worries if her husband will come back home every day or not. While she initially hides this fact from her husband, she soon finds herself overwhelmingly distressed due to a blast that occurs at his office. She eventually tells Aji the truth and decides to leave Surabaya (his current posting) and go back home to her mother in Jakarta to give birth to her child peacefully. At this time, Aji finds himself lost and vulnerable after his wife leaves him and after the tragic deaths of two of his colleagues in the incident that took place at the office. Aji is tasked with catching the perpetrators of the blast and is able to do so with the help of the squad. Once caught, these members are taken to headquarters in Jakarta to be interrogated further. Aji finds himself missing Nani terribly and, finally, with the burden being taken off his shoulders for a small amount of time, goes to Jakarta to spend some time with her. At last, while there, he is told he has been transferred to Jakarta, and he feels overjoyed to be able to be with his now heavily pregnant wife. On his first day back, Aji is about to return to headquarters when he is stopped by the sound of his wife’s water breaking and rushes to the hospital with her. Over there, he receives a call and tells his senior that he will not be able to make it to the office due to his wife’s labor. Nani, hearing this conversation, tells him to just go and make an appearance as it is his first day back, and she has between 12 and 24 hours more to give birth. Convinced by his wife’s words, he decides to go for a bit and come back. Does Aji come back?


What Is The Real-Life Story Behind The Mako Brimob Jail Tragedy Of 2018? 

The 8th of May, 2018, was a dark day in the history of Indonesia. A riot took place at the Mako Brimob detention center in Kelapa Dua, Depok. The massive riot was caused by a group of 150 terrorist convicts who took over the center for three-whole days and terrorized the officers inside. Many pictures were circulated of the inmates carrying firearms and nursing wounds at the detention center. While in the movie “Broken Wings” the reason for the uproar is a package wanted by gang leader Mr. Leongh; it is said that the real riot began due to food brought by a family member for an inmate being kept from him. This became a massive uproar as the prisoners went into hysteria and caused havoc in prison. In the three-day takeover, out of the thirteen officers present, seven were able to escape, and six were held hostage, out of which five Densus 88 squad members were brutally murdered. On day 1 of the standoff, the national police officers, unaware of the deaths of five of the six officers who were held hostage, tried to negotiate with the inmates, requesting the release of the six officers. Finally, on day 2, the bodies of the five officers were brought out. In the end, the prisoners were forced to surrender by the police, and six terrorists were sentenced to death. The five officers who were killed in the fight were First Insp. Yudi Rospuji, Denny Setiadi, Fandy Setyo Nugroho, Syukron Fadhli, and Wahyu Catur Pamungkas.

‘Broken Wings’ Ending Explained – Did Aji Come Back To His Wife And Newborn? What Happened To Officers Gendis And Ruslan? 

It is common for directors to end sad movies with a ray of hope, hoping that people will go back with a sense of satisfaction for beloved characters. Unfortunately for us, this is not the case with “Broken Wings.” Aji, our simple hero, sacrifices his life for the safety of his colleague Ruslan, claiming the difference between him (a police officer) and them (the terrorists) is how the police protect each other, unlike their enemies, the terrorists. Director Rudi cuts the scene of Aji’s sacrifice with the entrance of squad members into the building, leaving us hoping right until the end that good will prevail and he will somehow survive their arrival. At the last minute, he doesn’t, and his throat is slit by Mr. Leongh, the antagonist of the film. Most of the torture faced by Ruslan, Gendis, and Aji while they are held hostage is covered through long shots and loud sounds, with a few brutal blows to their bodies for a deeper effect. A scene of terror is represented by the empty entrance to the prison, accompanied by the terrified screams of officers and violence, showcasing parallels between the low-staffed police squad and the hysterical inmates. “Broken Wings” is a clear depiction of anti-terrorist sentiments invoking a sense of good prevailing over evil eventually. In a quieter scene from the movie, after Gendis brings 23-year-old inmate Syid to a solitary prison for safety and introduces him to other inmates who are cooperating with the police, we hear them talk about their faith and how no man can know the level of someone else’s faith as they are not God. At the start of the movie, we also hear the protagonist Aji talk to his unborn child about good and evil and say that if someone does not counteract evil, it means they are supporting it. Throughout the film, we see this righteousness in this character as we root for his victory. In some ways, Aji is victorious, as he is able to save his friend Ruslan from being killed by the terrorists and volunteers himself as the person to be killed. Gendis, who was brutally injured at the scene, was also rushed to safety with the help of inmates Syid and La Umane, who was saved by her kindness and returned the favor. Nani, who has given birth to her child with Aji, is devastated by the loss of her beloved husband, who couldn’t even hold their child. We are left with sadness as we remember his words to Ruslan as his dying wish to tell his wife and child not to wait for his return. “Broken Wings” will leave you heartbroken for not just Nani and her newborn but for everyone in real life who lost their loved ones to this catastrophe.


“Broken Wings” is a 2022 Indonesian mystery thriller film directed by Rudi Soedjarwo.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika, or "Ru," is a fashion designer and stylist by day and a serial binge-watcher by night. She dabbles in writing when she has the chance and loves to entertain herself with reading, K-pop dancing, and the occasional hangout with friends.

Latest articles