‘No Way Up’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: Did Ava And Danilo Survive?

No Way Up is a gripping survival thriller that takes viewers through the chaotic aftermath of a plane crash. With a journey to Cabo turning into a nightmare, the characters find themselves in a desperate struggle against nature, facing the daunting challenge of surviving in the harsh environment of the Pacific Ocean. Claudio Fäh’s action thriller film skillfully portrays the intense struggle of the survivors as they battle to keep their heads above water amidst the plane wreckage and constant shark attacks. With each passing moment, the air reduces and the risks escalate, challenging the characters to their core and putting their determination to survive to the ultimate test.


Although No Way Up impresses with its intense thrills and gripping scenes, some viewers might feel a thirst for more insight into the characters’ survival skills. While the beginning of the film hints at the psychological toll of facing extreme challenges, the latter focuses only on shark attacks, which limits opportunities for character growth. Although the acting is generally strong, there are instances where the script falls short, missing opportunities to delve deeper into emotional complexity. But No Way Up is sure to leave viewers pondering the age-old question: What would I do in the face of such dire circumstances?

Spoilers Ahead


What Events Led To The Sudden Disaster During The Flight To Cabo?

The movie started off by showing Ava, along with her friend Kyle and her boyfriend Jed, going to Cabo for a vacation. She was the daughter of the governor and had always lived a sheltered, protected life. So her bodyguard, Brandon, also accompanied her on this trip, which her friends did not like. But Ava found peace knowing that Brandon was with her, since she had been terrified of plane rides ever since her mother’s accident. As he had always been her savior, he promised to be discreet and let them enjoy their vacation. On the other hand, a little girl was also seen traveling on the same plane with her grandparents. Once aboard, each passenger was immersed in their own thoughts and activities.

Kyle engaged in playful banter with the flight attendant, while Jed supported Ava’s future decision of becoming a lawyer, saying that he was proud of her. But suddenly, the plane made some thudding sounds and experienced turbulence, causing panic among the passengers. Then the pilot said that the noise was caused by some birds hitting the engine. But the little girl, when looking out the window, saw the engine catching fire and the outer layer of the engine tearing away. One of the pieces pierced through the window and breached the plane’s inner layer, breaking the air seal. Through the pressure of the air, leading to a catastrophic decompression, one side of the plane is completely blown away. As Ava sat there, she witnessed a harrowing scene unfold before her eyes: passengers being gradually torn away from the plane, their desperate attempts at survival futile as they had nothing to grasp onto. With the aircraft rapidly descending, it plunged into the unforgiving waves of the Pacific Ocean. Water flooded in and sealed the fate of everyone aboard.


What Challenges Do The Survivors Face? 

It was observed that the plane was stuck on a slope under the ocean. Only Ava, along with Jed and Kyle, the flight attendant, the little girl, her grandmother, and Ava’s bodyguard Brandon, were alive. Even the grandfather was dead, which saddened them. Brandon informed them that there would be no reception underwater, but help would be on the way once they were tracked. This was an air-packed environment, so they would be safe for some hours. Brandon instructed the flight attendant to find oxygen tanks, but he said they were empty. The grandmother mentioned that a passenger had a medical oxygen tank on the plane. Since he was dead, Brandon knew he could take it to keep them alive. He went to find it and told everyone to be brave, as crying or panicking was not an option.

However, as Brandon was swimming underwater to retrieve the oxygen tank, a shark attacked him. With his last breath, he threw the oxygen tank towards them so they would be safe, but the shark ultimately consumed him. This scene infused panic in everyone, as Brandon was their last hope for survival. Meanwhile, Kyle broke his hand, so the grandmother helped mend it. She revealed that she was a lieutenant nurse and had met her husband there in the military camp, and they had been inseparable since then. She didn’t know this would be their last chance to see each other, and she mourned his death. As they talked, they noticed the plane sinking further into the water and realized they needed to find the black box as they can find the survival kit inside. On the other hand, there was a rescue team trying to find them, but as they were deep in the water, it was getting difficult. Suddenly, they saw sharks devouring the dead bodies on the plane and making thudding sounds.


The plane was made of thin aluminum, so they knew they didn’t have much time, maybe 3 to 4 hours. Also, the plane started tilting further due to all the thudding, which made them think they should try to swim out into the water. However, they contemplated how to avoid the sharks, so the little girl suggested distracting them using bubbles, something she had learned at school. Meanwhile, the rescue team found pieces of the plane wreck. in the water, so they realized the plane had sunk. They sent their scuba divers underwater to save anyone who might still be alive. One of the divers saw them inside the plane, and as he approached to save them, in front of their eyes, a shark attacked him and consumed him. So they realized they had to survive alone, as there was no other hope left for them.

How Did They Survive? 

They knew the divers were dead, but they could find the scuba tanks to survive. However, as Ava went deep into the water, her boyfriend Jed became worried and dived, pulling her out of the water. Unfortunately, a shark attacked one of his legs and tore it from his body. Due to significant blood loss, he also died, which devastated Ava as he lost his life protecting her. She then dove into the luggage cabinet and retrieved the green bag, where the emergency supplies were stored. As the plane sank further into the water, they realized they had to find a way to escape, as the front of the plane had broken off due to the water pressure. Ava, along with the little girl, dove into the water and made bubbles whenever the sharks came close. This tactic benefited them because they both knew how to swim. However, for Kyle, it was difficult as he didn’t know how to hold his breath underwater, so he became a feast for the shark. The grandmother lost hope of survival and let go. The flight attendant started swimming as fast as he could to escape. Ava had a close encounter with the shark, so she let the flight attendant, Danilo, and the little girl go together, taking the scuba tank and life jacket. They survived.


During No Way Up‘s ending, Ava tried to escape but lost consciousness due to the water pressure. She managed to pull on the life jacket and emerged from the water, immediately regaining her senses. The rescue team found her, and finally, she, along with Danilo and the little girl, were rescued. They hugged each other in relief, having survived the ordeal.

I found the climax of No Way Up to be incredibly fast-paced, leaving me wanting more closure. However, this ambiguity also sparked contemplation about the characters’ futures. Perhaps Ava will strive to become a lawyer after finishing law school, while Danilo, the flight attendant, may approach his job with more caution or even consider leaving it after such a traumatic experience. I hope the little girl returned safely to her parents. But the memories of those lost in the crash would undoubtedly linger, leading to mourning and reflection. 


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Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka Banerjee
Sutanuka, a devoted movie enthusiast, embarked on her cinematic journey since childhood, captivated by the enchanting world of the Harry Potter series. This early passion ignited her love for movies, providing an escape into the magical realms of cinema. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in media science, combining her academic pursuits with her unwavering passion for the silver screen.

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