Hi, this is Barry, and welcome to my site. Shimmer Lake is a 2017 crime drama on Netflix, a directorial debut for the screenplay writer Oren Uziel. The film is a brilliant dark comedy about a bank robbery gone wrong narrated in reverse order. The cast includes Benjamin Walker, Rainn Wilson, Stephanie Sigman, John Michael Higgins, Mark Rendall and Wyatt Russell in the central roles. Here’s the plot walkthrough in chronological order, and the ending of the movie Shimmer Lake explained; spoilers ahead.
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Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:
Shimmer Lake Ending Explained: Who killed Andy?
The ending of the movie Shimmer Lake reveals that Zeke is the one with the Tatoo on his arm and kills his brother Andy. Steph and Zeke avenge their illegitimate son’s death (Ed Jr) and are the masterminds behind the murders of Ed, Andy, Judge Dawkins, and Chris.
Shimmer Lake: What happened to Ed Jr?
Ed Jr was killed in a Meth Lab explosion caused by Ed and Chris. Ed is careless enough to keep his son by his side in the place he’s illegally cooking meth in uncontrolled conditions. It is later revealed that Ed Jr is Zeke’s son with Steph and not Ed’s.
The Meth Accident
A few years before the film’s events, Ed and Chris were meth cooks. The school calls saying Ed Jr was sick with stomach pain. Given Steph was busy at work, Ed goes to pick him up. Steph doesn’t realize Ed was in an illegal drug lab, where he took Ed Jr. An accident causes the lab to explode. Ed makes it out alive, Chris’s brain is fried, and Ed Jr is killed.
Why do Zeke and Steph plan the murders?
Ed and Chris – Arrested for blowing up and killing Ed Jr
Andy – The prosecutor against Ed and Chris on the case
Brad Dawkins – The Judge on the case
Ed paid Andy to drop the reckless manslaughter charge. Andy took the bribe, and that explains his fancy Porsche. He traded a boy’s life for a car.
Judge Dawkins was blackmailed with a tape of him with his gay lover, and he signed off on Ed’s plea.
Ed and Chris got away with just 8 months of jail time and, once out, got back to their old ways. They don’t have the slightest repentance even though Ed thinks the kid was his own son.
Zeke and Steph want revenge on all four.
Shimmer Lake: Plot Explained Linearly: What happened?
The film ran backwards beautifully. Though Memento and Irreversible have accomplished this before, Shimmer Lake did a fantastic job of reversed story-telling. For the sake of ease, I’ll summarize the events in the forward direction.
Over many months, it appears Steph has been leading Andy on to believe she’s interested in him. Andy thinks that one day he can run away with Steph and start a new life. Steph assembles Ed, Chris, and Andy and tells them about the bank heist and prepares them over a period of time.
- Steph offers Ed a chance to walk away. This is a test to see if he even remotely feels remorse. This scene is important because a part of the plan is to offer an exit, but Ed doesn’t take it.
- The bank is owned by Judge Dawkins, so Ed calls him and blackmails him again with a tape that exposes the Judge’s secret affairs with his gay lover. Judge Dawkins gives away the combination of the safe in the bank.
- Zeke is the sheriff in charge of the night guard at the bank. The sequence starts off hilariously and ends with the gruesome death of Ed. Zeke and Steph disclose that Ed Jr is actually their child, and Ed was responsible for his death. Zeke shoots and kills Ed.
- Steph shoots Zeke after he anesthetizes his hand.
- Steph drives Ed away in his car to a remote location and buries him and the vehicle. Steph keeps the money.
- Zeke calls for backup and lies in Ed’s pool of blood.
- Andy and Chris drive away hearing the shots and assume that Ed tricked them and made away with the money.
- Zeke gets a call from Andy, and Zeke extracts a confession from Andy that he did take a bribe to drop charges on Ed.
- Steph calls Chris over, saying she’s waiting with Ed and the money at a motel.
- Steph calls Judge Dawkins to the motel, saying she has the videotape.
- At the motel, Steph seduces Chris to have him put his gun down. When the Judge enters and picks up Chris’ gun, she provokes Chris to quarrel with the Judge, who shoots and kills Chris as a result. Considering how thin motel walls are, the bullets fired at the bathroom would have killed Steph too. But she walks out unscratched.
- Steph forces Judge Dawkins to keep the money which he takes with him back home.
- After sending his family away to their holiday home, Judge Dawkins calls home his gay lover.
- Steph meets with Andy and lies to him that Judge Dawkins and Ed are in cahoots and the Judge has the money. She makes him believe that once Andy has the money, the two of them can elope.
- Steph wounds her face and lies to the authorities saying Ed came over and hit her. She also says that Ed plans to leave for Mexico.
- Andy lands up and accidentally kills the Judge in a scuffle. He takes the money and leaves for his house.
- Andy is seen by his daughter while hiding in the basement. Zeke allows Andy to escape.
- Andy drives away and calls Steph to tell her he has the money and will meet her at Shimmer Lake.
- Zeke and Steph show up at Shimmer Lake and kill Andy and drive away with the money.
And that’s that! What did you think about Shimmer Lake? Do drop a comment below.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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