Who Am I: Plot and Ending Explained (2014 Netflix Film)

Hi, this is Barry, and welcome to my site. Who Am I (Kein System ist sicher) is a 2014 German crime thriller directed by Baran bo Odar who also gave us the Netflix series DARK. The story follows a loner computer whiz and hacker who gets entangled in a series of events connected to the dark web. The film has fantastic non-linear storytelling, and the simplified depiction of the darknet is quite creative. The cast has Tom Schilling, Elyas M’Barek and Trine Dyrholm in leading roles. The story is pretty straightforward, but there might be a few loose ends you are looking to tie up. So, here’s the plot and the ending of the 2014 movie Who Am I explained; spoilers ahead.

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Contents

Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:

Who Am I: Plot Explained

Before explaining the ending of Who Am I, let’s quickly walk through the plot linearly.

Benjamin’s Past

Benjamin (Ben) was a quiet kid who grew up ignored by most people, specifically in the schooling years. His dad ran away when he was young. His mother developed Multiple Personality Disorder and finally killed herself. As a young boy, his grandmother raised Ben. He eventually begins to take care of his grandma until she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is hospitalized. Ben grows up to be a computer whiz and a talented hacker. His day job, however, is delivering pizzas.

Who is Marie?

Marie is a girl Ben likes right from his school days. To help her out in her exam, Ben decides to break in and steal the question paper for her. Unfortunately, he gets busted and is given 50 hours of community service. During that time, Ben meets Max and his two hacker friends Stefan and Paul, who are interested in Ben because of his hacker background. Ben proves that he’s the real deal and hacks into the electricity board servers and kills power to a couple of blocks. Ben does this at a party that Max and his friends crash. When the cops arrive, they make a run for it. Marie gets caught up in the getaway and leaves with Ben, who she recognizes from school.

CLAY is born!

who am i CLAY MRX

The four men christen themselves CLAY (Clowns Laughing At You) and begin making themselves known by hacking into a couple of small events. They use Ben’s grandmother’s place, which is now empty because she is undergoing long term care at a hospital.

Who is MRX? What does CLAY want?

MRX is a genius hacker who is hailed supreme in the dark web. CLAY, specifically Max, wants the adulation of MRX, but all they get for their hacking efforts is MRX dissing them in the dark web.

Who are FR13NDS?

FR13NDS is another hacker clan like CLAY, and they are much older and more notorious. While it is only disclosed later, MRX is one of the members of FR13NDS who are connected to the Russian dark web.

Who is Hanne Lindberg?

Hanne is the lead cybercrime investigator of Europol and is after FR13NDS due to their past attacks on the German Army’s servers and the European Central Bank of Frankfurt. However, Hanne has been unsuccessful for 3 years, and her position is at risk.

Hacking into the Federal Intelligence Service

hacking the Federal Intelligence Service

CLAY decide that they need to up their game to gain the respect of the dark web. So they break in and hack the printers at the Federal Intelligence Service overnight. The printers print the CLAY logo in the morning when the office resumes, and this becomes major news. Ben happens to find some hidden encrypted data at the Federal Intelligence Service during the night’s hacking and secretly makes himself a copy.

Who is Krypton, and why is he murdered?

Ben and Max fight over Marie, and to prove that he’s not a “nobody”, Ben thoughtlessly sends the encrypted data he stole from the Federal Intelligence Service to MRX. The encrypted data contains the names and identities of double-agent hackers who are working with cops. Krypton, a member of FR13NDS, is one such who has been giving inside information to expose FR13NDS and MRX. MRX is furious to learn about Krypton and sells this data to the Russian dark web, who murder Krypton. Since CLAY claims the Federal Intelligence Service attack, they are immediately linked with Krypton’s murder and labelled as a terrorist organization.

Hacking Europol And Ben’s Identity Reveal

CLAY contact MRX from a public internet service and MRX asks them to hack into Europol and give him backdoor access. CLAY find this to be an opportunity to trick MRX by placing a trap to expose MRX’s true identity. What is a Trojan within a Trojan? A Trojan is a program that allows an external unauthorized person to gain access to computers in a network. CLAY try their best but are unable to hack into Europol. As a last resort, they check the sewers (with no luck), and Max hurts his hand on a nail.

Ben picks up a visitor badge that one of the scholars drops. The specific access point that Ben places in Europol, claiming he’s a student who dropped his wallet, allows an unauthorized access into Europol. But the access point Ben has placed is also configured to capture and expose the IP of the person accessing it. So when MRX tries to access Europol via this backdoor, his identity would be revealed.

Unfortunately, MRX anticipates this. So for the chat where the Trojan is to be exchanged, MRX provides Ben with a specific access key. Ben unsuspectingly uses it only to be tricked and is exposed by MRX. MRX also grabs a snapshot of Ben’s face using the laptop webcam. Among many of the elements, the film shows us, this one is a little too far fetched as no hacker would leave their webcam unguarded.

What really happens to CLAY at the hotel?

Ben goes back to the hotel to tell the other claim members that he has been exposed. No, they are not dead, and he urges the rest to getaway. But they decide to stick together and get through this as a team. CLAY’s objective is to get Ben access to the Witness Protection Program to help him erase his identity from the files.

CLAY learn that Hanne has recently been suspended because of her failure to stop FR13NDS. CLAY use this to their benefit because they know how desperate Hanne will be to catch MRX and FR13NDS. With Marie’s help, they discover that people with mental illness can’t be part of the Witness Protection Program. Using this knowledge, CLAY come up with a plan. First, they place small misleading clues pointing to the possibility that Ben has Multiple Personality Disorder just like his mother. Then, they purposely puncture a nail wound into Ben’s hand for Hanne to find.

Who Am I: Explained: Ben’s Lie

This takes us to the beginning of the film, where Ben turns himself in, claiming he has info on MRX and FR13NDS. Ben lies, saying that when he went back to the hotel room, the rest of the CLAY members had been murdered, and he desperately came to Hanne. Ben gets Hanne to agree to put him on the Witness Protection Program if he helps her get to MRX and FR13NDS. She agrees. 

Ben narrates his falsified story and how it ended badly in the hotel room. After that, he gets access to a computer with which Ben mimics MRX in the dark web and circulates information that MRX is a double agent. It appears that the information that Krypton had given (in that encrypted file) allowed Ben to impersonate MRX on the darknet. The real MRX becomes furious and hacks into Ben’s conversation room using insecure methods. This is the trap Ben has set; MRX’s IP is disclosed, and the cops are deployed to his location. It turns out that MRX is a 19-year-old kid in New York and is arrested.

Who Am I: Explained: Hanne Gets Tricked

who am i hanne

Hanne falls for the fake clues that Ben has been dropping:

  • The bullets shells he hands her, claiming he found them in the hotel room where the CLAY members lay murdered, where actually his grandfathers and date back to the World War.
  • Marie was instructed by CLAY to act like she never met Ben, and when she talks to Hanne, Marie says Ben was just a freak in school and doesn’t know him otherwise.
  • The nail wound on Ben’s hand is something he narrates that Max got while trying to break and enter Europol.
  • The fact that Ben’s mother had Multiple Personality Disorder is discovered by Hanne when she talks to Ben’s doctor. Something that CLAY expects her to do.

All the clues left by CLAY and Ben are in such a manner that Hanne feels she is the one deducing that Ben has Multiple Personality Disorder.

As expected by CLAY, Hanne falls for the trap and declares that Ben has MPD and that he only imagined the rest of the CLAY members. And that, in reality, Ben was the only member of CLAY committing all the cyber crimes by himself. Ben’s supposed condition makes it impossible for Hanne to take him into the Witness Protection Program. Feeling sorry for Ben, Hanne allows him to access the Witness Protection Program for a short while. Ben succeeds in his objective and successfully deletes his identity altogether.

Hanne later drops off Ben allowing him to escape with the promise that he will stop hacking. She knows Ben is small fish, and nobody will be looking for him as long as they have FR13NDS and MRX.

Who Am I: Ending Explained: What do the sugar cubes mean?

The ending of Who Am I reveals that Ben tricked Hanne into thinking that he has Multiple Personality Disorder and was the sole member of CLAY. He uses Hanne’s trust to delete his identity, takes on a new one, and leaves town with Max, Stefan, Paul, and Marie.

Ben does this trick with four sugar cubes through the inquisition, where he hides three cubes in his hands and reveals only one. Then, just before leaving Hanne’s car, Ben explains the trick to her and says, “Everyone sees what they want to see”. The four cubes represent the four CLAY members. Ben’s trick hides three of the cubes and exposes only one. This is a subtle indication of what he actually did – he hid the other three CLAY members and revealed only himself. 

Ben never wanted to be in the Witness Protection Program; he only wanted to erase his identity altogether to get a clean start as he was exposed by MRX. As soon as Ben walks away, Hanne realizes what Ben meant to tell her from the four-cube trick. But she doesn’t bother going after him as her objective is fulfilled – she has MRX and FR13NDS. In a felicitation program organized for her, Hanne smiles to herself, acknowledging Ben’s craftiness.

 

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