Written and directed by Fabian Medea, Netflix’s ‘Wild Is the Wind,’ is a crime-drama film set in a small, secluded town in southern Africa. When a young girl named Melissa is murdered, there’s civil unrest within the public as racial tensions become prominent. Two dirty cops, Vusi and John, who have ulterior motives, take up the case and try to find the perpetrator.
But as the investigation progresses, the public is triggered by multiple factors, and things take a darker turn. The film tackles sensitive issues such as racial discrimination, societal stigmas, corruption within law enforcement, and more. Here’s everything you need to know about the ending. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Wild Is the Wind Plot Synopsis
The movie begins with Vusi taking a bribe from an unknown man who is overspeeding and lets him go. However, he doesn’t realize an abducted woman is in the car’s trunk. Three years pass, and we see Vusi and John go on a drug bust, where they kill all the group members and retrieve a few kilos of cocaine. However, later, it is revealed the two cops are partners in crime who want to sell the illegal substance to a local drug cartel leader, Mongo.
Soon, the two characters talk to their spouses about financial stability, wherein Vusi tells his pregnant wife that he wants to lead a stable and decent life and give the baby everything it wants. On the other hand, John tells his wife they will be able to save their farm from being seized by the bank. Moreover, Vusi privately divulges to John he plans to move to Jo Burg (Johannesburg) with his wife after the deal with Mongo comes through.
Unfortunately, an Afrikaan girl named Melissa’s body is found, which leads to the rise of racial tension between the communities in the small town. Since she is the mayor’s niece, and the elections are approaching, he offers 250,000 Rand to anyone who solves the case. Naturally, Vusi and John take up the case, and as the narrative moves forward, two significant suspects come to light.
The first one is Melissa’s ex-boyfriend, Hennie, a white man with whom she had broken up due to his temper. The night she was murdered, he hit her after an altercation at the local bar. The police intimidate Hennie, but as it turns out, he isn’t the culprit. The second suspect is Mongo’s relative, Sonnyboy, a black man. He is Melissa’s current boyfriend and fought with Henrique at the bar. While the former says he didn’t commit the murder and points to someone who might have, Vusi and John don’t listen to him.
Meanwhile, Vusi’s deal goes through, yet Mongo takes it back because of his nephew’s arrest. Furthermore, John gets the final notice for his farm. Although Vusi gets another credible lead and pursues it, his partner decides to go ahead and make Sonnyboy sign a confession document without him realizing it, as he needs the money to save his farm.
When Sonnyboy is being taken to court, Melissa’s mother shoots him, and riots break out. In the meantime, Vusi continues to pursue his lead and reaches the house of a man called Wilhelm Jooste, where a fight results in the latter’s death. As the movie concludes open-endedly, the viewers have a few doubts.
Wild Is the Wind Ending: Who Is the Killer?
Wilhelm Jooste is the real killer, the same person Vusi takes a bribe from at the film’s beginning. He admits to killing several women, albeit the actual count is unknown. There are several solid hints for the audience to draw this conclusion before the movie confirms it. The first hint is at the film’s beginning- we see the killer drive away as he is exhilarated that the cop missed him.
The second clue is in the scene where Melissa and Wilhelm bump into each other at her father’s butcher shop. There’s a slow-motion shot of him staring at her necklace and then at her face in a seemingly malicious way. The forensic specialist gives a third clue, who tells Vusi and John that the strike pattern on Melissa’s body indicates the killer is right-handed. However, the person in their custody at the time, Sonnyboy, is left-handed.
Later, when Sonnyboy is in the interrogation room, he recalls everything that happened after he and Melissa left the bar. He narrates how a bakkie followed them, and though he insisted on staying with Melissa until she reached home, she dropped him and went ahead. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to convince the two cops. In the camera footage of the parking outside the bar, Vusi sees a bakkie, and Sonnyboy identifies it too. So, the cop follows the car to the person’s home and gets a hair sample from the vehicle.
Vusi gives this hair sample to the forensic officer, who compares it with the skin under Melissa’s nails, and gets a match. As it turns out, the murderer is Wilhelm Jooste, the same man Vusi let go of three years ago. He realizes this and goes to tell his partner John, but it’s too late. The latter gets Sonnyboy to sign a confession without his knowledge to gain the reward for solving the case, as it is the only way for him to save his farm. Hence, despite being aware of Sonnyboy’s innocence, John takes him to court, ignoring Vusi’s pleas.
At the court, Sonnyboy gets shot by Melissa’s mother, and riots between the Afrikaan and the black people. Unable to bear the injustice, Vusi goes to Wilhelm’s house and decides to fight him. During this, the culprit confesses to his crimes, and in a montage, it is revealed how he killed Melissa. The cop and the murderer get seriously injured, though, in the end, Vusi kills him.
Vusi then takes Wilhelm’s body to the town, yet by the time he reaches it, he realizes it’s too late. He sees the empty roads and a burning barrel and hears distant sounds of gunfire. He realizes the riots have gone out of hand. At the same time, he sees that he’s losing a lot of blood and passes out; the sound fades, and the movie ends. This way, it is confirmed Wilhelm is the killer, yet the audience is still left with a couple of questions.
Will Wilhelm Jooste Ever Be Revealed as the Real Killer?
Likely, the public will never know that Wilhelm Jootse is the killer. This is because the riots have already gone out of hand, and the city is in a hostile condition. The people have crossed the line beyond which normalcy cannot be restored. This is primarily because the clash between the communities is not just because of a single murder. Instead, Melissa’s death acts as a trigger that sets off a chain of events. In many ways, it simply reveals the fickle-minded nature of people and how deeply the issues of racial stereotypes are rooted in the public’s psyche.
Interestingly, the final song, ‘The Man Comin’ Around’ by Johnny Cash, sums up these facets of the film beautifully. Filled with biblical references, the song begins with a revelation verse from King James’ version of the Bible. It describes the apocalypse and the end of the world as we know it. The song likely symbolizes how the town’s civilian society is on its way to utter chaos and complete collapse, which also means that Wilhelm Jooste will never be revealed as the true culprit.
Does Vusi Die at the End of Wild Is the Wind?
Vusi most likely dies at the end of ‘Wild Is the Wind.’ When he fights with Wilhelm, the latter almost kills him, but his overconfidence and Vusi’s quick thinking save the cop. However, by the time Vusi reaches the town, he has lost sufficient blood. The sound fades as we listen to the gunfire shots and ambient noise, and Vusi’s eyes close. This indicates he is likely dead, and there’s nobody who can put an end to the riots.
Read More: Where Was Netflix’s Wild Is the Wind Filmed?