On The Line (2022) Ending Explained – What is the significance of the finale?

On The Line Plot Synopsis

Mel Gibson stars in On The Line, a twisty-turny thriller from writer-director Romuald Boulanger.

The Lethal Weapon actor takes on the role of Elvis Cooney, an arrogant and narcissistic radio talk show host who enjoys playing pranks on his colleagues. Early on in the movie, Elvis fires Dylan, a new intern at the radio station who has been hired as a producer on the shock jock’s late-night show, but it turns out that this firing is just another of Elvis’s pranks.

Dylan doesn’t see the funny side, of course, but rather than kick up a fuss and leave the station, he continues to work with his joker boss regardless.

The night takes a sinister turn when Elvis begins his show and a man named Gary calls in. This isn’t out of the ordinary – people regularly ring up the show to talk to their favourite radio host – but Gary isn’t unlike other callers.

After Mary, Elvis’s switchboard operator, puts Gary through, the talk show host is given some very alarming information. Gary tells Elvis that he has broken into his home after poisoning his guard dogs, and abducted his wife and daughter. He tells Elvis that he will harm his family if he is taken off air so the shock jock has to stay on the line to calm down the abductor and save the people that he loves so dearly.

So, why has Gary done this? And what is the significance of the way the movie concludes? Let’s take a closer look at this surprising new movie.

Why did Gary abduct Elvis’s family?

Before Mary was hired as Elvis’s switchboard operator, we learn that a woman named Lauren had the same role. She quit her job after being the butt of Elvis’s cruel jokes and so hurt was she, that Lauren later committed suicide.

Gary, who we discover works as a security guard at the radio station, was friends with Lauren and wants revenge on Elvis for what he did to her. To make Elvis suffer, he abducts his family and threatens to hurt them. He also forces Elvis to confess to an affair he had with Mary so his wife can be exposed to his marital lies.

Does Gary kill Elvis’s family?

Gary orders Elvis to climb to the top of the radio station building. He tells Elvis to jump off, with the warning that if he doesn’t, he will kill his wife and daughter.

Elvis fakes the jump and Dylan confirms his death to Gary. Unfortunately, Gary has a drone which has been circling the building, so he knows of their ruse. After Elvis hears two gunshots on the other end of the line, he thinks Gary has killed his family.

However, this isn’t the case at all as Gary later reveals they are still alive and being held by him somewhere in the radio station. Not only that but according to Gary, they have also been strapped to time bombs.

Elvis has only 40 minutes to find Gary and save his family before the bombs go off. With the help of the stressed-out Dylan, Elvis then makes his way through the radio building to find their location. During their search, they discover the dead body of Justin, another radio host, and make another gruesome discovery when they find the hanging body of one of the building’s security guards.

Do Elvis and Dylan find Gary?

Elvis and Dylan eventually find Gary in the radio room where he is holding a detonator. A call comes in from Bruce, a member of the LAPD SWAT team who tells Elvis that his wife and daughter are on the terrace with bomb vests strapped to their bodies. Gary agrees to save their lives if Dylan steps in to take their place. The brave intern agrees to this and the vests are deactivated by Gary and then brought down to Dylan, who then puts them on.

Bruce tries to convince Gary to surrender but his request fails and he is then shot dead by the madman.

Gary then drops the detonator, much to Dylan’s horror, but thankfully, he is not blown to bits.

Why? Because the bomb vest was fake! Not only that but everything else about the day had also been fake, as it had all been arranged by Elvis for another of his sick pranks. Everybody was in on it except Dylan, who genuinely thought his life, and the lives of Elvis’s family were in danger!

Who gets the last laugh?

Understandably, Dylan isn’t happy with Elvis, or the people who contributed to the prank. He is even less happy when Elvis tells his listeners about the events that have just unfolded.

But then Elvis’s joke backfires. The distressed Dylan leaves the room and on his way down the stairs, he trips and snaps his neck in the fall. Elvis is witness to this tragedy and shocked by this turn of events, he decides to quit his job.

The next day, Elvis plans to go to the police to hand himself in. His wife picks him up in a cab and blames him (and his tendency to play sick pranks) for Dylan’s death.

But he is in for a surprise, as are we. The cab driver turns around and we see that it is Dylan at the wheel. His name is actually Max and he is a stuntman. The crew hired him to play a prank on Elvis, so while the master prankster thought he was in control of the joke at the supposed intern’s expense, it was actually his crew who were playing a joke on him.

What is the significance of the movie’s finale?

The joke may have been on Elvis but it was on us as well. At the beginning of the movie, we learned of Elvis’s affinity for pranks and we saw him pretend to fire Dylan. We later discovered Lauren had killed herself because of his cruel jokes at her expense and we saw Dylan ‘die’ as a consequence of the abduction prank that Elvis thought he had full control over.

If you weren’t aware of the movie’s ending before watching, you were no doubt taken in by the events that took place. They certainly seemed very real but in the end, we were tricked into believing events that never really happened.

Did you appreciate the prank the filmmakers played on us? Did you find it as cruel as one of Elvis’s jokes? Did you figure out what was going on before Elvis did? Let us know in the comments below.


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2 thoughts on “On The Line (2022) Ending Explained – What is the significance of the finale?”

  1. Hi Raul, I agree. In fact, the majority of the movie was implausible, in my opinion. I remember when Mel Gibson’s name on a movie was an assurance of quality. Here’s hoping he starts making better movies soon.


  2. The ending of this film has a HUGE flaw. The stuntman pranking Mel Gibson is an impossible TOTALLY ILOGICAL twist!!!

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