Poolman (2024) Ending Explained – What truth does Darren uncover?

Plot Summary

Chris Pine stars as Darren Barrenman, a hapless dreamer who spends his days looking after the pool of the Tahitian Tike apartment block in LA.

When Darren’s not tending to the pool, he writes letters to Erin Brockovich (to make himself feel less alone) and battles with his local council to ensure a better community for himself and the people in his neighbourhood. 

After one particularly heated argument at city hall, Darren gets a visit from June Del Ray, a woman who works for Councilman Stephen Toronkowski. She believes her boss is trying to orchestrate a shady deal with a real estate developer named Teddy Hollandaise so asks Darren to investigate the matter. 

Darren turns detective and looks into the councilman’s corrupt scheme. But in the process, discovers he’s not the bad man June painted him out to be.

In this ending explained article, we ask the question: What truth does Darren uncover at the end of the film?

Why does Darren turn detective?

Darren’s not a detective – he’s a poolman – but as he cares for his neighbourhood, he decides to investigate June’s claims that her boss is up to no good.

The fact that June bailed him out of jail after he got into a fight at City Hall is another reason why he’s quick to offer his services to her. 

 For reasons that are never abundantly made clear (something you need to get used to), Darren is the subject of a documentary by a guy named Jack, the romantic partner of Diane, Darren’s therapist.

Jack and Diane join Darren in his investigation, as does Susan, Darren’s lover, and Wayne, Darren’s friend, who is also sleeping with Susan (much to Darren’s disgust). 

Darren and his team follow the councilman and take pictures of him and Teddy exchanging briefcases. Later, Darren takes the photos to Teddy’s office but the real estate guy denies he’s a part of anything shady. While in the building, Darren also meets a businessman named William Van Patterson, who offers Darren some delicious almonds (a moment that later has significance).

What does Darren find out about Stephen Toronkowski?

Teddy tracks the councilman to a bar and makes the surprise discovery that he is a cross-dressing cabaret performer who acts out scenes as Blanche from the Golden Girls television show.

This isn’t the only thing Darren discovers about him. When he confronts Stephen in his dressing room, the man tells Darren that he was involved in the corrupt real estate scheme but backed out when he knew it would be bad for the city.

Just before the councilman reveals information about who might be involved in corrupt shenanigans, the door to the dressing room opens and somebody shoots and kills him. The gun is then thrown to Darren who becomes murder suspect #1 when he gets his fingerprints all over the weapon.

What truth does Darren uncover?

Darren flees from the bar, escapes police capture and returns to his apartment building. A short while later, he checks out Jack’s camera footage and notices something that indicates William has been stealing water from underground. This explains why the neighbourhood has been experiencing a drought. 

The reason for William stealing water isn’t properly given so you can be forgiven for feeling confused. This is just one of the plot points in Poolman that is given no explanation, adding to the jumbled narrative that makes no sense.

Anyway, I digress! As the film rambles onto its conclusion, Darren discovers June and William set him up for the murder of the councilman. He realises this when he sees a picture of June and William together, indicating that they are lovers. 

Darren heads to William’s home and arrives just in time to see the crook in the process of smothering his wife with a pillow. June is watching her lover commit the act and is startled when Darren arrives on the scene to confront them. 

William was trying to kill his wife because he wanted to inherit her almond farm. Presumably, this was why he also wanted the water. Who knows!

Anyway, just before William kills Darren, the police storm in, headed by Wayne who turns out to be an undercover FBI agent (it’s best not to look for plot logic). June and William are arrested and Darren is free to live another day!

At the end of the film, Darren is offered a job opportunity at City Hall. However, he declines the offer as he likes his job as a poolman. This part of the film is baffling – if he wants to protect his neighbourhood, why didn’t he take up a job that would allow him to do it?

It’s best not to think too hard about it though, as Poolman clearly isn’t a film that values logic or plot coherency!


Read More: Poolman – Movie Review 

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