Netflix’s ‘Athena’ is a French drama movie directed by Romain Gavras. It is the story of violence in a Paris suburb following the tragic murder of a 13 year-old boy. As the community rebels to seek justice for the victim, the three elder brothers of the boy’s family face unique dilemmas while they hunt for the perpetrators. The brothers are divided by ideologies and make their own decisions, which can lead to disastrous and tragic consequences. If you are wondering about the brothers’ fates and the killers’ identity in ‘Athena,’ here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS BEFORE!
Athena Plot Synopsis
‘Athena’ opens in the aftermath of the death of Idir, a Muslim boy from a suburb in Paris. His death causes a revolt within the local community. Tensions begin to escalate violently. Idir’s older brother, Abdel, is a decorated soldier in the military. He tries to handle the situation with diplomacy and entrusts the investigation of his brother’s death to the authorities. However, the police themselves are suspects in Idir’s murder which is the primary cause of rage among the community.
Meanwhile, Idir’s other brother, Karim, leads a group of rebels during the protests and steals weapons from the police using Molotov cocktail bombs. The rebels hide in the Athena Estate with guns and display an extremist reaction to Idir’s death. Karim, a local dealer in drugs, seeks the help of his elder brother Mokhtar. Mokhtar, however, is only interested in his drug operations and refuses take a stance. Abdel is responsible for the evacuation of residents from a local municipal hall. His mother is unaware of Karim’s whereabouts and requests Abdel to protect his brother.
According to a television news report, Idir was beaten and bludgeoned by police officers. This led to his death. Police investigations suggest that Idir may have been assaulted by and was not arrested by real police officers. They are part of a small far right group at the heart of chaos in Athena’s council estate. Karim and his rebels have taken Jerome, a policeman, hostage. The rebels want Jerome in exchange for the officers who murdered Idir. Abdel offered to negotiate with Karim, but he was asked by the police to stop. Abdel is threatened with arrest if she refuses to follow police orders.
Abdel nonetheless enters Athena to try to resolve the conflict by talking to Karim. Abdel and Karim get into a fight, and Abdel takes the opportunity to flee with Jerome. Abdel is pursued by the police and rebels, so he turns to Mokhtar. Mokhtar offers shelter, but reluctantly. In the process, Mokhtar reveals that he is Abdel’s half-brother. Abdel makes contact with the police to offer to give Jerome back to clear his name. Karim and his rebels appear on the scene in front of the police, causing a bloody fight. The drastic turn of events leads to Abdel siding with the rebels and fighting for justice for Idir’s death.
Athena Ending – Why Does Abdel Join The Rebels? Is Abdel Dead?
Karim and his rebel group try to seize Jerome during the hand-off with police. Kaim refuses Abdel to escort Jerome towards the police. Karim’s group starts a violent attack, and they threaten to take down the place with their Molotov cocktail bombs. After the police refuse to comply with Karim and his group’s demands, they continue to pursue the mission to free Jerome. Karim resorts to a Molotov Cocktail Bomb as a means of escaping. Karim is then shot and the bomb explodes.
Abdel is deeply affected by Karim’s death in the explosion. An older brother is grieved at the loss and begins to question his moral compass. Karim’s death helps Abdel see the immorality within law enforcement, and the trauma of Idir’s death strikes him. As a result, Abdel decides that he must fight to get justice for his brothers, Idir, and Karim’s deaths. Abdel joins the rebels and takes over from Karim. Abdel’s change of allegiance is an indication of the anarchy unfolding in Athena estate and underlines the distrust the community feels toward law authorities.
Jerome is refused to be released after Abdel takes over the rebels. He demands that the police hand over Idir’s killers before he sets Jerome free. Abdel discovers that the killers were members of a far right group, and not police officers during negotiations with police. Abdel doesn’t believe them, and threatens Jerome to kill if they don’t comply. Sebastian, one rebel, plans to bomb the building in which Abdel and rebels are hiding together with Jerome.
Abdel soon realizes that his plan won’t work and the police arrive. Abdel then allows Jerome to go, and he stays in the building when it explodes. Abdel loses his moral sense and cannot get justice for his brothers. With his plan failing, Abdel decides to die with his brothers, leading to a tragic end to the family’s conflict. Abdel’s death signifies the failure of the law authorities and highlights the discrepancies in law and order. Abdel is an honorable military officer who is eventually sucked into the chaos and anarchy of the socio-political disputes.
How did Idir die? Who Killed Him
Idir’s death kick-starts the film’s events and remains a mystery throughout the story. The Athena estate’s local community reacts violently to his death. The film’s final moments finally shed some light on Idir’s death. Idir is being beaten by a group police officers. After beating the boy, the officers abandon him to his fate. Later, we see the police officers removing their uniforms from the young boy and burning them. This scene suggests that the people weren’t officers as the police suspected.
Furthermore, as the men leave the scene, a tattoo on their necks confirms that they are a part of the far-right group suspected of being behind Idir’s death. Thus, the film’s climax proves that Idir’s death resulted from a hate crime against the community. Although the film doesn’t detail the conflict in the local community, Athena Estate’s anarchic state is reminiscent modern socio-political disputes around the world and France regarding the Muslim community.
The film’s ending confirms the reason behind Idir’s death is the hate seminating within the country stemming from political issues. However, Idir’s death is merely the inciting incident that leads the community to erupt into violence. Tension is already high and could increase further by far-right groups that propagate hate and manipulate events to cause discord among citizens. The film makes a social comment on the state and conflicts between law enforcement officers and citizens. The film also doesn’t reveal the source of high tension at the Athena estate. This creates an unsettling and frightening representation of the worst possible turn humanity can take without trust.
Read More: Where Was Netflix’s Athena Filmed?