Netflix’s Buba follows the misadventures of Jakob Otto and his brother Dante who commit petty crimes to earn money. Due to a troubled upbringing, Jakob convinces himself that he needs to stay miserable otherwise bad luck will follow. However, a stint with an Albanian crime family gives him more perspective.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Buba opens by giving us a glimpse into the childhood of Jakob “Buba” Otto who spent most of his time with his younger brother Dante and their uptight grandma, Ingrid, as his parents were barely home.
Ingrid would often entertain the boys by narrating German fairly tales (that had mentions of gory punishments) and believed that every good experience results in a bad one after.
Jakob is initially not bothered by this theory but has a change of heart. He enters a break dancing competition to impress his crush Jule and ends up winning against an American kid (shown to be future Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio).
Jule kisses him and Jakob is ecstatic until he reaches home. Ingrid screams at him that he’s been having too much fun and as a result, his parents have died in a car crash and Dante is in a coma.
Jakob is distraught and drives himself up a guilty road. He believes that he needs to constantly be sad or in pain to make sure his loved ones don’t suffer. He destroys all his music and injures his hand with a hammer.
This brainwashing hits home when Dante recovers after Jakob”s self harm. However, the younger brother returns with a neurological condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome and starts speaking with an American accent.
He now also suffers from Progressive Muscular Dystrophy (forcing him walk with support), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Hypothyroidism, and mild PTSD. Therefore, to make sure Dante can enjoy his new life, Jakob vows to stay miserable forever.
Soon after, Ingrid passes away and the brothers turn to petty crime for making money. The plot flashes forward to the brothers, now adults, continuing to follow their small-time criminal lifestyle. Jakob uses a negativity journal in which he keeps a record of all desolate things he experiences.
Eventually, their illegal actions attract the attention of an Albanian mafia family and the brothers are called to meet the boss, Doro. They are warned to stop with their crimes in Doro’s jurisdiction or else the consequences will be severe.
Dante feels that they should work with the family but Jakob, knowing that it’s dangerous, refuses and the brothers move to a place called Lautershiem. There, Jakob works as a stunt man in a theme park which helps him constantly be in pain.
Things seem to be stable until Jakob runs into Jule after all these years. She is with her daughter, Maxine and Jakob is smitten by her again.
He then starts visiting her tattoo studio and gets her to ink him in places where it hurts the most. However, realising that he’s starting to feel happy again, Jakob agrees to Dante’s plan of working for the Albanian family.
Buba ending explained in detail:
Who are the Albanians?
The brothers head back to their old stomping grounds and become extortionists for the family. Their luck however turns sour when they accidentally beat up a guy who is protected by John.
It turns out, John is actually from an Albanian crime family and Doro’s family have been pretending to be one to build fear among the locals. Dante sees this as an opportunity and ignites a gang war between the real and fake Albanian mafia.
This is also where Jakob gets the name Buba by his fellow gang members. Buba is a mythological monster and the gangsters feel it goes perfectly with Jakob’s tendency to always accept pain and lock horns with people twice his size.
What is Dante’s plan?
Jakob comes clean to Dante about his meetings with Jule and the younger brother its furious. However, he comes up with a plan and reveals to Jakob that if he goes through an insane amount of suffering at once, he may be able to feel happy for a while without attracting misfortune.
Dante sends his brother to steal cocaine from the real Albanians. He manages to find it but runs into John, resulting in a physical altercation. Somehow, Jakob manages to kill him but is furious with Dante as he was supposed to be on the lookout for people.
The two get into a heated argument and Dante runs over his own brother but he survives owing to his stuntman abilities.
Jakob burns his journal and goes to meet Jule. He requests her to be his date for a wedding. However, when Jule gets to know that the party is being organised by the mafia, she refuses.
She tells Jakob that her husband was also involved with these crime families and died as a result. This is why she started a new life with Maxine. This leads to a dejected Jakob going to the wedding alone.
Dante crashes the wedding with armed men and blames John’s death on Doro, resulting in a stand-off. He wants the family to turn against Doro and agree to killing her, paving the way for him to become the king of the underworld.
What is Jule’s secret?
Meanwhile, we see Maxine constantly exchange messages with her mysterious boyfriend Alex throughout the film. He promises to help her escape the town.
Alex finally shows up and is revealed to be an Albanian gangster as well. He further mentions that the cocaine Jakob stole belonged to his father.
He enters the wedding with his henchmen and threatens everyone to return the drugs. This is when Jule shows up, kills Alex and everyone threatening the innocent, in a shocking turn of events.
Jakob’s monologue provides the necessary exposition. Jule was a sharpshooter for Alex’s father until he murdered her husband and she left this lifestyle behind.
What happens to Jakob and Dante?
As bodies are cleared out, Jakob and Jule reconcile but agree that they cannot be together. Jule and Maxine need to move again for their safety.
Jakob however sees the opportunity and beats the hell out of Dante. Jakob mentions that he knows his brother has been lying to him for over three decades as he found his pills (which are vitamin C tablets).
Dante admits that he can walk, doesn’t have the accent anymore and played along with the story because Jakob was so keen on buying into the superstition about bad luck.
Jakob lets him go but Dante has a gun in his hand and confesses that he used his brother for his impeccable luck. Jakob has always been the lucky one and Dante admits he was jealous of that.
He adds that they will go home and talk it out but shoots himself in the face as he waves the gun around. Jakob is mortified at what he’s just witnessed. The next day, Jule kisses Jakob goodbye and leaves with Maxine.
We then switch to the opening scene of the film five years later. Jakob lives alone and notices a group of young boys breaking into his stables.
He scares them easily and snatches a 3D printed gun from one of the boys’ hands. In a brilliant twist of fate, he accidentally shoots himself in the face just like his brother did and dies. The boys panic and run away.
The film ends with a voice over from Jakob explaining how only Disney has happy endings.