‘The Takeover’ is based on Mel Bandison, an ethical hacker who is framed for murder and must clear her name. The Dutch action-crime film is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Years before the events of the film, Buddy Benschot, a hacker, helps the officials of an air base figure out who is hacking their system. He tracks the hacker’s location; they have been operating from Spijkenisse.
It turns out to be just a young girl named Mel Bandison working all alone. She tells Buddy that she hacked the airbase to prevent the noise emitted by the jets from chasing away the seals.
10 years later, Mel has become a specialist in certifications for technology. She is asked to pass a self-driving bus for a company named Rotramax.
However, she finds that someone has been accessing the data from the bus. To prevent this, she sends a trojan horse to the other side.
After this, she goes on a date with a guy named Thomas Deen, but leaves early as they don’t hit it off. She then plans a hack with her friends to stop someone from dumping four tons of toxic waste in a river.
Suddenly, she finds mysterious men chasing her. Dries Daoudi, from the police, also confronts her and tries to get information. His team finds evidence of the trademark middle finger she sends with the trojan.
She makes a run for it, now escaping the men chasing her as well as the police. To hide, she finds Thomas again and takes refuge in his house. She attempts to figure out why the men are chasing her, but they reach Thomas’ house.
They make an escape together. To their shock, a video is circulating on TV that shows Mel shooting someone dead. She claims that it isn’t her and that the video is deepfake. Thomas says he believes her, but remains skeptical.
Daoudi traces Mel’s steps and reaches the CEO of Rotramax, which is on the verge of launching the self-driving bus. She claims Mel was just checking a bug and that their partners who handle the software, Xiao Ming, have assured them it’s nothing big.
Rogers, a man who works for the clients that are responsible for the deep fake, calls Mel to threaten her and retract the trojan.
Daoudi starts to realise something is wrong when he figures out that the person killed in the video was a criminal put in a suit. A new ID was created for him as well.
To help her in this dire situation, Mel calls Buddy. However, she does not believe he will come. She reveals to Thomas what happened in the past.
After the incident at the start of the film, Mel and Buddy became hacking partners. They used to find criminal hackers and hand them to the police.
But Buddy had been lying to her. Instead of returning the money to the victims, he kept all of it himself. Mel turned him in to Interpol because of this but he escaped and hasn’t been tracked to this day.
To her surprise, he shows up. The two work together to figure out the real culprit behind this.
The Takeover ending explained in detail:
Who is responsible for framing Mel?
Buddy figures out that Rotramax has been partners with the Chinese company, Xiao Ming, for a long time. Xiao Ming is a company that specialises in facial recognition software. In fact, Mel herself cleared the certification for their software.
It turns out that Xiao Ming and the hackers that Mel shut down for taking data from the buses work for the same company. She inadvertently shut down a huge Chinese company when she sent out the trojan horse, which is why they are after her.
Mel also remembers that her face was scanned by the bus. This is how Xiao Ming received the data it needed to create the realistic deep fake video of her killing someone.
Is Buddy Dead or alive?
Following this revelation, Mel decides to clear her name by accessing the scan on the bus to prove that she has been framed. It is possible if she gets access to the code.
However, men from the Chinese company follow her to Buddy’s base. He tells Mel and Thomas to leave as he attempts to eliminate any trace of what they were doing.
He is successful but unable to escape himself. Rogers arrives and asks him Mel’s location at gunpoint. He refuses to answer and even makes fun of him.
Furious by this, Rogers shoots him in the head. Mel and Thomas can only look on and she loses her long-time friend.
Does Mel clear her name?
Mel is left distraught by Buddy’s death. As she vents, Thomas decides to re-activate his cell phone and tell Daoudi their location, as he believes that only the police can help them now.
When he tells Mel this, she is furious and leaves. Thomas asks Daoudi to stop Rogers but he wants to find Mel first.
Mel reaches the servers of Rotramax. Rogers finds her and holds her at gunpoint, asking her to retract the trojan horse.
She manages to create a diversion and escape. Rogers shoots a server in anger, due to which the self-driving bus that is being launched spirals out of control.
The police arrive and capture Rogers. Daoudi wants to arrest Mel, but she tells him that only she can stop the bus now.
She asks her hacker friends for help. But they need someone to enter the bus. Just then, Dean calls her from Buddy’s phone. He is also in his car.
She asks him to enter the bus with hardware that belonged to Buddy. Thomas does this, and Mel is able to use her genius mind to stop the bus by gaining entry to the access point.
With access to the code, she proves to Daoudi that the video was a deep fake, clearing her name. She forgives Thomas for calling the police after his heroic effort.
What message did Buddy leave behind?
Later, she received a planned message from Buddy. He had programmed the video to go out if didn’t log in for three days, to ensure it goes out after his death.
Although he felt ‘betrayed’ by Mel, he did spend all the money they got from the criminals. He saved some to create a computer network for Mel.
Now she can move on to bigger things in life with the best technology possible. Mel is delighted by this. It is also hinted that the whole incident brought her and Thomas closer romantically and they are now together.