Sympathy For The Devil Ending Explained: Who Was The Real Devil?

Sympathy For The Devil Ending Explained: Who Was The Real Devil?

With Yuval Adler as director, Sympathy For the Devil was released in the US on July 22nd, 2023. Starring Nicolas Cage and Joel Kinnaman in the main roles, this movie is predictable yet still entertaining, with a classic cat-and-mouse chase plot.

The storyline revolves around the Driver, a man named David Chamberlain, who ends up being approached by an aggressive passenger who holds him at gunpoint. David has no choice but to do as the passenger says, and they go on a long road trip that’s filled with revelations for both David and us as the audience.

Asides from Nicolas Cage as the passenger and Joel as David, the rest of the cast of Sympathy for the Devil includes Alexis Zollicoffer as the waitress, Cameron Lee Price in the role of the cop, Burns Burns plays the role of the diner owner, and Rich Hopkins stars as the trucker at the Diner. There aren’t many cast members since only Nicolas and Joel are seen in the majority of the film.

Sympathy For The Devil has received mixed reviews as although the acting from both of the main protagonists is applaudable; the plot fails to match their efforts. However, Nicolas Cage’s powerful performance throughout the film is what makes this quick thriller worth checking out.

Sympathy For The Devil Ending Explained
Nicolas Cage As The Passenger (Credits: RLJE Films)

Sympathy For The Devil: What Happens In The Film?

The movie begins with the driver, David Chamberlain, dropping off his young son at his grandmother’s house, as his mom is going to go into labor soon. David’s more worried about her and the baby’s health as Maggie, his wife’s first child, was a miscarriage.

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After reaching the hospital, we see that a random, red suit-wearing man enters David’s car and orders him to start driving. At first, David tries to let this red-haired guy know that he’s not an Uber.

However, he is soon threatened with a gun and realizes that he has no choice. The passenger starts asking David about his past and tells him to drop him off at Boulder City.

David tries to alert nearby people that he’s in danger and needs help, but all of his plans fail. He even speeds past a police car on purpose, but the passenger ends up shooting the officer in the head. Now that David has no means of escaping, he tries to comply with the passenger’s requests, as even his wife and kids are being threatened.

Sympathy For The Devil Ending Explained
The Passenger and David (Credits: RLJE Films)

The passenger tells him a story about a man called Jacob Sullivan, who was a really bad guy and had a lot of money. One of his workers was slyly using his money, so to catch him, they got ahold of the bookkeeper that was friends with this worker/associate. 

They ask him to call the associate for a party, and that’s where Jacob’s men show up and kill the traitor. However, the bookkeeper’s wife ends up becoming a witness to what happened and becomes a liability.

The bookkeeper decides to change towns, but when he is away, a guy named James Levine kills his family and burns his house down. We see hints of the passenger being the bookkeeper and claiming that David was James, but he keeps denying it.

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The passenger starts losing his mind when they arrive at the Roadhouse diner. He is extremely irritated by the way David supposedly keeps pretending to be a good person when in reality, the truth is something else. He handcuffs him to the table and threatens to kill a mother and a child if he doesn’t admit that he is not David.

While the passenger was gone for a short while, David called 911 and alerted them about a shooter in the diner. Soon, a suspenseful chase ensues between the passenger and David.

Sympathy For The Devil: Ending Explained 

After seeing the passenger threaten the innocent mom and child, David agrees that he is James but later starts denying it again. They chase each other and decide to get back in the car. Just as cops start following them, David decides to take the car into a construction zone, which causes it to overturn. 

The passenger ends up being trapped in the car while David is able to get out. He finally reveals that he is indeed James Levine and was sent to take care of the bookkeeper/passenger’s wife. James lived with the regret of what he did every single day. 

However, he had now taken up the identity of David Chamberlain and had left his criminal past behind. The passenger is relieved to see David admitting the truth but is furious at him for ruining his family. James chokes the passenger to death and admits that talking to him finally gave closure to his past.

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Sympathy For The Devil Ending Explained
James becomes David Chamberlain (Credits: RLJE Films)

The ending focuses on James’ rebirth as David and the passenger’s unfair demise without completing his final wish. Since his first child with Maggie had passed away, David felt he had already paid for taking the life of the passenger’s daughter. Right after killing the passenger, David gets a call from his wife, informing him that he was blessed with a daughter.

The police soon arrive at the scene, and although we don’t see what happens after that, David likely just puts the whole blame on the passenger.

This bookkeeper guy was a good person who just wanted to have a happy life with his family, but James ended up taking it all away. That’s why the guy was stalking David, looking for the perfect time to make him pay for his sins.

If David wouldn’t have fought back, it was likely that he would’ve gotten shot by the passenger when they reached Boulder City. It’s sad and unfair to see what happened to the Bookkeeper, but David is now a new person, and that’s what the title of the film implies, Sympathy For the Devil, who was David all along.

Despite being dressed in black and red, the passenger was only looking for revenge and wasn’t the real evil person here. David was the one in the wrong, as he tried to pretend he didn’t ruin an entire family and then proceeded to build his own with love and care.

The ending is very predictable, but both Nicolas Cage and Joel Kinnaman manage to bring such intensity to their roles that it could have been a hit film if the plot was right. 

Also Read: Deadly Dilf Ending Explained: What Happened to Elysium?

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