*Warning: Spoilers for The Night Clerk ahead.*
In The Night Clerk, Bart Bromley (Tye Sheridan) is a graveyard-shift hotel clerk at the Mercer Hotel. Bart also happens to have Asperger’s, but that doesn’t stop him from loving his job and the opportunities it affords him to practice everyday conversations with the guests.
However, Bart soon becomes involved in a murder investigation as one of its prime suspects. While he knows what actually happened and who the real killer is, revealing the truth also means revealing a dark secret about himself that will no doubt place him under greater scrutiny with the police.
There are a lot of subsequent twists and turns, so many that you may lose track of the ending and find yourself asking, did Bart die at the end of The Night Clerk?
Keep scrolling to find out…
What is 'The Night Clerk' about?
Bart is a young man with Asperger’s who works the night-shift at the Mercer Hotel. Early on in the movie, audiences discover that Bart, perhaps misguidedly, had placed five hidden cameras inside one of the rooms in the hotel.
But unlike the famous Hitchcockian motel owner and peeping tom Norman Bates, Bart only watches the footage to study human behavior and improve his own social awkwardness.
That said, things take a turn when Bart watches a woman being murdered in the room and rushes over with the intention to help her. Bart only arrives to hear the sound of a gunshot and upon being discovered over the dead body, he becomes the prime suspect in her death.
While the investigation is ongoing, Bart gets tangled up with Andrea (Ana de Armas), who flirts her way into a free room at the hotel and later shares a kiss with Bart.
However, Bart later sees Andrea (through his hidden cameras) and the real killer in her hotel room. When the man starts to beat Andrea the same way he beat the other woman before shooting her, Bart rushes over to the room to save Andrea.
By the time he gets there, the man, Nick, is gone. Andrea asks Bart how he knew what was happening and he winds up revealing his secret camera operation to her, taking her home to show her everything he knows about the murder.
They fall asleep together in his room, but when Bart wakes up the next day Andrea is gone along with the tape that proves that Nick had killed the woman, who also happens to be his wife.
It appears at this point that Andrea always knew that Nick was the murderer and had been playing Bart all along. As he begins to re-watch Andrea’s tape, there’s an off-camera gunshot.
When the police arrive, Bart’s mother is in a frenzy thinking that he’s shot himself, but when they get through the bedroom door, they discover Bart is gone. In order to clear his own name, Bart leaves a letter to the detective along with the original copies of the tape.
In the final scene, audiences see Bart in a mall trying to make conversation with people, but no one responds. This is where most audiences have been asking, wait, did Bart die?
Is Bart dead?
No, Bart didn’t shoot himself as is clear from the scene at the mall. The gunshot audiences heard was Bart shooting one of his video monitors when he was re-watching his tapes.
Although the movie doesn’t explicitly explain it, in all probability, Bart realized that without his tapes, the police would never believe his side of the story. On top of that, he also must have realized that Andrea was playing him all along. For Bart, the only option left is to exonerate himself by revealing his dark secret.
The final scene in the mall shows that Bart has come a long way from his surveillance days. Now that he understands the ethical and legal implications of his hidden camera system, he understands that it cannot continue.
The only way to improve his social skills is to get out in the world and talk to people. So he does what any sociable young man might do: hang out at the mall.