spotted-owl, I think your take on the ending is spot-on! However, I have an additional observation.
The ending (her in the fishing boat - older, sadder, wiser, etc etc) seems rushed and unfinished, I think in part, because it has happened so abruptly and Immediately After the swamp scene, where she is holding the dead boyfriend in her arms, not far from where her dead brother is just under water... with the marks in the mud where he slid when she pushed him in, literally under her boot heel. (Powerful!)
But in the final narration of the older, wiser Ruby in the fishing boat, Absolutely Nothing is said about all that swamp Crime! True, they would not want to drag everything out into a courtroom drama, or anything...
But - not one word?
All they would have had to say is something like, "The evidence supported Ruby's statements that the killing of her brother was in self defense. And like the earlier death of her husband in the sailboat, there were no witnesses. So in the end, the sheriff (or whoever) had to believe her, even if nobody else did... but what could anybody do about it?" etc etc... and Then on to what they Did say.
That would have taken all of 5 to 10 seconds, and it would have made a segue into the end (which was a continuation of the beginning, as spotted-owl pointed out).
This Still would not have addressed the fact that she interfered with the Crime Scene (by sliding her bro into the drink, and maybe even by moving Chuck's bod... altho it could be argued, there, that she was at least trying to see if there was still life in him).
At least, imho, something like that would have wrapped it up better, without jolting us back into the present and not being able to Think fast enough to make that transition, before the ending credits roll. Just a thot.
Hi cada123, thank you for your posting. I just posted my film review, which is titled “the vamp of the swamp.“
(Spoilers ahead) I agree that there should have been some reference to a police investigation of the deaths of Boake and Ruby’s brother.
The townspeople considered Ruby to be a “dangerous beauty,” because of her sultry allure, independent spirit, and new wealth. As a result, Ruby was “declawed.” Her wild spirit and glamorous allure was destroyed, and she became an androgynous recluse.
I would have preferred an ending in which Ruby’s personality and glamor were not completely destroyed. She could have returned to her independent life in the wilderness, with a pet dog to help her hunt and fish. Ruby could make amends by financially compensating the businesses she foreclosed. The final scene would be a long shot of Ruby walking alone with her dog in the vast, beautiful wilderness.
spotted owl, I enjoyed reading your review.
It certainly would have been a nicer movie, if it had ended the way you suggest.
However, I think that a lot of movies made at this time were very dark, and did not have nicely wrapped up happy endings. Your description of her as"declawed" is especially apt.