How Rupert “Murders” Brandon & Phillip in the Final Scene of Rope.
Hitchcock attempting to make a seemingly “one-shot” film was a bold experiment in his era of cinema. Nearly all the cuts in the film’s camera roll were concealed (with the exception of a few open shots). Just like these camera cuts, the main characters are attempting to be hidden in plain sight.
The entire film takes place within Brandon and Phillip’s penthouse apartment. They feel a sense of safety and are confident they can get away with murder, even when they invite friends and colleagues over just a few hours later!
The one guest who threatens their security is Rupert, who is equally fascinated with murder and the “art” behind it. Upon discovering Brandon and Phillip’s crimes, however, Rupert is horrified. Rupert realizes the two men have taken his theories about murder and applied it by killing their friend, David.
Rupert realizes the error of his ways; He scolds Brandon and Phillip for committing a heartless, thoughtless act in the name of “logic & intellectual superiority”.
Rupert remarks to Brandon “It’s not what I’m going to do, it’s what society’s going to do … You’re going to die!” In this final monologue, Rupert realizes murder is not what academia should be praising and analyzing. Alternately, Rupert understands that morally bankrupt and inferior members of society must face justice.
When Rupert fires shots out the apartment window, he is figuratively killing Brandon and Phillip. He ends their lives as free men and breaks the feeling of security they have been hiding under. Ultimately, Rupert does participate in the art and experimentation behind murder. Rather than committing the deed, however, Rupert is the one who solves the mystery.