Awake: Netflix Original ^ Ending Explained

What would happen to us, the humankind, if we suddenly lost our ability to sleep? With that simple question, director Mark Raso (Kodachrome, Copenhagen) establish Awake, the most recent Netflix bet on apocalyptical thrillers on the vibe of Bird Box or The Silence.

Now, if in the midst of the chaos, the military, family conflicts, and sleep disorders, you have been left with some question, doubt or concern about the film, do not worry, because right now and without further ado we will jump to the Analysis and Explanation of… Awake (2021, so you don’t confuse this movie with the zillion other movies than share the same title).

1 ^ Does Awake (2021) have post-credits scenes?

Given the film’s somewhat ambiguous ending, maybe we might think the director was careful to include an explanatory scene after the credits, right? Well the truth is no. Awake: Disomnia has no post-credits scenes, so if you want to fully understand the film you need to gather all the clues we can find throughout its 96-minute run. And of course, keep reading this article.

2 ^ Why can’t people sleep in Awake?

The first seconds of the film show us a close-up of a starry night sky, without any clouds, a shot that appears in several later scenes, such as when Jill (Gina Rodriguez – Jane, The Virgin) realizes that Noah (Lucius Hoyos) is still awake, and then again the night Dodge (Shamier Anderson) takes the family to the hub where Murphy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is working on a cure.

These shots are an indication that the cause of the insomnia plague is in outer space. Murphy even points out to Jill that there is a theory that it is solar radiation that created the disorder. Human beings are biochemical machines that run on fuel (oxygen) and that communicate all its parts through electricity and fluid movement. Electricity in humans is so essential that when the body loses the elements that transmit it, such as potassium, lethal pathologies can easily emerge.

Now, the fact that the radiation comes from space does not necessarily mean that it is accidental. For this I have two theories: the first, that what we saw in the film is the first phase of an alien invasion that used a weapon as simple and simple as an electromagnetic pulse that melted at the same time human technology and its ability to sleep. And the second, that it is a weapon, which was used to deprive the people in a specific region of the world of their ability to sleep. The question remains whether the effect is global, or simply limited to the United States. If there is a sequel to this movie, maybe we can have an answer or two about these issues.

3 ^ Why does Noah hate Jill?

To understand why Noah hates Jill so much, we must collect the clues of how that family was formed. According to Jill, she became pregnant with Noah, as a teenager, she and Noah’s father did marry, but because they were financially limited, they both enlisted in the military.

In her time in what appears to be serving in Afghanistan or Iraq, Jill worked with Murphy in interrogation of prisoners, while her husband died in service. These traumatic events generated post-traumatic stress (PTSD) in Jill, to the point that she could only sleep using pills. The problem is that she later became addicted to these pills, and most likely she was caught stealing these highly regulated medicines at work, so the judge ruled that Noah and Matilda (Ariana Greenblatt) should remain under the tutelage of Doris (Frances Fisher).

The reason Noah hates Jill, or at least doesn’t like her very much, is that he blames her for leaving them alone when they needed her most, just when they had lost their father.

4 ^ What happens to the human body if we cannot sleep?

According to the Everyday Health portal, the damage suffered by the human body when it is deprived of sleep is gradual:

24 hours without sleep: The body reaches a level similar to that of a 0.10 alcohol intoxication. Judgment is clouded, there are memory issues, impaired decision-making ability, and loss of coordination between sight and extremities. There is emotional susceptibility, loss of attention and hearing, which increases the risk of dying in an accident.

36 hours without sleep : The symptoms listed above worsen, and markers of inflammation begin to appear throughout the body, which affects the cardiovascular system, and the endocrine system, so that the normal functioning of the organs begins to be affected .

48 hours without sleep: This is where there are differences with the film. When the human body is exposed to 48 without sleep it begins to fall into microsleep, this causes the brain to shut down momentarily trying to find a balance. However, in the film the micro-dreams do not appear so all the aforementioned symptoms worsen, including an exponential increase in disorientation.

72 hours without sleep: Multisystem failure begins to affect the brain, to the point where hallucinations begin to appear.

96 hours without sleep : catastrophic failure of all body functions, heart failure, irreversible multi-system damage. Death.

5 ^ What exactly is the sleep disorder in Awake?

Now, as we saw, the sleep disorder that we see in the film is not exactly like the one that is documented in any health portal you might find. The electromagnetic radiation that causes this disorder keeps the brain constantly on alert, and only shuts down when the individual dies. That is why there are no states of unconsciousness, even when someone is seriously injured.

When someone receives a traumatic injury or loss of blood, or a strong emotion, in general, loss of consciousness occurs in response to a loss of pressure in the pumping of blood that causes the brain to shut down as a preventive measure against a decrease in blood pressure. With a more limited flow of oxygen to the brain, it tries to keep online the functions we do not control such as breathing, the endocrine system, and so on.

But in the film, the brain cannot turn off momentarily and perhaps that is why the other symptoms worsen brutally, because the brain perhaps begins to turn off other areas in order to keep the individual awake.

6 ^ What is the cure for sleep disorder in Awake?

As we suspected at the beginning of the film, and then confirmed at the very end, the way in which the malfunction of the brain can be reversed is to momentarily stop vital functions, and reactivate them again. Matilda did indeed stop breathing for a minute, before the cops brought her back. Noah stopped breathing when in the middle of his disorientation he hooked up to a bare electrical current wire and was then brought back with a defibrillator.

The woman they had in the military installations stated that it was not the first time and she must have been dead, so it is inferred that at some point after the electromagnetic pulse she suffered a cardiac arrest and then was brought back.

7 ^ Why does the disorder seem to affect some faster than others?

Throughout the film we see how while a few hours after the event, many people already showed considerable signs of deterioration, Jill, and her family, and then Dodge showed a relatively stable state. Why?

In Noah’s case, the ultimate key factor is age. A teenager’s body is much more resistant to the effects of sleep deprivation than an adult. In Dodge’s case, he claims that he generally slept only two to three hours a night, so his body is used to some loss of sleep. And in the case of Jill, who suffered for a long time from sleep disorders, her body also has some adaptation to those symptoms.

8 ^ What does the final scene of Awake mean? Is Jill alive or is she dead?

In the end, after Matilda realizes the connection that exists between the momentary deaths of her and her brother, with their ability to sleep, they decide that to save Jill, they must do the same, literally kill her and then bring her back to life.

The movie is deliberately ambiguous in this regard, and we only hear a gasp at the end before the screen goes dark. Does this mean that Jill is alive? The answer is yes. In fact, this scene is very similar to the scene where the car falls into a lake at the beginning of the movie, and in both, Jill ends up taking a deep breath. Which implies that – these scenes being a reflection of the other – Jill did indeed survive.

Now, just like Noah, Jill needs a long break to start normalizing her bodily functions assuming some of them have not been irreversible.

9 ^ What is Awake’s message?

The premise of the film is to ask ourselves if we would put someone we love at risk for the sake of many more people. Many of us would not hesitate for a second to hand over a stranger if doing that could save millions of lives, but we would not think the same if it were a son, a daughter, or a brother, or our mother who was at risk.

Jill decides very early in the film that she is not going to put her daughter at risk, even if it means that she has no idea how to cure the disorder, she simply makes the trip to the facility hoping to free the sleeping woman, and that together with Matilda they can start a new life in that new world, in fact everything Jill teaches Matilda is with that goal in mind. Jill never thought of putting her daughter at risk.

However, Noah and Dodge did think that way, they both believe that Matilda can help them and the others to sleep, which is their only way out of almost certain death. And to avoid a mass extinction event.

What would you have done instead of Jill or Noah? I will read your answer in the comments.

Questions? Annotations? More doubts? The comments section is open just below this post so feel free to use it. See you in the next installment of Ending Explained here at El Sabanero X.

Outside the Wire | Movie Explained

Directed by Mikael Håfström (Rite , Escape Plan) and starring Anthony Mackie, and the rather unknown Damson Idris (Black Mirror) – Outside the Wire mixes some science fiction, with war genre and a good dose of technological suspense.

Now, if in the midst of futuristic border conflicts, state-of-the-art robots and the characters betrayals and ulterior motives you are still wondering what was going on, do not worry. It is time for Outside the Wire: Explained.

1 | Where and when do the events of the film take place?

Outside the Wire takes place in 2036, in the midst of a conflict in Eastern Europe involving Russia, Ukraine, and of course the United States.

2 | What is the war in the movie all about?

In the context of the film, a group of Ukrainian fanatics called the Krasnys aim to integrate Ukraine with Russia, as in the old days of the Soviet Union. Of course, a good part of the Ukrainians does not agree with such an idea, and they have formed a resistance.

The war between the Krasnys and the resistance has been intervened by the UN, trying to mediate with the creation of a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), but the UN left, and the only actor that remained there supposedly on a peace mission was the United States.

Now, something important to note here is that the Krasnys are supported by Russia, and the Resistance, while taking advantage of the help provided by the United States, believes that this presence prevents them from reaching some kind of agreement with the Krasnys. Hence, peace.

3 | Who is Viktor Koval and what is his goal?

Viktor Koval (Pilou Asbæk) is the leader of the Krasnys and his goal is to gain access to Perimeter, a Russian defense system that literally was built to launch a massive nuclear attack against any hostile country to the Soviet Union.

Koval does not really want to join Russia, but to become a nuclear power himself and revive the Soviet Union but under its command.

4 | What is really Leo?

Leo is a state-of-the-art android, capable of having emotions and empathy for human beings, so within his programming he is allowed to feel pain. In 2036 the idea of ​​having robotic soldiers is already a reality with the inclusion in war tasks of the so-called Gumps, rather elemental robots, but with Leo a gigantic leap is taken, since it allows to have a machine with a high level of resistance and strength, capable of generating strategies at quantum speed.

5 | What is Leo’s plan? Why did he bring Harp to work with him?

Within his first-rate analysis, Leo realized that his very existence, that of a prototype of a robotic super soldier, would make the United States, once again, an unparalleled military power, which would make other countries, such as Russia, very nervous to the point to do anything to keep up, as they did with the Atomic Bomb, and thus generate – again – tensions and satellite wars, in the style of the Cold War, with the burden of dead, displaced and orphans that this entails.

In order to force the United States to leave the program, it occurs to Leo that he becomes a threat, but he knows he needs someone who plays the hero to his villain façade. Leo manages to convince Harp that he wants the Perimeter nuclear codes to exterminate the United States and thus prevent it from continuing to intervene in conflicts, which instead of ending, seem to drag on indefinitely.

But Harp calculates very well what Harp is going to do, and really wants the boy to stop him just in time.

7 | What does the end of the Risk Zone mean? What is the message of the movie?

The entire film is Harp’s journey to understand that what he understands as collateral damage, that is casualties from some perspective, necessary to achieve a greater good, have a face and a story, and are not simply numbers used to compare.

In this sense, the film confronts – like many, many other films – the conflict between utilitarianism and the deontological moral approach, in which acts are judged on their moral value, and not on their numerical impact.

In the end, when Harp walks back into his life, he no longer does so as the cold arrogant drone driver, but as a man who understands the meaning of a life, and how everything possible should be done to save it.

Questions? Annotations? More doubts? The comments section is open just below this post so feel free to use it. See you in the next installment of Ending Explained here at El Sabanero X.

i’m thinking of ending things ^ Ending Explained

Directed by Charlie Kaufman, the mind behind the 2004 hit Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Do you remember that one? Starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet?), I’m thinking of ending things is another magnificent puzzle that deserves to be seen on more than one occasion. And maybe then, we can see the big picture.

And yes, I get it, this is a world where the trend in cinema (and almost everything else) is to go easy, the not-so-challenging (look at the numbers on the box office of Fast and Furious , and the Marvel Cinematic Universe ), and a film like this implies a challenge, since it tests the viewer to analyze a myriad of details strategically placed by the director to understand them.

But don’t worry, because if after watching the 134 minutes of this movie, you still have no idea what exactly happened on screen, and especially what the ending of this movie really means, don’t worry, because then and without further ado, we open the analysis and explanation of  I’m thinking of ending things .

What the heck is going on in “i’m thinking about ending things”?

Let’s not beat around the bush and get straight to the point. At the beginning of the film we see two segments, which apparently have nothing to do with each other:

  1. The story of “Lucy” (we’ll get back to that soon) and Jake. The couple is on their way to visit the big man’s parents.
  2. Scenes of a school janitor, which seem rather random.

The janitor scenes are real, Lucy and Jake’s story is primarily a hallucination of the school janitor.

Why would the janitor have such a hallucination?

A mix of two pretty serious factors, by the way:

  1. The janitor suffers from a condition called Lewy Body Dementia, a neurodegenerative disease that includes symptoms that we saw in the scenes where the old man appears: tremors, stiffness, slowness; and also the appearance of quite vivid hallucinations that include not only the sense of sight and hearing, but also of taste, touch and smell. In other words, someone with this condition can have a rich sensory experience, without distinguishing it from reality.
  2. The janitor was left in his truck, in the middle of a snowstorm, in freezing temperatures, and therefore is suffering from severe hypothermia. This type of hypothermia -which we could see because the old man took off his clothes- aggravated the preexisting mental condition, and caused the possible mental defenses to fall completely, causing the hallucination that we saw in the form of the story of Jake and Lucy.

And how do I know that the janitor suffered from Lewy Body Dementia?

Well, it is one of the details that you have to pay close attention to. When the hallucination begins to crumble (evidently the janitor is dying), Jake’s father appears elderly and informs Lucy that he cannot remember many things, and that she has to label the rooms and objects in his house, to remember them.

Lucy asks him if he suffers from Alzheimer’s, but the old man confirms that it is not about that, but about Lewy Body Dementia, evidently it is a reflection of the condition the janitor suffers from.

Who really is Lucy?

The key is in the conversation over dinner. Lucy tells Jake’s parents that they met on a trivia night, where Jake was playing games and somehow they started talking and then she gave him her phone number.

But, here comes the glitch in the Matrix, or well, a mistake in the hallucination. First of all we see that Lucy completely changes her mood when she tells the story. Then we see that the story changes, first she says that she started talking to Jake when she asked her for the name of her trivia team (Brezhnev’s eyebrows). Then she says that they had not spoken, but only exchanged glances, which causes commotion at the table.

This is obviously an invention of the Janitor’s mind. The Janitor surely saw a woman with Lucy’s face once one trivia night, but they never exchanged a word, and even her name is made up, that’s why we see the girl sometimes called Lucy, other times Louise, other times Louisa , and even Ames. Those are the names of some women whom the Janitor felt afection to, or even loved, but up to there.

Also consistently inconsistent is the fact that Lucy changes occupation almost every scene, being a physicist, a poet, a film critic, and even a waitress.

In conclusion: Lucy is the version of the ideal woman that the sick and dying mind of the Janitor created from all the women who were important in his life, and that works as the way to externalize his own misery.

So Jake is the Janitor?

Indeed Jake is the most faithful representation of the Janitor, when he was young. In one of the dialogues, Jake affirms that being young is the ideal version of each person, and that is why his mind decides to see himself that way, in his best years of youth. And we can say that the Janitor’s name is indeed Jake.

But all the characters in the hallucination correspond to a part of the experience, or of the Janitor’s personality.

Who really is the Janitor?

According to the pieces that we can rescue from both the hallucination and the real scenes of the Janitor, we can assume the following about Jake:

  1. He grew up on a farm, along with his parents, who must have provided him with some kind of comfort, but who were also quite weird and even violent.
  2. He was an only child, and over time he had to take care of his parents, as they aged, feeding them and watching them die.
  3. He never left his parents’ farm, where he lived until his death.
  4. He was quite literate, consuming books, and especially a lot of popular culture, cinema and theater, especially musicals.
  5. He also had to read a lot about other subjects, such as physics, and science in general.
  6. Being tied to his parents and to his farm, he was never able to develop strong enough emotional ties to be independent, and therefore did not have the motivation to grow professionally, despite being very intelligent.
  7. When he wanted to find someone to share his life with, his previous lifestyle, he simply made it impossible, until he ended up alone on his parents’ farm, with a job as a Janitor and with a serious mental illness.

What does the end of “i’m thinking of ending things” mean?

The end of the film, involves the conflict in Jake’s mind, between dying peacefully in a hallucination that gives him some peace (at least he is not alone, he is with Lucy), and his survival instinct that tells him he has to do something, and that he should not let himself die locked in his truck in the middle of the snow.

This conflict is observed in the dance scene, Jake is dancing with Lucy, enjoying his moment of happiness, but his survival instinct (the policeman) tries to force him to come out of the hallucination and fight. But in the end, Jake ends up accepting his death, thinks of the end as his only way out, and achieves it in one last act in which he receives all the applause he never received in life, for the achievements he never had.

What is the message of the movie?

Message? Well, rather, messages … the film refers to various written and audiovisual works that indicate Jake’s reflections, which incidentally invite us to reflect as spectators.

  1. Ralph Albert Blakelock’s paintings : in which the expression of trauma through painting is discussed. A very well posed metaphor, since the film itself is a deep and artistic expression of a monstrous trauma such as living a lifetime in complete solitude and without having achieved any of your dreams.
  2. A woman under the influence : Oscar-winning film directed by John Cassavetes and starring Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk. The film here implies the extent to which the labels and expectations of society towards its individuals generate in them the aforementioned traumas. In the film, a woman suffers the consequences of fitting in with the labels of being a good mother and a good wife. Labels can also be negative, and the worst part is that it is usually much easier to fit in a negative label than to try to reach a positive one.
  3. Ice by Anna Kavan: A novel in which after an apocalypse, which covers the earth in ice, a man tries to get the attention of a woman. This is a reference to the very build of Jake, a man nearing the end, and trying to achieve a little happiness with an invention of his own mind.
  4. Rotten Perfect Mouth by Eva HD: A book by a Canadian poet, in which she tells with an open heart, the emotional traumas she has been through.
  5. Something Supposedly Funny I’ll Never Do Again , by David Foster Wallace: Where he recounts the experiences on a pleasure cruise, and how the very structure of the cruise, where his needs are met at every level, drives him to despair. This work is in tune with the following book.
  6. Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord: It is a book that very openly analyzes how society was transformed by its representation in the mass media. Basically the author indicates that the media have created an artificial template for life that we, the new generations, try to emulate, considering the achievements on screens as the quintessence of our existence. Here, and in conjunction with the previous book, Jake, a fan of musicals and cinema, tries to reach the pinnacle of existence imparted by the mass media: a perfect girl who shares his same mental scheme, tastes and who also finds him physically desirable. Never able to come up with such a panacea, he goes into despair (like Wallace on the Cruise Ship) and ends up completely alone.
  7. Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Frank Loesser: It is a song originally intended to tell people that it was time to leave the bars, back in the 1940s (the movie perhaps incorrectly indicates that the song was written in 1936). It is a conversation between a girl and a boy, the boy wants to go with her, she claims that she has other things to do. Feminism has found the song an apology for rape, for including references to giving the girl alcohol to have sex with her. It’s an interesting inclusion because it implies that Jake has also faced the clash between her prevalent mindset in her youth (homosexuality is a disease, women should stay home), with the new awakening. And like, maybe, because of that, another layer of alignment was added against him. He is not only an old man,sick and without achievements, but on top of an old man who does not understand current times, and nobody is willing to guide him, either.

What can we learn from this movie?

We all have dreams and aspirations, but this movie forces us to wonder how proper and appropriate those dreams are. Some have dreams associated with the pattern imposed by society: marrying, having children, going into debt to have a house, a car, perhaps a farm, perhaps a business. Others have dreams associated with what the media impose: A hot body, being sexually active, finding someone who is a perfect fit for you, and living a romantic and intense love at the same time. There are also other templates, the good son who cares for his parents until they die, or that of conformism, out of fear or lack of motivation to go as far as possible.

The film invites us to reflect on what it is that will make us at the end of our days really happy with our decisions. It invites us to think that perhaps by thinking too much of others, we end up destroying ourselves. It invites us to double think on establishing life patterns as models to achieve, without really thinking about what makes us happy. It invites us to be careful with our decisions.

But even more importantly, it invites us that in the process of knowing ourselves, and seeking our happiness, we do not just dismiss others, simply because they are not precisely what we are looking for.

Questions? Annotations? More doubts? The comments section is open just below this post so feel free to use it. See you in the next installment of Ending Explained here at El Sabanero X.

The Crimes that Bind ^ Ending Explained

What is the most important thing to you? Is it the way you show yourself to the world? The way they look at you? Or is it family? Or is it to do what is right? And what happens when all the answers to those questions are in conflict to each other?

Argentinian director Sebastián Schindel bases the narrative of his most recent film Crímenes de Familia (International Title: The Crimes that Bind) – an extremely interesting study of characters, which mixes elements of suspense, social criticism and legal drama – on the question above.

Now, if in the 99 minutes of footage of the film, you have been left with any doubts, concerns and questions, do not worry, because right now and without further ado, we will explore in deep this movie, and what is the meaning of its ending.

Continúa leyendo The Crimes that Bind ^ Ending Explained

The Hater ^ Ending Explained

Have you ever felt that in spite of all your efforts, sacrifices and good results, the rest of the world simply treats you as if you deserve nothing more than the leftovers from others? What would you be willing to do to finally be someone in that hermetic world in which social mobility is becoming harder and harder?

Polish director Jan Komasa uses these questions as the framework for his 2020 film, The Hater (Original title in Polish: Sala samobójców. Hejter ), a very interesting study of character that – in 136 minutes – reveals to us how social networks actually work starting from the positioning of brands, the so-called influencers, to politics.

Now, if after watching the movie you have been left with questions, doubts or concerns, do not worry, because right now and without further ado we will explain this movie in detail. Let’s start!

Continúa leyendo The Hater ^ Ending Explained