The Little Things | Movie Explained

Directed by John Lee Hancock ( The Blind Side ) and starring three Top A-List actors (Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto), The Little Things is an interesting twist on the crime scene suspense genre, dubbed by some as neo-noir, genre highlighted by the prolific David Fincher and his classics Seven and Zodiac .

Now, if this so-called twist, the serial killers, the accidental murders, the obsessions and traps, you are still wondering what is going on at the end of this film, do not worry. It is time for The Little Things: Explained.

1 | Joe Deacon is the killer?

Let’s get straight to the point. One of the big surprises of this film is the moment in which it is revealed that of the three young women murdered under the bridge, only two were there when the police arrived. The third, who was not next to the other two, called Mary Roberts (Anna McKitrick) was accidentally killed by Deacon, when in the middle of the search of the crime scene, the girl appeared between the bushes and the detective, thinking that it was the killer behind him, shot her on the chest.

Then, in a flashback scene we see that Sal (Chris Rizoli) and coroner Flo Dunigan (Michael Hyatt) covered up for Deacon, who in a process of anxiety generated by his obsession, ended up losing his marriage to Marsha, and suffering a heart attack, before moving on to Kern County, working as a Sheriff.

2 | Where and when do the events of The Little Things take place?

One of the curiosities that first comes to mind in the film is that there are no cell phones, the forensic technique is very lousy, and the computers still work on MS-DOS. Obviously, this film is located before the popularization of Windows, so together with other clues, such as the dates in the newspapers, we can place the movie in 1990.

And considering that the murder of the three girls that obsesses Deacon occurred 5 years earlier, this would occur in 1985.

Now, the killings occur in the Los Angeles area, and what they call “The North,” in which they include Kern County, where Deacon was exiled, is not as far north as you – someone who is not an American living in California – might think. Actually, Kern County is a not that far from Los Angeles, about 180 kilometers (111 miles) away, which can be covered in less than two hours on the I-5.

3 | Did Albert Sparma actually kill the prostitutes and then the girls, including Rhonda Rathbun?

Although the film is generally ambiguous in this regard, the circumstantial evidence collected by Deacon indicates that it was indeed Sparma.

The evidence, the high mileage, the newspaper clippings, the Busch beer, the fast food, the way Tina recognized him, the AAA repair service job and most of all, the erection Sparma had when he saw the photographs of the murdered girls, made Deacon conclude that Sparma was indeed the murderer.

4 | Is there a possibility that Sparma wasn’t the killer?

It could be concluded that indeed, there is no overwhelmingly solid evidence that he is the murderer, but using the laws of probability, it is simply impossible that Sparma was not involved in the murders.

The other kind of crazy option, would be for Sparma to be so obsessed with murder that he knew all those details, and tried to emulate them. The location of the girl on the highway was not leaked to the press, but Sparma had a radio with the police frequencies. Tina partially identified him, but could have been suggested by seeing him handcuffed.

Now, if perhaps individually the evidence is not conclusive, the sum of them, including the fingerprints, the dental marks and the psychological profile that the FBI later took, which partially coincided with Sparma, indicate that in fact, he was the murderer. Two are coincidence, but ten?

5 | Why did Sparma take Baxter to the desert?

If there is any additional proof that Sparma is the murderer, it is the moment when he manipulates Baxter into the desert. Sparma waits for Deacon to get out of the car, to approach Baxter. Sparma knows that Deacon is sure and plenty convinced that he is the murderer, so much Deacon would not hesitate to murder him if he was in Baxter’s shoes.

However, Baxter is not so sure and Sparma knows it. Sparma thinks he can have fun with Baxter by making him believe that he is going to reveal the place where the dead girl is, but making him fail time after time, until he is convinced that he was not the real killer. That’s his game, make Baxter hesitate, to have doubts.

Yet further proof that Sparma is the murderer is that he cannot help but relish the idea that he can murder Baxter’s wife and two daughters. At that moment, when he enjoyed the idea, and that the detective consequently beat him with the shovel, killing him, he – Sparma- showed himself as he is. Or as he was.

6 | What does the end of The Little Things mean? What happens to the red barrette?

In the end Deacon, in an act of reparation for those who ever helped him, decides to completely cover up Baxter, burying Sparma’s corpse and emptying his apartment. Deacon wants Baxter to enjoy his family, his wife and two daughters, and not throw his life away the way he did.

So he sends her that final message where he says “We are not angels”, along with a red barrette.

Seeing the evidence and the message, Baxter can start his life anew thinking that he did indeed take the life of a murderer, and not an innocent man. However, in the last shots we see that Deacon actually bought the barrette, he didn’t find it in Sparma’s things.

The point is, Deacon wasn’t going to let Baxter destroy his life, and he was willing to do anything to get it, even lie to him.

7 | Is there a chance that Stan Peters was the real killer?

The point with the doubt about Stan Peters is that he, in effect, committed suicide after being confronted by the police about the dead girls and especially Mary Roberts, to whose name he reacted strangely. But we know that Mary Roberts was accidentally killed by Deacon, not Peters.

Stan Peters does not convey the security that the driver who followed Tina had, and the reason for his suicide would simply he was not ready to go to jail, taking into account the proclivity of the police to tag him as guilty. The reaction to Mary Roberts was perhaps because at some point he met her, followed her and possibly even tried to touch her, and if the police found this they would not hesitate for a second to send him to the dungeon.

8 | What is the message of the movie?

The twist of this film is that more than a quest to find a murderer, it is a character study, on how obsession can destroy someone’s life, and how by learning from the mistakes of others, we can move on, despite our faults

And perhaps even more so, how difficult it is to define someone’s innocence and guilt in absolute terms. Deacon took the life of Mary Roberts, but saved Baxter, and his wife and two daughters as well. There was no solid evidence that Sparma was the killer, but his fondness for female pain revealed him to Baxter.

It’s the little things, rescuing a friend from disaster, or demonstrating your sadistic nature in a few words, that ultimately reveal who the hero is, who the villain is, and who, ultimately, are the ones who deserve redemption.

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 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

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie ^ Ending Explained

El Camino is considered, without any doubt, the most anticipated Netflix film this October, and even this Fall on the web platform. After all, we are talking about the sequel to what is considered the best TV series of all time, Breaking Bad – after the thunderous failure of the end of Game of Thrones – a sequel in which we would finally see what happened to Jesse Pinkman, Walter White’s original partener, after Felina’s rough events, the end of the series, originally broadcast on September 29, 2013, on AMC.

Now, if you want to fully understand the events that Vince Gilligan, the creator of the entire Breaking Bad universe, shows us in the hands of Netflix in its 122 minutes, keep on reading, because right now and without further ado, we’ll dissect and analyze everything that happened on El Camino.

Continúa leyendo El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie ^ Ending Explained