Sunday, March 07, 2010

Triangle

To mix things up a bit, my thoughts that don't quite fit in the eFilmCritic review. Not just because it's nice to do things a little differently every once in a while, or because it's rather apropos for this particular movie, but because a lot of what I want to say is a spoiler (more specifically, a spoiler-filled rant). If you haven't seen it, turn away after the "Also at eFilmCritic" part.

(Okay, one comment - my brother, father, et al, just got back from a Caribean cruise. This might have been a fun one to show them before they left)

Triangle

* * ¾ (out of four)
Seen 5 March 2010 in Jay's Living Room (Blu-ray)

This review will, at times, be vague, convoluted, and maybe even self-contradictory, but hopefully also intriguing. The primary reason for this is that I like to avoid giving too much away and Triangle goes for its big, not-mentioned-on-the-package surprise fairly early. Which, as clever folks have likely already deduced, is a secondary reason to write it that way - that combination of confusion and intrigue rather matches the experience of watching Triangle, so even if I don't tell you what it's about, I can maybe give you an idea of how it feels.

As the single mother of an autistic child (Joshua McIvor), every morning can be a struggle for Jess (Melissa George), even a Saturday when she's been invited to go sailing with Greg (Michael Dorman), a regular customer at the restaurant where she works as a waitress. It's not quite a romantic getaway, as four others are coming with: Victor (Liam Hemsworth), the nineteen-year-old kid Greg took in; Downey (Henry Nixon) and his wife Sally (Rachael Carpani), old friends of Greg; and Heather (Emma Lung), a friend Sally is trying to set Greg up with. Jess is worn out from dealing with her son, but things will soon get much worse - after a few ill omens, a storm capsizes Greg's boat, but their course intersects with Aeolus, a cruise ship from the 1930s that is curiously empty...

And we'll stop there, because what happens afterward deserves to be discovered as you watch the film. What I will say is that writer/director Christopher Smith is still making horror movies, but he isn't repeating himself; where Creep was an intense running of a gauntlet and Severance featured over-the-top gore and black comedy, Triangle aims to be a mindbender, tossing the audience clues as to what is going on between its thrills and kills, and then, once the trick has been revealed, daring the audience to keep track of all the pieces and spot any flaws in the construction. And, the majority of the time, it works; there's a thrill of recognition whenever Smith does something that explains an earlier scene. Sometimes he leans a bit hard on that explanation, making sure that everybody gets what happened, but other times he will throw things in that are almost but not quite red herrings - they're connected, but outside the immediate narrative.

Which may be a problem, depending on what kind of story you look at Triangle as being. Mindbender stories are at their best when they are meticulous, when you can take every action and every character, put them on a chart, and come up with a complex but tight pattern. Still, this is also a ghost ship/Bermuda Triangle movie, and that's a variety of horror that often works best when left unexplained - or at least, when the explanations are relatively vague and more about emotion than paranormal phenomena. So while certain logical inconsistencies drive me absolutely bonkers - Smith doesn't even try to explain some things beyond "it was set up that way earlier" - there is something perfectly right (and sadly wrong) about the way things feel at the end, and the dangling bits of the script only make it more so.

A lot of that rests on the shoulders of Melissa George. It's not spoiling any huge surprise to say she's the main character, the one we spend the most time following and the one where we have the most built-in interest in seeing her get off the ship. It's an odd performance, in some ways: In the early scenes, it can be extremely hard to connect with her; there's a dull unresponsiveness to Jess that is rather off-putting. Once the characters get on board the ship, though, Jess becomes a more active character, and George handles everything Smith throws at her. And that's a lot; she's in nearly every scene, with the story sending her from one emotional extreme to another. She handles most of it with aplomb, even doing a pretty good job of selling us some of the more nonsensical parts of the story. She handles herself well in the action scenes, too; she's necessarily doubled at some points, but very capable when nothing but a steady, medium shot will do.

That's not to give the rest of the cast short shrift, but it's pretty clear that this is George's movie from the start, and none of the rest are going to be given much chance to upstage her. One thing that is refreshing is that the cast are adults; only Liam Hemsworth's Victor really falls in the "barely old enough to drink" demographic. He is one of the ones I might have liked to see a bit more of; Hemsworth gives him a nice self-confident vibe.

Like the story, the production of the movie is kind of a mixed bag. As in his previous films, Smith displays a strong grasp of tone and pacing. He never goes for the inappropriate laugh that tempts other horror filmmakers, for instance. And he keeps the story moving at the right speed, supplying jolts of action when needed but giving the audience just enough time to mull over what's going on. The set of the Aeolus is impressively detailed - there's not a bit that doesn't feel realistic, even if he does manipulate it in a way to make certain scenes surreal. On the other hand, water still seems to be tough on CGI artists with a limited budget; some waves look really good, others not so much. Some splashes are just cringe-worthy.

I applaud Smith for his ambition with Triangle; he challenges himself and the audience with his story, and as much as it makes writing this review harder, I love that he kicks the audience's collective legs out from under them early rather than later (not a lot of filmmakers give themselves that sort of time to play with their cool idea). Writing this review, I see how some of the pieces fit together better than they seemed to at the time, and I'm all for movies making you think, but this one is as likely to lead to frustration as satisfaction afterward.

Also at eFilmCritic

Okay... Anyone reading on from here clearly doesn't care about having the movie spoiled for them, either because you've either already seen it or because you like those trailers that tell you the whole story or because you just don't care.

Anyway, the words I was desperately working to avoid above were "time travel"; Jess periodically seems to slip backward in time, so that she's already on board Aeolus when the wreck of the sailboat arrives, and she deduces that the cycle starts over whenever she kills the rest. That's kind of a leap; what sane person jumps to that conclusion (it may just be a fixed amount of time, for all she knows)? Of course, Jess isn't necessarily a reasonable person, as we see in the final reel.

(My friend Amanda recently mentioned that she likes time travel, though not science fiction in general; so do I recommend this movie to her, since telling her she'd like it ruins the surprise?)

The action on the boat is often curious as well. One thing I really kind of liked was the implication that we're only seeing the first (?) complete loop for Jess, but that others are happening later/earlier/simultaneously: The bloody-headed Jess, for instance, enters and exists without much explanation at all, and then there is the hole full of heart pendants and the deck full of Sally corpses. The latter raises a lot of questions about the mechanism, though; the implication, otherwise, is that everybody other than Jess is only going through this once, encountering multiple Jesses, or at least, Jess at multiple points upon her personal timeline. Otherwise, why doesn't the ship get even more crowded every time a new group boards?

Also, Smith hits us with two huge paradoxes: First, the keychain - when Jess finds it, why doesn't she have two afterward? Maybe she does, but if that's the case, shouldn't the characters notice that she has two and be freaked out? Or maybe she didn't have it before then, in which case, where did it come from? Given the car crash, it makes sense that she wouldn't have them to begin with, but if that's the case, then they more or less appear out of thin air - Jess has no keys, finds them, loops back, and then drops them for her earlier (?) self to find.

And then there's Jess herself. If survivor-Jess who kills rotten-mother-Jess at the end is also the same Jess who gets on the boat at the start... Where did she come from? The most reasonable explanation seems to be that she's a ghost, and even though ghosts (as opposed to ghost ships) aren't ever explicitly discussed, I like that as an explanation in some ways. It becomes a cool twist on the ghost caught in a loop, forever seeking revenge or redemption. The bloody-headed Jess then becomes a Jess from further down the timeline, implying that this is going to go on indefinitely - that ghosts, like people, can't break out of their patterns.

Which isn't a bad deal for a ghost story. The trouble is, I wasn't thinking ghosts until a full night of sleep and another movie later. But I may be overthinking things, or I may have missed something really obvious. What say you?

45 comments:

Fuzzybug said...

Liked your theories and agree mostly. However at the end...I believe the taxi driver is key to the whole thing. Earlier on we heard mention of the guy who tried to trick death or the devil and ended up in a loop (pushing rock up mountain just to have it roll back down again). The taxi driver is the devil or death. When they pull up at the pier Melissa george seemed to have woken up. Maybe that is where the loop starts and ends and she has no memory of the crash etc. previous. The driver asks if she'll will come back with again is another hint that he is more than he seems. And then it all starts again

melissa said...

King Aeolus lived on the floating island of Aeolia and was visited by Odysseus and his crew in the Odyssey. He gave hospitality for a month and provided for a west wind to carry them home. He also provided a gift of a bag containing each of the four winds, which Odysseus's crew members opened just before their home was reached. Unfortunately, they were blown back to Aeolia, where Aeolus refused to provide any further help.
You could say that the ship itself is Aeolia.

Also, another similarity -
Sisyphus was the son of Aeolus and his punishment for sins was to forever keep repeating pushing a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down, while consigned to Hades for eternity.

The one thought that remained constant while I was watching the whole movie was "what a perfect rendition of a total nightmare!"
There is that scene at the beginning where she's crying and telling her son about nightmares... maybe it's only a dream? I'm thinking this is best way to look at it. Either she’s in hell, in a nightmare, or the whole thing is a sci-fi, time travel thing, which it really isnt... not totally. But I do love that about it.

I've always loved the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle for EXACTLY this kind of sci-fi nightmare. And it's so rare that I've EVER seen anyone make a movie that so closely resembles my biggest fears when I'm asleep. Trapped in a loop that you can't figure out OR get out of. OR change! She's ALWAYS going to kill the Jess that's trying to stop the new group from boarding. She’s never going to win or get out or wake up...
There's sense but then no sense. You think you get it and then you're wrong. The laws of physics goes out the window and leaves with only the dream world of – Stuff is going to happen that you'd never think of or CONCEIVE of while you're awake.

I watched it last night for the first time and woke up at 4 a.m. from a really freaky dream... although now I can’t remember a damn thing about it! Damnit! lol

David said...

I am watching this movie for a 2nd time because I wasn't paying close enough attention the 1st time. One thing thats for sure is that I have had dreams ALOT like this where I'm stuck in a loop or can't seem to get back to reality. I watched it on NetFlix based on a few good reviews and actually this is better than alot of movies I've watched lately!!!

David said...

I feel like there are two alternate universes crossing over. One universe, they get on the ship on the left side, and she knocks her future self off the boat with the mask on. The other universe they get on the ship on the right side, and she killers her future self with the axe. Both universes seem to trigger the same series of events. Yet they are both somehow distinct. Its doesnt seem as simple as a loop, where future events cause them self to happen, but instead you have multiple layers, where future events cause them self to happen, which also cause more future events to cause the original events to happen, I dont even know what im talking about anymore, I have to watch this movie again.

Mike said...

My theory is that bloody head Jess (who is axed to death) is the same Jess who we see at the end of the movie. She goes back to the Aeolus already knowing what is about to happen; she does so in order to bring back her son, believing he will come back due to the looping nature of her experiences. The bloody head Jess has a much more serious nature and moves with a much more defined purpose. She kills Downey and stabs Sally with no regret or hesitation. She later goes on to get axed to death and thrown overboard. The movie ended well with the end paralleling the beginning. To take the audience back to the ship would have been a little too much.

Zemsuga said...

#1-the taxi driver is DEFINITELY "death".

on board the ship, when they talk about Aeolus. the one about breaking a promise or cheatin death or somethin..... (last scene in the cab) the driver tells her that he will keep the meter running and asks her if she will be back.... and she promises to do so.

so #2 - she is the one who broke a promise to death and is therefore stuck in the loop as a punishment of her sin.

#3 - scene of the car accident... the kid sitting on the ground had the same drum with initials "AO" as the one in the dinning room when they first board Aeolus.

so im guessing that she dies in the accident, and the other her is indeed a ghost (because she can see death)

akh idk... its a good movie.. i think this is the ONLY thing everyone here would agree! :D

zemsuga said...

hey and one more thing...the opening scene and the last scene where exactly the same. if you observe in the begining while she is packing, you can see the stained dress, so that means the other her is in the bag... why wld she take a stained dress to a boat trip? lol so yeah.... wait what?

the whole movie is then basically her eternal torment, a punishment for being a b****! and it keeps looping cuz she broke the bromise to death, and Aeolus is probobly the last thing she saw (the marching band) hense the devil is screwin her head with that lol


bottom line is

"no point trying to save the boy. theres nothing anyone can do to bring him back" sad but hey... what isnt :)

Anonymous said...

WAOO. What a movie. I must agree, this is the first movie of my life which I could not fully understand.

I think, reality = whatever you believ in. There is a psychiatric condition in which people see imaginary people.

I think, no one has died. It is all happening in her head. It is an mind problem.
I think it is a new dimension to explain.

Waqas Ch said...

Well the movie was awsome and interesting, watched i twice and want to see again.
every body has different point of view and i hav a bit different from all people
my ist point is that all of them on the boat are time travellers and when they face electric storm all of them go back to their past......
secondly Jesss loses her memory in that elecric storm due to the electromagnetic waves produced in storm and this helps the cycle to continue because she is now the new jess with no old memories.......

Anonymous said...

well.. i think that at the end jess went home, killed her other self & then died in a car crash, and then another jess from the boat, who did escape from it ass well (like.. this wasnt the first jess escaping), saw the accident - her son dead & telled the taxi driver to drive her to the harbor for her to try & save her son again.

but after reading these theories i kinda agree with the taxi driver=death & that she's in hell.

Leon said...

My theory is that she is stuck in the loop, and during her nap on the boat in which she has a bad dream but can't remember it, the bad dream is all the stuff that happened. So if the movie where to continue she goes on the boat still confused and dazed as to what is hapening (the boat,car crash etc) decides to sleep, awakes realising that somthing is wrong but can't recall what. Thus the cycle repeats its self, as she forgot that it had allready occured.

Anonymous said...

She died in a crash with her son after being a terrible mother. She cheated death by not getting back in the cab and is stuck in a pergatory where she tries over and over again to change her doomed fate.

Anonymous said...

The only way to stop the loop is to focus on her driving and dont stop after hitting the pigeon. That way, she can end the cycle/loop and avoid the accident that killed her son. Because the pigeon scene is the last evidence of the repeating loop.

Anonymous said...

The last comment was correct. If she pays attention and she doesn't kill the pigeon then the loop ends there. But the problem is that she can't remember. And that is the confusing part. The Jess in the car is the one who was on the boat and killed everybody and tried to kill herself but ignorant Jess hit her and made her fall over the ship. She went back home and she killed the ''bad'' Jess. Then she drives, then what? She forgets about the pigeon? The whole point of her wanting to come back is to save her son. She can't forget about the pigeon. And then she is surprised to see a bunch of other pigeon. She then realizes that it's the loop again. How come she didn't know that?
That movie made me think so much. It's an amazing movie, and the idea was perfect. A few things I really enjoyed were the pendants, the Sally's, and of course the papers on which she wrote countless times if they board kill them all. But that was a little bit stretched out. She only wanted to make sure it was her own handwriting. I would have written another sentence. Why write the exact same thing?
I am so confused. But I loved it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Taxi driver being DEATH, but if the bloddy Jess knows most about everything, then she will remember every detail of what she did in the ship, like where she hides or something. right?

karo said...

So now that she has a mission to kill everybody it means the jess that comes back each time is the same jess evrytime so i dont get the new jess ushes the old jess "killer jess" and then later becomes killer jess and cant remember anything and then comes back to the boat ........and and ......damn

Sabrina said...

@ Fuzzybug: I completely agree that the gaunt pale reaper taxi driver is death. Jes has the option of staying there and facing the loss of her son ("no use working on the boy nothing can save him now" ) or taking the ride in an attempt to save her son (and redeem herself and avoid Hades -mental or metaphysical. Pure selfish motive in my mind) by going through the cycle again.

As a side, there must be multiple and parallel time lines of action if the Jes who we see at the beginning (at any time) is the Jes we see at the end, then EVERY Jes we see is the same at the beginning and end of her own cycle.

How does it begin and how to end it are the two questions that burn in my brain.
To begin the mess one Jess had a cycle of time double up on itself where NO other Jess was encountered on the boat? But some how as the other parallel running time lines bumped up against each other THIS overlapping cycle became the repeated scenario? To end it I believe that a Jes at the moment of the wreck needs to NOT get in the taxi and instead give herself to death and off herself. Or at any moment in the running of the scene she needs to off herself. BUt she clings to life in the guise that she loves her son and must return to him?

Anonymous said...

I have seen many scene that not rational, #1 1st person jess try to avoid being shoot by Masked Jess,and the Masked Jess is fall down by wearing no shoes (in fact jess wearing wedges even until she go back home) #2 Masked jess 1st scene hand is look a like a-Man-Hand not like a woman Hand.3# when 1st jess holding shotgun meet the other jess with Victor in the ballroom,the other-Jess is running out,and 1-3 seconds after that the gunshot heard,the question is "where is the Other-Jess going"?
#4 still in the ball room 1st-jess-shotgun told Victor to wait and hang on,after she's back Victor was gone.question is "where is Victor going"? #5 1st scene Jess ever said "I saw someone"(no mirrors over there) but second scene (there's a mirror) and many more.

So my comment is, Jess and friends is on the Aeolus is true,but the first killer in the scene is wasn't Jess but a ghost-man(I hate when this not rational),so the ghost-man set jess up with his trick's,and make jess believe that her self is crazy,and make a Triangle story.. And my own ending is,Jess(dressed) killed by ghost at home,then Jess spirit is stuck with time,cause devil and SAM play with it

JustGin said...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1187064/board/flat/178118794

WHAT DO U THINK OF MY IDEA?
lvjinbin@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

A nice catch, her address at home (#237), only shown at the beginning, is the same as the room number of the 'bloody' cabin where Downey gets murdered. Any significance to the number itself?

Anonymous said...

My main take on the movie is that she died selfish- abusing her autistic son- and remains selfish never learning her lesson that she has to inevitably face her punishment or fate, if you notice the poor kids soul also has to relive these events as well seeing his abusive mother being murdered over and over and knowing that she foolishly will run into the truck trying to apologize but unable to speak... And also you'd think that she'd get the point she was meant to die because each Jess(good-bad) ends up killing themselves.

Anonymous said...

What does the gramophone have to do with it?

Anonymous said...

The gramaphone is playing the same music that the band plays at the end. And my opinion is kind of the same. The taxi driver is death. However, I think the bloody headed Jess is not as significant as you would think. There were three different Jesses during the story. There was ignorant jess, the jess who trys to change the pattern, and then the jess who becomes the killer. I found this story really interesting. Just watched it for the second time and want to see it again.

Anonymous said...

I heard the story about King Aeolus, but I can't remember the details. I know that he died, then he asked Death if he could come back and tell his wife to make a decent funeral for him. Death asks if he promises to come back, and he promises. Rather than keeping his promise, he hides, and Death finds him later on, bringing him back to the Underworld. His punishment for breaking his promise was to roll the stone up the mountain and when it get back up, it would roll back down.

The taxi driver is, clearly, Death. When she breaks her promise not coming back, death finds her (killing Heather) and traps her in the time loop where she is. But how the loop started? My guess is that it wasn't Jess that started the loop. Some other crew got caught in the storm, someone of that crew went crazy and killed them (crew) all, just to start the cycle all over, when Jess crew coincidentally got caught in the storm too and ends up in the Aeolus, where she starts the loop (to after 3 times Jess crew arrives for her to be the killer).

Doesn't makes much sense does it? >.>

Zoli said...

I think it is actually a very profound movie. The logic is emotional in nature though, and so the viewer has to be able to recognize torment. Ultimately, that is all the movie is about - eternal torment - hence the Sisyphus reference.

The way I see the story is as follows:
There is a single mother with an autistic son. She resents her son on some level for making her life difficult - this is manifested in the movie through emotional and physical abuse. She works as a waitress, and there is a handsome customer who clearly wants a relationship with her. One day he asks her if she and her son would like to go sailing with him at 8:30 the next morning. She agrees. The following morning she is running extremely late due to the responsibilities of being a single mother who has to take care of an autistic son etc. etc. Her watch reads 8:17. She is rushing to get packed and get out the door. He spills his paint and she hits him. Finally in the car, she is racing to get to the marina on time. In her distracted state she veers into oncoming traffic, gets hit by a truck and both she and her son are killed.
This is what happened in real life. (this is all taken directly from dialogue in the movie)

The movie begins at some point, any point, in her eternal torment. If the viewer needs to ground the narrative in reality, I suppose you could conceptualize the movie as taking place in her head as she lays bleeding and unconscious at the scene of the accident - but really, it is a visualization of hell (or purgatory, if you're an optimist). She never made it to the boat in real life. In real life, the other people presumably went sailing without her. But the movie is not depicting real events in the real world. It is depicting the main character coming to terms with being the "killer" of her son, and experiencing that anguish over and over again. The other characters define the parameters of her torment, but they are not actually dying repeatedly in real life. They are stage props, originating from her expectation of real events before she died, but only serving in the space of the movie to force her to repeatedly, and nightmarishly, understand herself as a killer.

Zoli said...

In this sense, the movie is just a post-traumatic, infinitely repeating, emotional cycle. If you can imagine how a woman who beat her son (and resented him in the very moments before she caused his death, for making her late, but also in a deeper sense for keeping her from really being able to go sail away with this handsome customer unencumbered) might be punished in a Greek-mythological version of hell, this movie shows that punishment...

Profound guilt leads to denial - she wakes up on the sailboat with only the faintest memory of what she is doing there. This denial deepens as she tries to figure out who is killing her friends on the ocean liner. She eventually realizes that she is the one doing it, but she is still removed from this version of herself - her "killer side" is still external. But she cannot shoot herself because she won't fully understand the reason she needs to do so until she gets back to her house (keep in mind that these events are extensions of her emotional torment, and that therefore the aspects that are "locked" (i.e. they will always board the boat, she will always shoot them in the theatre, etc.) are reflections of the formula for her specific emotional punishment - like Sisyphus and Tantalus. In this part of the "process" she is only psychologically ready to kill as a martyr, with the knowledge that killing her friends could save her son.)

Psychologically speaking, she is able to take on the role of killer only because she has fused it with the role of martyr/savior. But the fascinating part is that the torment builds from here. After she embraces her (rationalized) identity as killer, replacing her immense guilt with immense willpower, she is able to go overboard.

But then when she gets back home she is confronted with the truer, deeper source of her guilt - that she was a bad mother. She attempts to destroy that part of herself - in order to protect her son? Maybe. Out of hatred for herself? Definitely. But in her desperate attempt to get rid of the body/escape from the nightmare with her son in tow - she is confronted with the final, most devastating part of her torture - having to remember that her self-absorption caused his death. And it will cause his death over and over and over again for eternity, in the cage of her torment. It is her boulder that keeps rolling back down.

The absurdity in the story of Sisyphus is that he believes his task is possible. Every time he rolls the boulder up the hill he desperately wants his efforts to pay off - but this is exactly what keeps him tormented. He could just as easily sit down on the boulder and not try at all, just as the woman in this movie could bury the other version of herself in the back yard and make her son a grilled-cheese sandwich, but there is a fixation on the completion of the impossible task that causes her to fail every time. The movie attempts to enter into this cycle, to show the awakening of her guilt (for example, the younger guy trying to strangle her), the emotional structure of the cycle, and ultimately the punishment (killing her son, again) - followed by a resetting of the punishment where she shows up at the marina.

Zoli said...

I think this is what the writer was getting it. My only complaint is that the actress should have been more anguished (less dazed) as she stared at the car accident - and the "driver" who showed up could have been a bit more sadistically encouraging. But again, that depends on whether you read it as some sort of hell, or some sort of purgatory. To be honest, the whole process seems like hell to me, but the actress/director played it more like purgatory: she remains determined and the movie leaves open the possibility that she can indeed figure out a way to break the cycle.

I have enjoyed trying to figure out what exactly would break the cycle, but the movie does not seem to provide a solution. Or maybe it does but I just didn't catch it. Going only on what is shown in the movie, she seems compelled to reenact every step of the cycle, which is why it seems more like hell to me, and why I think the director should have played it this way after the car accident (more torment, less hope). But this gets into philosophical territory (if hope can be a form of punishment, is it effective if it never flickers?).

The only "out" I can see is somehow stopping the irrational self-absorption. The whole movie she wants to get back to her son, to "save" him, but if she could just accept that he is dead and take responsibility for it, the torment would be over.

All in all, I thought it was a really impressive movie. I don't know why people didn't like it more... maybe because this movie builds its logic out of emotion, which many people find contradictory? I've actually never seen that approach before, though, and I thought it was brilliant. I wonder if women might understand this movie better than men, because of the emotional nature of the logic/meaning... ?

Zoli said...

Guys, my previous 3 comments are not my own thoughts. They are the words of shanghai21 from the unexplained-mysteries.com forum. After watching Triangle for the second time I found that site, and this comment helped me put into words what I had already had in my mind concerning this movie.
I think Triangle is a powerful movie, is definitely in my TOP 10 list.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I took a close look at the last scene where the car accident happens. The watch on the man who's taking care of the dead Tommy reads something like 8:17. You'll recall that the clock on the ship and Jess' watch read 8:17. I think this means the moment the car accident happened, this eternal loop started, and the driver wasn't the Jess we saw the whole time in the movie, but the mother Jess who abuses her son (you can tell by their clothes). From the guilt, Jess decides to save her son by going to the harbor and get on the ship, trying to get a chance to start all over. But the point is, she happens to forget almost everything while falling asleep in the cab. Otherwise, there's no point showing her sleeping. She doesn't seem to remember anything when the cab driver wakes her up. If she hadn't forgotten anything, she wouldn't have had all that dejavu on Greg's boat, and she would have looked pretty determined the 'whole' time to get her son back. And the cab says 'off duty' if you look carefully. I agree that the driver (or cab) is kinda symbol of death or something.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to the above comment, the Jess getting on the cab after the accident should be a ghost or sth, starting the loop all out of the guilt that she got her son killed. She is totally unharmed by the accident and nobody else notices her.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead Fan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead Fan said...

This movie is what hell and heaven would be like if the event was just be played over and over again from one view. This incident has placed her in hell because of her treatment of her son. If she hadn't killed anyone prior to dieing in the car accident, then she wouldn't be experiencing the hell of repeatedly killing people. But the hell incidents are repeated over and over until, depending on the severity of the crime, the experience begins to wear thin and eventually disappears. I think the story writer may have been recollecting, subconsciously, the hell that he experienced inbetween lives stressing the almost unending amount of recalls a soul must go through to escape the deep impression lodged in the soul's mind.

danisans said...

8:17 is something that is often brought up as a clue in the movie. For me, that 8:17 stoppage of the clocks is significant in that it points to the fact that Jess probably murdered her son. She saw the date with the good looking man with a sail boat as freedom from her life of misery raising an autistic child by herself and finally lost it as it became apparent that Tommy was going to ruin things by being uncooperative. At the beginning of the movie, when she is at the outdoor at the laundry line, the time on her watch is past 8:10. By the time she is packing her stained dress in that big black bag, it is already (or almost) 8:17 on her watch. Therefore, I interpret this as meaning that she killed her son in the house, packed the boy in the bag (as she will do later with a version of herself), and dumps the body (where the dead seagulls are one shore) on her way to the marina. This explains also the emphasis on the keys throughout the movie. What was she doing in the first place with her keys if she died with her son in a violent car crash? She had the keys on her before the loops started because she drove to the marina after she killed her son. That’s why she is in such a rush to kill the “bad mom” version of herself when she escapes the Aeolus. She needs to stop her before she kills Tommy, as she needs to kill that evil version of herself. She dies in a car crash in the loop iterations because, as the death angel / taxi driver tells her, “there is no way you can save the boy now”. Meaning, no matter what she tries, the boy will die at 8:17.

danisans said...

Since the boy spills the paint because he sees another version of his mom in the window, the paint is probably never spilled that morning and it becomes instead a metaphor for the blood that would have been on Jess’ dress after she killed her son. Explains why she would pack a stained dress. She was in fact putting the blood stained dress on top of her body’s son in that black bag (that she was going to dump somewhere on her way to the marina). The cabin on the Aeolus where she kills the couple has the same street number as Jess’ house. 237 is also the number of the room in The Shining where Jack Nicholson’s character definitively loses his mind and is incited to murder his son. The director cited The Shining as a major influence, so that cannot be a coincidence. The scene where she kills the man with a knife in the 237 cabin is more gruesome and out-of-control than any other killings in the movie and could be in fact the replaying of how she killed her son.

danisans said...

So that’s why she is stuck in the Sisyphus loop. The relive the pain of her son’s murder by giving her the belief that she can change things, make things right again. That seems more of a punishment that fits the crime. Suffering for eternity the myth of Sisyphus because she was distracted for a minute and caused the death of her son in a car accident seems unjust.
Now what happens on the sail boat on that first trip after she kills her son is not that clear. We know that they all died because in the loops at the marina, they can interact with her. And they are stuck in Jess’ time loop because their deaths are somehow linked to her. The question is “How does she come to know that killing them all will restart the sail boat salvage loop?” Not sure. In the end, we end up with three Jesses on the Aeolus. The Jess that falls off the boat with the hood on is the one that attempts to save her son and restarts the bigger, less frequent time loop. This is the “good” or the “I understand what is happening now” Jess under the hood, being pushed by the “clueless” Jess (the bloody headed Jess that killed the couple with knife takes off the hood after she gets grazed by a bullet). To simplify things, the “mean” Jess is the murderer, and kills out of insanity, the “good” Jess kills only in hopes that she gets of the boat to save her son, understanding that she is killing dead people anyways at this point. The “clueless” Jess will eventually become either the good or bad Jess. So I am guessing that if the clueless Jess pushes off the boat the masked version of the good Jess, thinking that she has gotten rid of the unknown murderer, the collective Jesses absolve themselves of any crime. And Jess is then free to go and save her son… from herself. Until the car accident stops her and resets the larger eternal time loop.

Anonymous said...

i liked the movie, melissa george was great, for once, but it was over the top confusing and thats a turn off to me as a smart veiwer. i wouldnt classify this as a horror film either, it was a thriller if that, the confusion was a turn off for me.

Anonymous said...

Deju vu is not the same as a time loop so therfore she wasnt experiencing that, you dont experience deju vu over and over and not all the time.Do research writers!

Anonymous said...

A great movie! had me thinking for hours afterwards. Very emotional, her guilt is so strong she's stuck in this punishment, unconciously denying throughout the whole movie that she is guilty of the horrific murder of her son. What i think happens and others have put it together more clear and extensively is that she kills him at home, cleans up the blood that later on changes into paint, stained dress doesnt go to laundry but to duffle bag, why? because she's getting rid of it. In the loop she aggresively kills her former self, that scene is so powerful, i loved her performance, there was no hesitance, she was determined to save her son by ringing the doorbell to keep previous Jess from hurting the boy at that moment, and she finally killedher. With that killing scene i knew she was saving the boy not from a car accident that was gonna happen but from something far more gruesome, an event that didn't even show on the very first scene of the movie. As i remember, in those scenes there was paint spilled, dress stained by paint, the knock on the door ( which is obviously an indicator that what we were watching was already one of the loops, it had been going for who knows how many times already) so we are seeing a slightly different version of the real life moment

Anonymous said...

oops! didn't mean to put it as a reply comment...

Anonymous said...

I agree with Danisans. She killed her son and put him in the bag and dumped him at the harbor. I thought that the rest was similar to Shutter Island and that the other people were psychiatrists trying to help her remember what happened and take responsibility for killing her son.

Anonymous said...

not sure about the killing her son at home idea,if this was true then wouldn't she see the black bag where the seagulls are dumped after 1 hits her car where she supposedly dumps the body?

Genius said...

ok as i'm not a genius pls help me out here: why is Jess 3x on the ship at the same time ? when she's at the deck full of Sally corpses she watches another Jess clubbing yet another Jess (who gets thrown overboard). i can deal with 2 Jess's at the same time but not with 3. ANYONE ?

Anonymous said...

This movie makes my head hurt but in a wonderful way. Not exactly knowing is the genius of it all and everyone having their own opinion is fun.

ak said...

The first time I watched this movie my thoughts were that she had murdered her son and she was continually trying to save him from herself. For me, this explanation addresses the single set of keys on the ship.

The second time I watched this movie my interpretation shifted into the belief that they both had been killed in the car accident. For me, this explanation addresses the repetitions of the music being played by the band, the time of 8:17 always coming up, and the seagull showing up time after time.

I've read many different interpretations and theories out there, and here are some of my favorites that I don't necessarily agree or disagree with: 1) Jess died at 8:17, which is why her clock is stuck there, whereas everyone else aboard would have died at 11:30 where their watches are stuck aboard the triangle when it capsizes. 2) Heather actually survives the Triangle capsizing when everyone else is killed which is why she simply vanishes. 3) Jess is completely aware of the fate of her friends as she's entering the harbor, hence her cryptic wording with Greg as she approaches him. It is only after she sleeps on the yacht that she suffers memory loss. 4) The storm during the yachting trip is the actual event that throws everyone into this never-ending loop, not Jess being in purgatory- just a strange Bermuda Triangle like event.

Anonymous said...

Ok, extra theory: the movie is about the Greek myth like 100%. She will repeat the punishment (killing her companions/friends) as long as she thinks she is smarter/quicker/better then death (the cab driver ... somehow).
Redemption will only come if she does not go on the yacht but goes back to the cab fulfilling her promise. That is how she accepts the fact that her son died and she was a horrible mom (accepting guilt,sin,etc).
The multiple versions of Jess (>2) are probably caused by the fact that (most likely) a previous version of herself did not have the guts to kill the Jess before. I think the death-count only takes into account the others and not Jess.
This would explain the multiple simultaneous threads of Jess's coexistence. For each Jess that would decide to spare herself or just miss to kill herself before the yacht reappears ... there springs a new thread.

I'm gonna stop here ... after writing all this down it all seems logical now ;)