After watching the movie, do you have more questions than answers? Let me help you find the hidden meaning behind the movie Hippo and also explain what the movie’s ending means.
The chamber thriller “Hippo” by British director Edward A. Palmer at the TMFF (The Monthly Film Festival) 2018 received the main prize in the nomination “Best Feature Film”. This is an intellectual movie that lacks symbolism or metaphor. Only pure psychology and accents on details scattered throughout the timing. “Hippo” is a psychological puzzle film in which all sorts of assumptions can be made from the behavior of the main characters and from fragments of dialogue. Therefore, the interpretation of the plot may be different.
What is the movie “Hippo” about?
There are two people in a gloomy basement room with brick walls: a girl of about 25, in shorts and a T-shirt, and a shaggy-looking, hairy guy. Ruby doesn’t understand how she got here. There is a bandage on his head, his knees are wrapped with bandages. The guy says that he kidnapped her, and his name is Thomas Allcraft. Gives painkillers, brings bed and food. He offers care, but not unselfishly. The girl must love him, otherwise she will not see freedom. You won’t be able to run: he cut her ligaments on her legs. And the island on which they are located is located 10 miles from the nearest settlement. Tom warns that only a real reciprocal feeling for him can save Ruby.
The confused and frightened hostage is not inclined to trust the “savior”. She decides to pretend to be indifferent and “turns on the actress”, but at the same time focuses on finding a way to get out of here. The intentions of the kidnapper with an ambiguous character and unclear behavioral motives are to win her over and win love without using violence and threats. A subtle psychological game begins. It is complicated by the fact that the memory returns fragmentarily to the girl. Ruby’s memories do not clarify anything, but only confuse. And Tom is so diligent and strange in helping her restore the past that Ruby is forced to question absolutely everything.
The guy tells the girl that she was born in Dorset, studied at the Faculty of Law. And then he offers all sorts of “scenarios” of the life of Miss Watts. It is obvious that Thomas wants her to remember only what is beneficial to him. The viewer needs to unravel the real past of the victim, as well as understand where the kidnapper is lying and where he is telling the truth.
By the end of the film, it becomes clear that Ruby managed to play along with Tom. After having sex, the guy thinks that he finally subjugated the girl to himself. However, the victim “turns on the kill mode” – holding a mirror fragment in his hand, attacks the kidnapper. He strikes and runs away, but passes out near the boat. The last scene of the film: in the hospital, Ruby learns about her successful operation. The doctor (with a bandaged neck) leaves the room and stares into the camera. We recognize him as Thomas Allcraft.
Interpretations of the meaning of the film “Hippo”
The semantic line of the film is built on the clash of two minds, on the subjective positions of the characters and the peculiarities of their psyche. Therefore, in the interpretation of current events, our perception of what we see is important. To complete the puzzle in your head, you need to go through three phases of the viewer’s perception. Carefully watch and analyze the actions and words of the characters, memorize the details, notice the contradictions. Try to put all the fragments of the plot together and look for inconsistencies. After watching, mentally scroll through the plot again. At the same time, it is important to remember about the author’s intention – to interfere with the search for the correct interpretation of what he saw, to misinform the viewer, to confuse angles, to pass off the subjective point of view of the characters as the truth.
Here are some story options:
- They were a couple while in college. They danced at the graduation, confessed their love to each other, but it was fleeting. Ruby left with another, and Tom had an obsession with getting his girlfriend back. To do this, now he used hypnosis, implanted in her exclusively positive memories of their past communication.
- Tom has dreamed of Ruby since childhood. He watched her from a distance, tried to be near, asked for a visit. She saw him as just a friend. Madly in love, in order to get the object of his adoration, he came up with and implemented this kidnapping plan many years ago. Tom is obsessed with Ruby, extremely devoted to her, and wants her love.
- Tom witnessed Ruby being raped by Nick’s flatmate. He fell into a rage and killed the offender of his beloved. In order not to get into the police, he fled to this island. He brought with him on a boat Ruby, who was unconscious. Tom believes that he does everything for the good of the girl. He sincerely believes that he will spend the rest of his life with Ruby.
- Ruby’s violent actions were committed by Tom, whom she had always rejected. And her boyfriend was killed. When he realized that the girl’s mind was damaged because of this, he decided to manipulate her memory. So he can build a relationship with her “from scratch”, make her fall in love with him. To prevent the truth from surfacing in Ruby’s mind, he altered her memories.
- They don’t have a common past. He is a maniac with a pathological need for love, which he does not know how to satisfy. He captivated her and drove her crazy with his sophisticated experiments.
- The heroine is in the hospital with a serious injury. In her mind, Tom is a collective image – a doctor or another person from the past: her boyfriend, neighbor, a random passerby who saved her. Perhaps there was no salvation, she herself killed the offender. Ruby can’t control her head. Due to damage to a special brain structure – the hippocampus (which she misleadingly calls the hippo) – incoherent delusional memories arise. The girl wants to break free and run away. After all, limited movements due to damage to the legs, staying in the confined space of the hospital give a feeling of lack of freedom.
The peculiarity of the puzzle film “Hippo” is that it does not contain any explanation or hint of what the story of the characters really is. The bottom line is that each of the versions for a particular viewer will be correct. You just get pieces with plot details and put them together in your own puzzle.
I hope I have helped you find the meaning of the movie “Hippo”, as well as understand its ending. If you have a different vision of the film, write your version in the comments.