Michael

Thoughts on, and a place to discuss, the plot details we can't reveal in our review

While I acknowledge that the misdirection and lack of explicitness in Michael is generally a strength, the ending extends that strategy to a perverse, borderline-sadistic degree. After the pedophile dies in the car accident on his way to the hospital, we know the boy is still back at his place, locked in the basement, waiting to be discovered. Though the basement has been stocked like a fallout shelter, with a water source and many Cup-A-Soups, viewers cannot be sure, by the end, that the kid is alive and well, and director Markus Schleinzer makes them suffer egregiously. We see Fuith’s wrecked car being removed from the ditch. We see his funeral services, presumably a few days later, with his oblivious pastor and his oblivious family eulogizing him. And then, more torturously, we see his mother and brother sifting through his home, boxing things up, and doing virtually everything but cracking open that weirdly barricaded room in the basement. (The mother is seen actually passing it, rifling through a few more things, then going back upstairs.) When the mother finally does open the door, Schleinzer cuts to black, leaving unanswered the question of whether the boy survived. It’s probably the right decision on Schleinzer’s part to not answer the question that’s been running through our minds for the last 10 minutes of the movie, but I would expect some loud exhales from theatergoers when the credits start to roll.