Hippopotamus (2018) Movie Review with Ending Explained


“Hippopotamus” is a film that delves into the complexities of human psychology, memory, and the blurred lines between reality and manipulation. The 2018 indie thriller, directed by Edward Palmer, presents a gripping narrative that keeps the audience questioning the truth until the very end.

The movie introduces us to Ruby, portrayed by Ingvild Deila, who wakes up in a stark white room, her knees bandaged, and no recollection of how she got there. Stuart Mortimer plays Thomas, the enigmatic figure who informs her that he has kidnapped her and will only release her once she falls in love with him. What unfolds is a psychological chess game that explores themes of Stockholm syndrome, love, and the power of memory.

The cinematography of “Hippopotamus” is one of its standout features, with beautifully composed shots that add to the film’s eerie atmosphere. The performances are compelling, particularly Deila’s portrayal of Ruby, which anchors the film’s emotional core.

However, the film’s strength also lies in its ability to provoke discussion. It leaves viewers with more questions than answers, encouraging them to piece together the puzzle of Ruby’s past and the true nature of Thomas’s intentions. The ending, particularly, has been a topic of debate, with its open-ended nature sparking various theories and interpretations among viewers.

While some may find the lack of concrete resolution frustrating, it is this ambiguity that makes “Hippopotamus” a fascinating watch. It challenges the audience to engage with the narrative actively, to question the reliability of perception, and to confront the unsettling notion that our memories and experiences may not always be what they seem.

Ending Explained (Spoiler Alert!)

Ruby and Tom had enjoyed a loving relationship for years. When they attended different colleges, Tom planned to visit her one weekend but missed his train. Ruby, feeling upset, got drunk at a bar with her roommate. When Tom failed to appear, they decided to walk home. It was clear the roommate harbored feelings for her, questioning at the bar why they hadn’t become involved. Later, in a state of inebriation, he made an unwanted advance. Ultimately, Ruby lost consciousness.

Ultimately, Tom catches up with them and finds them in the act. He assaults the man and ultimately kills him. Realizing that she is traumatized and now suffers from retrograde amnesia, Tom, determined not to lose his love, takes her to a secluded island where they can live on an abandoned farm. He dedicates what seems like years to helping her recover her memories and return to a healthy state before the incident occurred.

He keeps trying various methods to revive her. When they fail, he allows her to oversleep and “resets” her to start over. The movie opens at a point where he is on the verge of succeeding. As the story unfolds, we witness Rudy’s memory gradually returning. By the end, she realizes their mutual love. However, the plan fails once more because she overslept, causing another memory reset. This leads her to attempt to kill him and flee on a rowboat. Recall her mentioning recurring nightmares of drowning and being rescued by a man? Those aren’t dreams; they’re memories. She has previously escaped and attempted the same, only to fall into the water and be retrieved by Tom. Without memory, we resort to instinct, so she invariably heads for the boat, unaware she has tried this before.

In the movie’s final scenes, she’s back in the room, and this time, Tom poses as a doctor, employing a new technique to heal her. The film concludes with the revelation of his unwavering dedication to her recovery, even if it takes his entire life.

In the Nutshell

“Hippopotamus” is a thought-provoking film that may not cater to everyone’s tastes but offers a unique experience for those willing to embrace its unconventional storytelling and psychological intrigue. It’s a movie that might require multiple viewings to fully appreciate the intricacies of its plot and the subtleties of its character dynamics. For fans of indie thrillers that push the boundaries, “Hippopotamus” is certainly a film to watch. [4 out of 5].

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Genre: Psychological Thriller

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