The Body Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

“Death is not always the end”: deciphering the thriller The Body (2012): the plot of the film meaning, explanation of the ending.

Country: Spain

Genre: Thriller, Detective, Crime

Year of production: 2012

Directed by: Oriol Paolo

Actors: Jose Coronado, Hugo Silva, Belen Rueda

tagline: “Death is not always the end”

Oriol Paolo gained wide popularity after the release of such films as “The Invisible Guest” and “During a Thunderstorm”. His works are distinguished by high-quality suspense and a plot with unexpected twists. This, much less well-known tape, which is a gloomy thriller-detective in the style of Hitchcock, was no exception. The meaning of the film “The Body” (El cuerpo) is that nothing just happens and you need to answer for your every action.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the content of the film “The Body”. In the center of the plot is the chemist Alex Ulloa. A young, attractive man was married to Mike Villaverde, the owner of a pharmaceutical company. The wife was much older than Alex, but this did not interfere with their marriage: the guy played the role of a loving husband, and when circumstances allowed, he spent time with a young mistress. Mike didn’t notice. Or pretended to.

Hugo Silva, Belen RuedaHugo Silva played the role of Alex Ulloa, Belen Rueda played the role of Mikey. Frame from the film.

After returning from a business trip, a woman suddenly dies of a heart attack. Her body is placed in the morgue, but it soon disappears. The police become interested in this strange, creepy case only when the department receives a recording made from surveillance cameras. They show a night watchman who, as if frightened of something, suddenly ran out of the mortuary directly onto the roadway and was hit by a car.

Inspector Jaime Peña takes over the investigation of the accident. Soon he learns about the disappearance of Mikey’s body from the mortuary and establishes contact with Alex. The young man does not look heartbroken and almost immediately turns the inspector against himself: Peña is convinced that he is guilty of both the death of the woman and the disappearance of her body. In the involuntary hostility that the inspector feels for the suspect, there is also a personal motive – he does not like that he accepted the death of his wife too easily. Peña himself also lost his wife in an accident 10 years ago and still has not come to terms with her death. Most of all, he is oppressed by the thought that the driver left the scene. If he had stayed or simply called for help, Ruth might well have been saved.

In the widower’s belongings, the policeman finds a small bottle labeled “TH-16”. This is a toxin that causes a heart attack after eight hours and leaves no trace in the blood. It was produced by a pharmaceutical company owned by Mike. His suspicions slowly turn into certainty: Peña believes that Alex could have poisoned his wife.

Ulloa himself denies any involvement in the possible murder. Moreover, he has a strange idea: his wife is actually alive. Allegedly, she guessed that he had a mistress and simply simulated death in order to take revenge on him. Instead of a dangerous toxin, a woman could drink an antipsychotic and that is why she was considered dead.

Jose CoronadoThe role of Jaime Peña was played by Jose Coronado. Frame from the film.

After listening to this, Inspector Peña, an old seasoned wolf, is only more convinced that the guy is trying to evade responsibility. Unable to withstand police pressure, Alex suffers from waking nightmares – he sees Mike everywhere. More and more convinced that she is actually alive, he tries to reproduce in his memory the events of those days that preceded her “death”.

The further the plot develops, the clearer it becomes that the interpretation of Alex has the right to exist. Maika was, to put it mildly, a complex person. Strong, intelligent, independent, in a relationship with a young and handsome, but less successful husband, she occupied a dominant position. Often resorting to psychological abuse, she caused Alex great pain. The man depended on her financially, but constant humiliation often made him think about killing his wife.

This thought took root in him when he met Karla and initiated her into his plans. He did not dare to file for divorce – in this case, he would lose the right to the vast inheritance of his despotic wife … Suddenly, a terrible thought dawns on the young man: Carla may be in danger. He informs the inspector about this, to which he reports that Carla is the fruit of his sick imagination. He is responsible for the death of his wife, period.

In desperation, Alex seeks support from his mistress and spends the evening with her. But the darkness around him is gradually thickening…

Ending explanation

The explanation for the ending of The Body is pretty simple. Toward the end of the film, the police detain Alex, whose health deteriorates sharply after dinner with his mistress. The car in which he is with the inspector is driving through the forest.

Looking out the window, the young man sees the body of his wife. This frightens him to such an extent that he, no matter how bad it may be, loses control of himself. Being in a state of passion, he tries to run, but the inspector overtakes him.

At the end comes the moment of truth. Left alone with the suspect, Peña tells him about a ten-year-old car accident, witnessed by his daughter Eva in addition to him. Not so long ago, she remembered the details that directly indicate that the perpetrators of the death of her mother were Mike and Alex.

Peña shows the young man a photo of his daughter and he is horrified: the picture shows Carla! Alex gets worse and worse, and the inspector explains that everything that happened to him is the result of his plan with his daughter. They stole Mikey’s body from the morgue and subtly framed it. At the end, Peña “finishes off” Alex with the message that Eva/Karla added the TH-16 toxin to his wine. Now he will die, and the cause of death will be declared a heart attack due to stress.

The meaning of the ending of the film “The Body” is that in this way the inspector took revenge on the killers of his wife, who 10 years ago did not suffer the deserved punishment.

Aura GarridoThe role of Carla Miller was played by Aura Garrido. Frame from the film.

The meaning of the film

In their reviews of The Body, many viewers note that Oriol Paolo relies on the classic play of perspectives. This is what allowed him to create an interesting, very dark and sinister story. There is no hidden meaning and philosophical ideas in it: the director simply appeals to the eternal themes of revenge, hatred and lies. But this approach, oddly enough, still works.

The meaning of everything that is happening is simple: in fact, everything is not as it seems. The interaction of different points of observation feeds this mechanism on which the “Body” builds its layered structure.

Thanks to the skillful play of memories built into the story, the director allows the viewer to discover events that took place in the distant, not-so-distant past – this is where the key to everything that happens lies.

Paolo skillfully plays with the audience: for the first half of the film, we are sure that we are being told a story about ghosts and, perhaps, about guilt. However, “The Body” is not a detective story, since the killer is known almost from the very beginning. This is a psychological thriller. It has dark nooks of the past, long corridors and mise-en-scenes in which one can easily share the hero’s uncertainty about what is happening.

To further complicate the plot, the director introduces flashbacks to the characters’ past lives. The point of this is to show how the past often has an almost paralyzing effect on the present. Perhaps this is the essence of the film. Yes, this is definitely not a story about betrayal or about the dangers of an unequal marriage – for Paolo it is too simple. But we have to admit that the hackneyed postulate “you have to pay for everything” in this picture is played out very gracefully.

body in the morgueFrame from the film.

Similar films

Here are a few pictures similar in meaning to “The Body”:

  • “The Invisible Guest” (Spain, 2016). Adrian is accused of killing his mistress. A young man resorts to the services of Virginia, a lawyer known for her specific defense methods.
  • “Gone Girl” (USA, 2014). On the day of the celebration of the next wedding anniversary, the wife of the protagonist suddenly disappears. He begins to look for her, simultaneously unraveling a terrible case.
  • “Insight” (USA, Mexico, 2010). Julia suffers from a progressive eye disease. Having learned that her twin sister committed suicide, she, despite the onset of blindness, independently investigates her death.
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