Girl in the Fog ending mystery: who killed Anna Lu. “The Girl in the Fog” (2017): who is the killer, the plot, the meaning of the ending, the content, similar films
Country: Italy, France, Germany
Genre: detective, drama
Year of production: 2017
Directed by: Donato Carrisi
Actors: Jean Reno, Toni Servillo, Alessio Boni, Galatea Ranzi and others
The plot and meaning of the film “The Girl in the Fog” (“La ragazza nella nebbia”), filmed by the writer Donato Carrisi based on his own book, turned out to be no less fascinating than the novel itself, which received the status of a bestseller. Both works successfully confuse the viewer and offer a shocking, but somewhat crumpled ending.
What is the movie about
In an Italian town formerly popular with tourists, but now little visited, a schoolgirl named Anna Lou goes missing. It is unknown if she was killed or kidnapped. Devout parents give a description of their daughter. According to them, Anna Lu is diligent and chaste. And she disappeared on her way to a meeting of a religious group, which she regularly attended.
Tony Servillo as Agent Vogel. Frame from the film.
The famous agent Vogel arrives to investigate the case. It quickly becomes clear to him that someone she knew was involved in the disappearance of the girl, and it is unlikely that the unfortunate woman is still alive. The investigator is also sure that the girl had secrets from her parents. For example, the diary they provided was clearly a distraction and there was another one that the schoolgirl trusted with her true thoughts and feelings.
The viewer is introduced to Vogel’s methods. It quickly becomes clear that he has an unusual investigative manner. He has little interest in evidence and elaboration of versions. The meaning of his approach is skillful pressure on the alleged criminal with the help of the media. So the investigator makes the villain nervous and make mistakes on which he can be caught. Such tactics have already helped him in the capture of another criminal, with the help of which Vogel became famous.
The investigator is lucky: he meets a guy named Mattia, who suffers from a mental disorder and who constantly watched Anna Lu with a video camera, feeling like a kind of guardian angel. One of the videos showed an SUV. The man inside him seemed to be spying on the girl too. The owner of the SUV is Professor Loris Martini, who teaches at the school where Anna Lu studied. He has no alibi: on the day the girl disappeared, he supposedly went for a walk in the mountains, and after returning he behaved suspiciously.
However, Vogel could not find direct evidence of Professor’s guilt and did not particularly look for it. Instead, he gave the recording to reporters. Thanks to television, Martini became a criminal to the public. Vogel, meeting with him face to face, offered to justify himself, which the professor did not. Then the investigator, in order to frame the teacher, took advantage of a small blood stain from a cut on Martini’s hand, which he allegedly accidentally left on the table.
Alessio Boni as Professor Loris Martini. Frame from the film.
The professor is taken into custody. However, Vogel receives a number of messages about Martini’s innocence, the author of which is journalist Beatrice Leman, who has been investigating murders with a characteristic hand for many years. More than thirty years ago, girls who had external similarities and looked like Anna Lu disappeared. It seems that at that time a maniac nicknamed the Man from the Fog (hence: “The Girl in the Fog”) was operating, and now he has returned to continue his atrocities. If this is so, Professor Martini has nothing to do with it, because in those years he lived in a different place and was still a child.
The woman gives Vogel the real diary of the girl, which was sent by the killer. In it, the investigator finds a photograph depicting the place where the video cassette is hidden. The video shows a message from Anna’s killer. He filmed himself and the captive girl on camera, showing in the frame a photograph of the building in which he was at that moment. Vogel goes there and tries to destroy the videotape, indirectly proving Martini’s innocence in the kidnapping of the girl, but is caught at the crime scene by journalists. It turns out that they received a similar message from the kidnapper.
Vogel is removed from the case, and all suspicions are removed from Martini. Further, we see that this was precisely the meaning of the professor’s actions. He got the opportunity to earn big money by giving interviews to journalists and entering into a contract to write a book with his version of events. Martini is the real kidnapper and killer of the girl in the fog.
He lured Anna Lou with a story about a lost cat, and then killed her in cold blood. Then he deliberately aroused suspicion, but prudently got rid of direct evidence, leaving only circumstantial evidence of his guilt. After that, Martini provoked Vogel to misconduct and framed him in front of journalists.
Jean Reno as Augusto Flores. Frame from the film.
It would seem that Agent Vogel lost. But when he came to the TV show, where his conversation with Martini was to take place, he saw the drawn letter “o” on the wrist of the latter. Exactly the same, judging by the entries in this diary, Anna Lu also depicted on her left hand. This is a sign of sympathy for a guy she likes named Oliver.
The drawing on Martini’s hand is not a miscalculation, but the so-called deliberate mistake of the killer. This is what criminals do to tickle their nerves, realizing that otherwise everything will go too smoothly for them. After seeing the drawing and being thus fully convinced of the Martini’s fault, Vogel kills the Martini and fakes his accident. Immediately after the incident, the investigator is called to the psychiatrist Augusto Flores, during a conversation with whom the agent confesses to the murder of the teacher.
During the conversation, we learn something about Augusto: after a heart attack that happened to him thirty years ago, he became interested in catching fish of the same species – rainbow trout. In the end, we learn the key to this hobby: fishing has become a kind of sublimation for the psychiatrist – a replacement for the mania for killing girls with similar facial features.
Who is the killer
Anna Lu was killed by Martini – the viewer was shown the truth that Vogel guessed. The rest of the “girls in the fog” were killed thirty years ago by Augusto Flores. We learn about this at the very end of the film, when we see six red curls in his box.
Some viewers are perplexed by this interpretation, because, in their opinion, there were only six girls! In their analysis, they indicate that Betrice Leman spoke only about five red-haired schoolgirls who were killed in the past. But no – it seems that the director wanted to catch the audience for inattention: the journalist really talked about five girls who were kidnapped before Katya Hilman, who became the sixth. Accordingly, Anna Lu in a series of similar crimes was the seventh victim. This explanation of the ending is also consistent with Donato Carrisi’s book The Girl in the Fog.
Martini killed Anna Lou for money, hinted at throughout the film, starting with the financial situation of the professor’s family, ending with a repetition of his quote: “In literature, murders are committed out of hatred, in life, more often because of money.”
Toni Servillo as Vogel, Lorenzo Riquelmi as Borghi. Frame from the film.
The meaning of the film
There is no hidden meaning that would turn everything upside down in The Girl in the Fog. The explanation that is given to the viewer is quite exhaustive, albeit crumpled. However, in the content of the story, or rather, in the professor’s intention, there are many assumptions: that it is Vogel who will come to solve the case of the girl’s disappearance in the fog; that Vogel will go on a forgery, taking advantage of Martini’s blood; that journalists would catch Vogel hiding evidence, and that the videotape would outweigh other circumstantial evidence of the teacher’s guilt. Only when all these circumstances coincided, Martini was able to get away with it.
However, The Girl in the Fog is still not a standard detective story. The emphasis is not on the evidence, although with the help of them the director tried to confuse the viewer, but on the main idea: vanity makes you make mistakes that can turn into a tragedy. As repeatedly repeated in the film, this is the most stupid (in the original, most likely, the meaning is “the most cunning”) of the sins of the devil. This is the essence of the film.
Driven by a thirst for fame, of which he had already received a fraction, Vogel did not even think of conducting a real investigation: he used the media and the opinion of the public dependent on them for his own purposes. As a result, Martini circled him around his finger.
In this sense, the professor is no better: he had little money, vanity forced him to make a drawing on his left hand in order to show off at least in front of Vogel (probably, it was not without reason that the teacher took just such a pose in the television studio). What’s the point of a clever scam if no one knows about it? In the end, the professor paid with his life.
Frame from the film.
Thanks to Beatrice Lehman, who did not ask for money, but dreamed of receiving a public apology, the detectives went on the wrong trail on behalf of the killer.
But the maniac Augusto Flores remained at large, probably having lived quite happily for the last thirty years. All this time, he sublimated his vanity by collecting rainbow trout, associating prey with the girls he once killed.
- The Girl in the Labyrinth (Italy, 2019): another adaptation of Donato Corrisi’s own book;
- The Invisible Guest (Spain, 2016): brilliant European new wave detective story; the lawyer tries to understand whether the client is guilty;
- Gone Girl (USA, 2014): puzzle thriller from master David Fincher;
- Captives (USA, 2013): dark detective drama; father takes on investigation of missing daughter
- Crimson Rivers (France, 2000): detective starring Jean Reno.