Warning: Spoilers and plot points revealed. Read AFTER movie.
I came out from this movie with a lot of different ideas about the symbolism presented in the movie, but I had no idea there were so many different ways to interpret it until I read the IMDB comments. I will not go into all the other interpretations presented here, but they are certainly worth reading. It’s a story about society, the mind, reality, death, pain, anxiety, love, art, hopelessness, fear and almost everything that can be put in a movie coherently. Not only is it a masterpiece, it was, to me, such a deeply profound movie that it opened up a whole new way of seeing the world, and reality.
I believe most of the events and situations in the film represent abstract symbolic feelings and emotions that can be applied to our normal lives. The train scene can represent the anxiety about death, injury and the vivid imagination we can have about how we die or how scary violent and gruesome events can be. His life there can represent depression and alienation from the unknown world that we are surrounded with, and the train scene can be our fear of death that stops us from committing suicide and thus go back to our less than optimal lives.
It also tells us reality is cruel in its neutrality, it does not know nor care about any living organisms in its path, and its destructive force can be brutal and unrelenting in its ignorance. We as humans must deal with this random reality, and we have to live with the pain and violence that may meet us at some point, and which does indeed strike many people everyday. The way the train stops when Andreas is lying on the tracks tells me even more about how cruel and random the world can be, it doesn’t just let you die, it rubs it in in the worst possible way.
Andreas’ return home as a bloody mess only to be met by a neutral girlfriend who asks if they want to go go-karting can represent the feeling of despair we can feel inside, but are unable to communicate to others nor get a response from them. The hole in the wall can similarly be an abstract hope of all the good things one can experience, the positive euphoric possibilities granted by reality, which is not all bad, but all extreme poles of evil and bad, to good and blissful euphoria. Finally the finger cutting scene is a perfect example of how we have to experience every sensation – brutal pain included, and the desperate feeling of seeing your finger cut off (and the shocking surprise of actually realizing what is happening) but reality remains static and uneventful even so. You are alone, completely alone, in your experience.
The movie tries to be neutral, the way I see it, but there is underneath the obvious dystopia, an even more fundamental despair. The fact that he is left in an icy snow world as an immortal is beyond cruel, because he will feel frost and solitude, but never die presumably. This can also symbolize how some people are completely rejected from society.
The movie was to me extremely scary. It was among many things a psychological and existential horror movie.
I am glad I saw it, but I also regret it, because ignorance can sometimes be a GOOD thing.