In order to comprehend this movie, you gotta remember what a kaleidoscope is. You shake it and the picture changes, you shake it once more and the picture changes again, and again. The picture is always different, but the pieces of colored glass inside the kaleidoscope always remain the same. That’s actually what you see in the movie – the events are always the same, but Carl’s mind shakes and distorts them over and over again. My guess is that watching movies with non-linear or distorted storyline would be of much help in developing the understanding of such stuff (and ultimately a taste for it )). I’m talking movies like ‘Memento’, ‘Irréversible’, ‘Los cronocrímenes’, even ‘Pulp Fiction’!
Here is the outline of what happens:
[spoiler]Carl is living with his mom and dad. One day his dead disappears for quite some time – maybe he’s in jail, maybe he’s doing some work abroad, that’s really not that important for the story. During his dad’s absence, Carl develops an incestual relationship with his mother.
Eventually, his dad returns, Carl gets drunk, probably jealous, alcohol ‘sends him off’, Carl kills his dad. For that he goes to jail deeply regretting what he’d done. He still loves his dad and keeps a photograph of him and a kaleidoscope, a gift from his dad. While Carl is in jail his mother dies.
After being released Carl settles in the apartment we see him in during the movie. He’s a lonely guy and tries to establish some relationship with this girl, Abby. He invites her home, but unfortunately, she mixes his juice with alcohol which once again ‘sends him off’. Him being ‘send off’ results in some kind of a fight and Abby’s broken leg. Abby leaves. The next morning Carl is unable to remember certain parts of the night before and quickly spirals into some sort of psychological delusion in which his mother visits him, blackmails him etc. Carl starts suspecting that he actually might have killed Abby. Luckily enough that’s not the case.[/spoiler]
I like your explanation, but I think it's missing a few things.
[spoiler]First of all, some loose ends I couldn't figure out:
1. What was Abby doing searching around the home? It seemed the "cyberdate" was a scam planned by both her and her husband Wesley.
2. Who pounded on the door the morning he wakes up disoriented? He goes out but there's no one, and his neighbour also refers to that into the movie.
My take on the movie: It seems that Abby didn't like her husband (~25m) and she started to be keen on Carl ("Do you wanna know why I chose you? Because you looked like a pushover (...) I actually think you're alright.", while crying a bit, she also tells her real name). She ended staying at Carl's home. That's why the husband comes looking for her (~50m), and when we see Aileen hiding upstairs it's, in fact, Abby. The scene when Carl gets into bed with Abby and it turns out it's her mother (~54m) is also misleading, but it's the key moment of the movie. It's, again, Abby, she even "explains" that Carl asked her to stay. Carl then throws who he thinks is his mother out of the house, breaking her foot when pushing her downstairs (again, that's Abby, as we find out at the end). If you look closely, you can even see it's Abby pounding on the door through the glass.
> "While Carl is in jail his mother dies."
Not really. The call is real (Abby asks who was it on the phone) and it might have been the trigger of Carl's delusion. I thought that Abby looked a lot like a young version of Carl's mother. So in the end, the movie is about Carl's mind playing tricks on him because of the incestual relationship with his mother.
The movie does not show a clear timeline, hence the loose ends and plot holes (which can be justified because Carl's mind is a mess), but the most obvious explanation is that we are misled when the movie shows us Aileen when, in fact, it's Abby most of the time (at least until he throws her out of the house with a broken foot).[/spoiler]
1. Yes, you're right. She was looking for some stuff, valuable objects etc.
2. No idea )) Police maybe? Angry husband? I personally thought his neighbor was referring to the events of the night when Abby (seen as Carl's mother) was thrown out and then started pounding on the door.
>> "While Carl is in jail his mother dies."
> Not really.
True. I personally think his mother didn't visit him at all because of his straight and radical answer to her call. However, later he tells Abby that his mother is dead... This is probably because he just doesn't want to do anything with her and prefers to think of her as being dead. But... somehow I just stuck to the idea of his mother being dead for real.