Black Crab, a Swedish movie on Netflix, succeeds admirably in what it sets out to do. Despite the appearance of a post-apocalyptic world, there has actually been a civil war. This is how the movie makes us think that the latter will ultimately lead to the former. Even the weather is used as a thematic component to emphasise how the world has become icy and unyielding, much like the people who inhabit it. A personal touch is added by Caroline Edh, for whom reaching her daughter Vanja is more important than actually delivering the canisters. Years ago, the enemies captured her, but it appears that she is still alive and is now on the other side of the archipelago.
Warning: Major Spoilers
Black Crab Plot Summary
A civil war is still raging. Colonel Raad (David Dencik) assigns Caroline Edh (Noomi Rapace) and five other soldiers, Captain Forsberg, Nylund (Jakob Oftebro), Malik (Dar Salim), Granvik (Erik Enge), and Karimi (Ardalan Esmaili), to transport two canisters from Tessenoy to Odo that will end the war. When Raad shows Caroline a photo of her long-lost daughter Vanja (Stella Klintberg), who appears to be alive and in Odo, Caroline declares it a suicide mission and becomes hesitant. She is persuaded by this enough to accept the mission. What comes next is a trip across the frozen archipelago that is extremely dangerous. They learn that the canisters contain a biological weapon that will not only end the war but also the entire world while they are travelling. Caroline is shot as well as the other four of them.
Nylund makes an attempt to flee while carrying the canisters at one point so he can detonate them. However, Caroline shoots him since she can only reach her daughter if she delivers the canisters to the opposing side. I suppose so. When soldiers from Odo arrive to rescue them, they are both still lying unconscious on the ice. However, it is at this point that Caroline learns that the image of her daughter was merely a ploy to get her to accept the assignment. She never visited Odo. Caroline, who is now lost and furious, makes the decision to detonate the canisters so that her daughter, if she is still alive and anywhere, can enjoy her life. The ultimate sacrifice is made by Caroline, who jumps off a cliff at the Odo base while carrying two tiny biological weapon vials wrapped around a grenade, destroying the biological weapons and dying herself in the process.
Not Just a Civil War
Vanja was stolen from Caroline by the enemy army during a civil war. We first notice this at the outset of Black Crab. As a result, it starts off precisely where a woman loses her child, letting us know that the rest of the movie would follow her quest to find her daughter or heal from the pain. Thus, a battle between the parts of her that think her daughter is still alive and the parts that think she has passed on continues inside of her as well. And the fact that a civil war is presented as a catastrophic occurrence is a reflection of Caroline’s pain, which is much worse than it appears. She has extensive combat experience, especially on skates. Like the back of her hand, she is familiar with the archipelago. She was first selected for this reason. She gives us a strong indication of her bravery and her exceptional presence of mind when she plunges into the icy water to save Forsberg, or at the very least to retrieve the canisters.
Caroline has questions about Nylund’s generosity as well. He was the one who brought her to the base of operations in Tessenoy, leaving her to die in the middle of the journey. As a result, she is currently engaged in an internal conflict over whether or not to trust Nylund, which could seriously jeopardise her objective. In this way, Caroline’s character is compelled to ponder about war.
The goal for Caroline is to find her daughter. And her ticket is in the containers. As a result, she doesn’t stop until she finds Odo. Caroline instantly aims a rifle at Karimi when she sees him using the radio because she believes he is a spy. According to Karimi, he was attempting to get in touch with his girlfriend, who was supposed to be at base F28, one of the bases that had just been bombed. She doesn’t settle down until Nylund, who assumes leadership when Forsberg passes away, tells them to let Karimi travel with them.
Karimi is later killed in a crossfire between the five of them and the elderly couple, who are working for the enemy, as they take cover in their home. They then hear a message on their radio after some time has passed. Karimi’s girlfriend is the one who is searching for him, proving that he didn’t lie and that they were mistaken to disbelieve him. Granvik regrets treating Karimi as a liar, but Christine upholds their prior judgement to mistrust Karimi by stating that it is impossible to know for sure whether the woman was actually his girlfriend. They were all unaware of her. So, anyone could have been the woman on the radio.
We frequently rely on the bad aspects of things that can prevent us from remorse when we are feeling guilty. Christine is acting in this manner. She is aware that the woman on the radio was most likely Karimi’s girlfriend. She notes that the woman could have been anyone, possibly even the enemy who may have intercepted Karimi’s messages, in order to avoid letting herself, and most likely the others, wallow in guilt and waste time. She attempts to bring everyone back to reality in this way. She is clearly committed to her mission, but isn’t that just a cloak? She is only delivering the canisters because she thinks doing so will enable her to retrieve her daughter. Her daughter-related nightmares and hallucinations serve to confirm this even further. If she hadn’t been told about her daughter, would she still be thus obedient? Most likely not. This is due to the fact that when she first learned about the assignment, we were able to see her hesitation.
Nylund aims to destroy the canister since he knows what is inside. In fact, perhaps this is why he abandoned Caroline in the vehicle, where she was later killed by a group of homeless people. He is aware that Caroline is capable of completing the task, and that if she succeeds, the world will end. He was probably waiting for the proper opportunity to flee with the canisters, but he was unable to do so when Caroline was shot. In the end, Caroline sees the greater picture and helps Nylund steal and destroy the biological weapons, so his faith is repaid.
With the help of Nylund’s persona, Caroline has been put to the test and the audience has learned more about her. He was the one who abandoned Caroline in the vehicle for the savages to kill her. Here, we learned about her credentials and experience. Later, Caroline began to doubt Nylund’s authority due to his absence from the meeting. Here, we learned more about her dubious taste. We see her obstinate personality once more when she carries the canisters with her and continues to go in the direction of Odo in spite of a wounded Nylund’s attempts to persuade her of the truth of the containers.
Caroline’s trust isn’t rewarded, but Nylund’s is. And this is what the movie aspires to maintain. She arrives at Odo wounded and frail, only to learn that her daughter was never there and was all a ruse to get Caroline to agree to the mission. She is confronted with complete dishonesty in this situation, which she shares some of the blame for. Despite the fact that there was no hard evidence to support it, she kept persuading herself that her daughter was still alive. She wasn’t even interested in listening to Nylund when he revealed the facts to her regarding the canisters. She has now lost all hope of locating her daughter and endangered millions of lives all around the world, leaving her helpless.
Black Crab Ending Explained: Is Vanja Alive?
The way the movie builds up leads us to believe—along with Caroline—that she will eventually see her daughter. She does not, though. Not always do we succeed in finding what we are seeking for. Maybe finding what we’re seeking for is uncommon. Here, we are taught that the truth is always preferable to doubt, regardless of how painful it may be. If we learned that Vanja had passed away, we would feel Caroline’s pain. However, by keeping Vanja’s condition a secret, the movie seems to be trying to convey to viewers that, much like life itself, many things in life are frequently unknown. And Caroline is the vehicle the movie uses to make this point.
We don’t necessarily have to consider the bad aspects of things, though. Caroline clings to faith in order to escape the uncertainty. She now leans more toward the positive side of things than she did in the past. She is convinced that her daughter is still alive someplace, and that destroying the biological weapon’s vials is the only way to guarantee her survival. With no other option, she gives up her life to destroy them in the hope that her daughter would be free to pursue the life she wishes.
In the film Black Crab’s last scene, Caroline is shown cuddling Vanja, her daughter, in the freezing sea. There are two possible interpretations of this incident. It either demonstrates that no matter how much conflict and bloodshed there is in the world, a mother’s and her child’s love will always be the same. Vanja may already be deceased, or another possibility. And after Caroline passes away, they are reunited in the afterlife. Although the latter perspective seems absurd, it allows us to see the positive aspects of both this world and the one that will follow.
Adam Berg is the director of the 2022 Swedish action thriller Black Crab.