‘Caged Wings’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Is Dan Dead Or Alive?


Caged Wings (also known as My Loneliness Has Wings) is a drama film that revolves around the life of a young artist, Dan. As a result of his traumatic childhood and the lack of parental figures in his life, Dan struggles to live a life of dignity. He does not have a safety net to fall back on, and his dreams gradually become almost impossible to achieve. Dan’s friends, Vio and Reno, were his only sources of happiness. Together, the trio would go on adventures and participate in petty crimes to earn a living. While life was not perfect for Dan, he had seen worse days to appreciate the little joy that he experienced. But his happiness was short-lived, and things started to change rapidly in his life.

Spoiler Alert

Why Had Dan’s father come back?

Dan loved his grandmother, and she was the only reason why he always returned home. Dan had no one else to call family, and he could not bear the thought of leaving town because of her. Every day, he made it a point to spend some time with her, and their relationship was adorable. Dan was out with his friends that night, as usual. Vio worked at a supermarket during the day, and her only respite was her best friends, Dan and Reno. Reno was flamboyant, and he enjoyed going after women way out of his league. There was an unmissable chemistry between Dan and Vio, but they chose to stick to being friends. Dan had built a reputation as a street artist, and that night, he was busy spray painting a wall. On his way back home, he noticed an ambulance outside his apartment building. The demise of his grandmother was difficult to cope with. He had lost the only person in his family who loved him unconditionally.

His father attended the funeral. He was in handcuffs, and he stood behind Dan. It was evident that Dan despised his father, and he was afraid of him being released from prison. His worst nightmare came true when, one morning, he returned home and found his father in his room. Tono went through all of Dan’s belongings and took away the money he had saved over the years. Dan realized his father was here to stay, and his past trauma started to haunt him again. He could not bear the thought of having to share space with his father, who had already made it clear that he was the one in charge.

We find out in Caged Wings that Dan’s mother used to be an artist, and his father was the reason for her downfall. She was an addict and, as a result, was mostly absent from Dan’s life. Tono used to deal drugs, and Dan blamed him for everything that went wrong in his life. It is through Dan’s art that we find out that he was repeatedly assaulted by his father when he was just a child. It took him years to overcome the trauma and live a normal life, and with Tono’s return, Dan found himself feeling anxious and caged once again. Dan knew he had only one option—to run away from his father. He packed his bag and took back his hidden stash that Tono had stolen. He also found drugs in Tono’s room and took them with him. Drugs had destroyed his childhood, and he instinctively threw away the packet. Dan planned to spend the next few days at Reno’s place and eventually travel to the hub of street art, Berlin.

Why did Dan and Vio skip towns?

Dan needed immediate cash to make it to Berlin, and their only option was to carry out another robbery. Vio and Reno were in the car, and they tried to break into the store. After multiple failed attempts, their car gave up. The store alarm had gone off, and they had very little time to rob the jewelry. Dan was desperate, and he managed to find a way to make it into the store. Vio repeatedly warned Reno and Dan that they were taking a huge risk, but Dan was not ready to listen. The police arrived at the scene. Reno tried to run away, but he was caught, and Vio was pinned to the ground. She assumed it was all over, but Dan knocked the police officer at the scene, and they ran for their lives. Vio was extremely disappointed in Dan for risking all of their lives, even after repeatedly warning him. Dan was eager to head to Berlin, and at that moment, maybe he only focused on the hopeful ending to his story. Dan and Vio had to skip towns to avoid getting arrested. Dan had attacked a police officer, and it was a crime that was not easy to get away with. They eventually ended up in Portugal, and they decided to stay low for a few days and wait for the storm to calm down.

Meanwhile, through the web, they found out Reno was released after he confessed to the police. He was yet to face trial. Vio had to destroy her SIM card to make sure that the police were unable to track their movement. Dan and Vio were on their own; even though they lived in constant fear of getting caught, they got the chance to get to know one another better. They could feel the romantic sparks when they were together, and eventually, they submitted to their emotions.

What resulted in Dan’s sudden change of plan?

After successfully pawning the stolen jewelry, Dan and Vio decided to stay at a hotel for the next three days. They made up their minds to contact Reno after watching a man get arrested at the hotel. The constant fear started to get to them, and they realized that only Reno could update them about the current condition. They found out that the police were still searching for them, and they would be in huge trouble if they got arrested. He also informed Dan that his father was back in prison after police discovered drugs at the apartment. Dan and Vio realized they had no choice but to wait it out.

We learn more about Vio’s life in Caged Wings. Her mother had passed away, and her only sister had moved out. She loved her sister, but over time, they drifted apart. Vio was also a lonely soul, and in Dan, she found comfort and companionship. Just as Vio started to imagine her future with Dan, he once again showed signs of uncontrollable rage. Dan became agitated upon hearing the shopkeeper reprimanding his son as they entered a department store to get liquor. He was reminded of his past trauma, and he reacted. Dan walked up to the man and repeatedly punched him in the face. All of a sudden, he saw his younger self asking him to stop. He came to his senses and realized the mistake he had made. Dan regretted not stopping the torture when he was a child, and he experienced fits of rage whenever he was reminded of the past. 

Vio realized that as long as she was with Dan, she would always be in trouble. She could not imagine running away from authority all her life, so she decided to head back home. The thought of not having Vio by his side pained him, and he realized how important it was for him to get a hold of his life. Vio, too, discovered all of Dan’s paintings in his diary. She was familiar with his past, but it was through his art that she felt the pain. He mostly used black in his paintings to denote the pain and void he felt, and it was only in painting Vio’s wings tattoo that he used colors. She brought joy into his life, and she realized that she did not want to walk away from him simply because he struggled with his mental health.

As they decided to head to Berlin soon, they received a call from Reno in the middle of the night. Reno informed Dan that his father was after him. He had sent people to bash Reno and find information on Dan. Tono believed that it was because of his son that he was arrested once again, and he desperately wanted to seek revenge. Now that his people knew where Dan was hiding, it was time for Dan and Vio to run for their lives once again. More than ending up in prison, Dan was afraid of his father’s wrath. They packed their belongings and left the hotel in the hopes of making it to Berlin.

How Did Dan Die?

When Dan and Vio attempted to leave the town, a drug dealer and his gang stopped them. The dealer had his eyes on Vio from the time that they arrived at the hotel. It was late at night, and there were barely any people around. They knew that the couple was helpless, and they tried to use it to their advantage. They got hold of Dan and attempted to rape Vio. At the end of Caged Wings, Dan somehow managed to free himself when, all of a sudden, the dealer stabbed him. They ran for their lives when they heard the police siren. Vio held Dan in her arms, and she screamed for help. At that moment, Vio felt completely helpless. No one responded to her as she watched Dan constantly lose blood. Berlin would forever remain a dream, or so it seemed. All his life, Dan ran away from people, and just when he was about to step into the life he believed would be rewarding, an unexpected threat took it all away from him.

Caged Wings does not end with Dan’s death. Instead, we see Vio working at a pub in Berlin. We are left to wonder if she arrived in the new city to live the life Dan had once dreamed of. All of a sudden, the projector at the pub was turned on, and Dan’s diary was on display. Quite unexpectedly, we hear Dan call out to Vio, and she walks out of the screen.

Caged Wings‘ ending hints at the possibility that Dan survived and made it to Berlin just like he had always imagined. It is also likely that after Dan’s demise, Vio decided to screen his work across Berlin, and maybe in his death, Dan finally found the freedom he had been searching for. Caged Wings leaves it up to the audience to decide the ending. Logically, it seems impossible that Dan survived and made it to Berlin, and maybe it was Vio imagining Dan by her side when his art finally had an audience. Both Dan and Vio were caged birds because of their circumstances. They wanted better lives for themselves, but it was their situation that made it impossible for them to do so. Dan was a talented artist, but he did not have the money to make it to the art scene. It was his situation that forced him to commit a crime, and that resulted in more terrible choices. Vio, too, was desperate to live her life on her own terms; she wanted to spread her wings and fly, but then again, she got trapped in her reality, where there seemed to be no escape. In the end, Vio finally gets to live freely in Berlin.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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