‘The Hanging Sun’ Ending, Explained: Who Murdered Aaron? Does John Confront His Father?


Francesco Carrozzini’s “The Hanging Sun” is visually gratifying but devoid of a gripping script to keep the interest going. The plot is predictable, and the narrative is ordinary, making this an average watch. The protagonist, John, runs away from his father and brother. He was groomed to be a hitman, but he now realizes that he does not want to associate himself with the life that he was forced to live. “The Hanging Sun” is about John’s journey to an unnamed village where the sun never sets. While the location and name of the village remain unknown, through the conversations, we get to know that the village is literally on the “edge of the world.”

Spoilers Ahead

Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

After being forced to live the life of a hitman, John decides to leave his controlling gangster father and his pitiless brother. Instead of carrying out the task his father asked him to, he decided to escape. Not only did his brother, Michael, have to take care of his unfinished business, but he also was entrusted with the duty of bringing home John. Michael pulled out his gun when he confronted John. He did not care about carrying out his father’s wish; he simply wanted to seek revenge on John. John was his adopted brother, and he was envious of the relationship John shared with their father. John got hold of Michael, and even though he could have easily killed Michael, he chose not to. He packed his bag and left home. Meanwhile, after Michael came to his senses, he burned down John’s house. Their father was disappointed in Michael’s reaction and demanded he do what he was asked to. He explained that even though John had made the mistake of disowning his family, as a father, it was his duty to forgive him.

After traveling for hours, John arrived at a sparsely populated village. While resting at the local church, a little boy walked up to him and asked him to evacuate the place since it belonged to his grandfather. In his search for a house, John walks up to the boy’s mother and asks her to find him a place to stay there. It was not usual for a stranger to come to the village, which is why John raised immediate suspicion among the villagers. Nonetheless, Lea helped the man by guiding him to the hunter’s cabin. The boy, Caleb, had grown fond of the stranger and followed John to the cabin. The village was governed by the pastor of the church, Jacob. He used the fear of the villagers to dominate them and propagate orthodox beliefs among them. John’s sudden entry into the village threatened the villagers and Jacob. John’s growing proximity to Lea and her son was looked down upon. He not only had to hide away from Michael, but he also had to look after the people he started to care about during the course of his journey. Does John confront his father in the end? What holds in the future for Lea and John?

‘The Hanging Sun’ Ending Explained: Who Murdered Aaron? Does John Confront His Father?

Lea was regularly abused by her husband, Aaron. The night Aaron went missing, he physically abused Lea and pushed Caleb to the ground. While she had been tolerating her husband’s temper for long, she could not accept his behavior towards Caleb and asked him to leave the house. He left in their boat, and only his beanie was later found. It was assumed that Aaron had died in the sea, and the villagers gathered to commemorate his death. Lea did not feel remorse after learning about her husband’s sudden death. She was rather relieved, knowing that the monster would no longer trouble her. While Lea thought her life would get better now, she soon had to deal with Aaron’s twin brother, Nicholas. The twin brother presented himself as being more thoughtful than Aaron, but it was all just a pretense. It is later revealed that Aaron died because the drain plugs in the boat were left open. Lea was working on the boat before Aaron used it that night. Clearly, she had planned his death to get away from the abuse.

Meanwhile, Michael reached the village where John was hiding. He came across Caleb and Lea and questioned them about John’s whereabouts. While Caleb denied knowing the man, Lea smartly tackled the situation. She directed them away from the village by stating that the man in the picture had left. Lea had no reason to protect John, but she did so because her son was fond of the stranger, and she trusted his opinion regarding the man’s character. With few words exchanged, there was a feeling of trust between John and Lea. Neither did she know what he was running away from nor was he aware of her truth, but somehow, they realized that they could count on each other. Growing up watching his father abuse his mother, Caleb never had a father figure he could look up to. He connected with John from the moment he met him. He knew that the man needed help, and he somehow concluded that he was a good person. Jacob was unimpressed by John’s closeness with his daughter and grandson. As the pastor of the village, he believed it was his responsibility to keep the vices away. He feared that outsiders could spoil the sanctity and destroy the mindset of the people living there. He wanted John to leave as soon as he could.

“The Hanging Sun” constantly brings up memories, and we get to know that John had murdered a man without knowing that he had a toddler in the next room. The fact that he snatched the father from a child’s life is something he perhaps was never able to forgive himself for. He had lost his parents at a young age and was later adopted by his gangster father. He was always told that the people who choose to be with him are the ones who truly love him. Caleb showed him the meaning of affection and care. Even though they were unrelated, the little boy cared about the stranger’s well-being, something that was new for John to comprehend. He chose to be with John.

Lea was aware of how talking to John was looked down upon by the rest of the village, yet she could not get enough of the stranger. After spending years living in the captivity of her father and his rules, Lea dared to take the music tape out of a suitcase she kept it hidden in. His presence gave her the strength to do the things she loved but feared. She listened to “Summer Wine,” and she could finally experience the happiness she had been denied all this time. Her happiness was short-lived, as Jacob soon announced that she must marry Nicholas. Meanwhile, John, too, received his passport and money from his sources. It was his time to leave, and he offered to take Lea and Caleb with him. Lea declined his offer; she believed that she deserved to be punished for her sin.

The moment John stopped being profitable to the villagers, they informed Michael. Lea noticed them and rang the church bell to warn John. When Jacob tried to stop her, she warned him to keep Nicholas away from her, or he might end up dead like his brother. Lea knew that John would be leaving now that people were searching for him again. She decided to leave with him. Unexpectedly, Aaron returns home. He believed that God lifted him from the boat filled with water because he was forgiven. He doubted Lea’s involvement in his death and wanted her to pass God’s trial. When he noticed that Lea was packing her bags, he lost his mind. In the meantime, Caleb, on his way to meet Jacob, met John. John drove to Lea’s place, knowing how the situation could escalate between her and Aaron. As he entered the house, he noticed blood on the walls. Lea had murdered Aaron in the heat of the moment. John helped her get rid of the body. She returned home to get Caleb while John traveled to face what he had been running from. John’s father was glad to finally meet his son after a long search, and he held on to his belief that John could never leave him because he had chosen him. As John embraced his father, he shot him.

Both Lea and John had to deal with their worst enemies to live the life they dreamed of. She traveled with Caleb, and they were reunited with John. Even though they met by accident, they had become a family who chose to be together. John had to fight his father to redeem himself of the past mistakes, while Lea had to murder Aaron with her own hands to protect herself and her son. Even though John’s father bragged about his love for John, it is obvious that their relationship was transactional. He sheltered John, knowing that one day he would grow up and work for him as a hitman. He was expected to be forever grateful for the life he got to live. But as his desire to redeem himself grew stronger; he realized that the only person stopping him from living his life was his father.  They had both been in places where they never got the opportunity to express themselves. They were taught to be the person they had become, and they wanted to break free from that cage. “The Hanging Sun” had the repeated imagery of a wolf and a cub. They protected John when Michael was after him. Going by how the forest never had wolves, as mentioned by Caleb, maybe the creatures were a way to represent parental affection, a sort of mythical parental figure who looked after John when he had no one to call his own.

“The Hanging Sun” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Francesco Carrozzini.

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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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