Extracted is a story about a scientist who gets trapped in the mind of a drug addict. Sasha Roiz plays Tom, the scientist. Jenny Mollen plays Abbey, his wife. Dominic Bogart plays Anthony, the suspect. It’s a very good movie. The plot is not too complex but is neat and clean. Lots of non-linear storytelling pieced together to form a good climax. Here’s Extraction explained, spoilers ahead.
I’m going to lay the story out in a linear fashion. This makes things boring but a lot more straightforward. Here we go.
Anthony is a normal kid raised by a single dad. His dad is shown to be a little manipulative, and he attributes this to protecting his son. For instance, when Anthony is young his dad gets a show dog. But he later gets a good offer for the dog and he sells it. He comes up with a lie so Anthony wouldn’t make a fuss about seeing the dog go. He tells Anthony that the dog was good for nothing and couldn’t obey even one command. Anthony ends up creating a visual memory of this – he imagines a scene with his dad in the garage trying to get his dog to sit but it just won’t. It is important to understand that this is a memory that Anthony creates in his head because his dad keeps telling him that the dog was no good. In reality the dog was a show dog, it knew how to follow commands quite well.
Years pass, Anthony eventually takes many wrong decisions in his life and becomes a drug addict. There is this one moment when Anthony and his accomplice, Eric, try to mug his own dad. They get busted and his dad finds out about him being the robber. That day haunts him forever. But it doesn’t make him a better man. Anthony continues to be a drug addict and a bum, so to speak.
Anthony gets into a relationship with a girl by the name Adrienne. She is a junky too. They seem to be having a good relationship. Eventually, and this Anthony does not know, Adrienne starts doing sexual favours for Erix in exchange for drugs. She gets extremely guilty about this and wants to do the right thing by ending her relationship with Anthony. She has also decided to kill herself. She sends Anthony a text – “I can’t be in your life any more”. Anthony goes to her house, high on drugs. Adrienne shoots herself in the head and dies. Eric who happens to be in the house to meet Adrienne, finds her dead and sees Anthony. Not knowing what to do, he whacks Anthony in the head and leaves. When Anthony gains consciousness he calls his dad who comes and picks him up.
Anthony’s dad decides that he needs to do something else his son his going to end up dead in an alley one day. He realizes that Anthony doesn’t remember anything from the previous night (thanks to him being on drugs). His dad sends an anonymous tip to the cops and he Anthony that he has murdered Adrienne. He sets his own son up. He does this because he feels that in police custody Anthony would have a better shot of cleaning up and at a life, than outside. The cops nab Anthony.
In parallel, Tom, a scientist has been working on a machine which can help dig deeper into one’s memories to help expose trauma if any. He’s looking to sell it. Richard is helping Tom find an investor. However, the prospect would like to use the machine to enter another person’s mind. Tom doesn’t like this but the investor is paying good money. Tom reluctantly agrees to the deal. The investor is the department of corrections. The person’s memory Tom needs to enter is Anthony’s. Anthony is pleading innocent. The cops want proof of his crime. Tom doesn’t know who the investor or the subject is yet.
A Starting Place, Minnie, The Program
A Starting Place is the memory you land up in using the machine. A place that exists in reality and memory. They pick the room where the procedure is going to happen as the Starting Place. After getting to Starting Place memory inside the subject’s head, you think of any memory and you land there. Quite simple. Minnie, is the voice of the program that helps navigate through the memories. Minne is in the subject by means of a chip.
The presentation is advanced by 6 weeks. Investors are in a hurry (aren’t they, always?). So the team fast tracks towards the procedure. Tom finds out about the investor on the day of the procedure, he’s not happy, but agrees.
Any gaps in memories are replaced with placeholders (a standard face or just white with a red cross). More the gaps, more the placeholders. Tom goes in. The memory shows Anthony with a gun assaulting Adrienne. He shoots her in the head. Anthony calls his dad. This confirms it for the cops but Anthony still pleads innocent. The memory ends, but Tom is still stuck in the Starting Place. They try self destructing the application. Tom doesn’t wake up. They can no longer talk to Tom inside Anthony’s head. Tom is stuck inside Anthony’s head with Minnie. No one knows this. Tom’s body lies in coma.
Years pass, Anthony is in prison
Anthony is convicted. Tom lives 4 years, 2 months 2 days – trapped inside Anthony’s head. He’s living inside all of Anthony’s memories. He has Minnie as a companion. Tom’s body lies in coma.
In the real world, Anthony’s dad visits him in jail and gives him some photos. His dad still acts disappointed with Anthony because he wants to ensure he doesn’t come out and go back to his old ways. Anthony has been clean for over 4 years now.
Tom is inside the memory of young Anthony and his dad in the garage. This is not a real memory as I earlier stated. This is the one Anthony has created because his dad constantly tells him that the dog was good for nothing. Anthony tries to get his dog to sit but can’t. Tom has been in this memory 430 times. But this time young Anthony sees Tom. Tom tries to replay the memory but young Anthony doesn’t see him in the subsequent plays of the memory.
How could Anthony see Tom inside the memory?
Minnie finds out that it was 4:15PM, in the real world, when young Anthony sees Tom. Tom visits that memory at 4:15PM (which is 5 min ago in the real world time). Anthony is seeing the photos. He sees the dog’s photo. Tom realizes that Anthony was thinking of that memory in the garage.
Here’s the deal – If Tom is in a memory and Anthony is recollecting that same memory at the same time, then Anthony can see Tom in his head. Simple enough?
Tom looks for a memory which Anthony keeps thinking of. The mugging. Robbing his own dad. That day haunts him. Tom waits at that memory. He keeps replaying the memory hoping that Anthony will sooner or later recollect that memory. Anthony, in the memory, keeps running past Tom without noticing him. This means Anthony, in the real world, has not recollected that memory. 2 weeks pass.
Tom finds Anthony
Anthony eventually recollects that memory. Anthony runs past Tom, but this time sees Tom. Tom is right about his theory. But Anthony leaves in fear. Tom continues to wait there, Anthony eventually comes back and talks to Tom. Note that all conversations between Anthony and Tom happen inside Anthony’s head.
Tom explains how he has been trapped inside Anthony’s head and he needs his help to get out. Tom asks him to reach out to Abbey. He gives him her number. Initially Abbey doesn’t believe Anthony. But Tom gives Anthony enough information for Abbey to believe him.
Tom tells Anthony that he’s not a bad guy. Tom asks him for help and he agrees. Abbey meets Anthony, brings her kid along. Abbey asks another question for confirmation and Anthony answers (Birdy). Tom realizes what might have happened on the day of the procedure, a part of the chip is still inside Anthony that’s why Minnie is still in there with Tom. They don’t go much into the details, but he knows how to get out.
The Swimming Pool Memory
Abbey gets clearance to get Tom out of the hospital. Abbey confronts the guy from the department of corrections. He wants the machine in return to release Anthony. Anthony picks a different memory for Tom and him to meet at. A more pleasant one. At a swimming pool with Adriene.
Anthony tells his dad about what’s going to happen. That Tom is still in his head and he’s going to help get him out. His dad is very reluctant about the procedure. This is because he’s set him up. His dad doesn’t want the truth to be known for Anthony might be released. Anthony goes ahead with the procedure.
The plan is to get Anthony to get Tom to a memory and they narrow down and pull Tom out. Quite simple. But, Anthony has a demand. He wants to prove his innocence. He wants to revisit the memory of the day of the murder. Tom is pissed and two have a confrontation. Anthony feels that he couldn’t have done it, the murder. Anthony remembers there was another person there that night and wants to know who it was. Tom has no choice but to help him.
They go through every element of the memory from that night of the murder. Anthony remembers entering the house and getting knocked out. They go to the memory. Most of it are placeholders, including the face of the attacker. But when Tom chucks the magazines to the floor he notices some content inside it. This is a fragment of a memory. They work together to unravel more information about that memory. The memory starts filling up with details. They start with the bathroom and work their way through the rest of the house. Eventually, they see the man who assaults Anthony, it’s Eric.
Tom survives, Anthony dies
In the real world, Anthony has his lead. He breaks out. He Goes over to Eric’s house. Shoots him in the leg to get information on why he was there in the house that night. Eric explains he was there to give Adrienne drugs. Eric confesses to the sexual favours Adrienne has been doing for him in exchange for drugs. Anthony is distracted and gets cornered and gets shot by Eric. Anthony begins to die. Minnie begins to malfunction inside Anthony’s head. Anthony chases down Eric. But he realizes that he’s going to die and decides to give up on his revenge. He chooses to do the right thing – to save Tom. After all, Eric means nothing now given Adrienne is dead and Anthony is going to be dead soon. Eric gets away (I would have liked to see some vengeance served here, but they don’t go back to Eric after this).
Tom leaves the swimming pool memory because of the malfunction, he goes back to the garage memory. Anthony can’t find Tom but remembers the memory where Tom meets his kid at the prison. Anthony takes a guess that Tom would show up there as it is a fond memory for him. He waits for Tom there, Tom shows up and they extract him out. Anthony dies.
Ending Explained : Anthony was innocent
Later Tom meets Anthony’s dad. They talk about the dog. His dad says that the dog was a show dog. But in the memories he remembers the dog to be unable to follow any instructions. His dad says that “if you keep telling a kid something, he’d believe it”. Tom now understands that Anthony ends up constructing a visual memory from what his dad tells him verbally.
This makes Tom question other visuals that he may have created as memories based on what he’s heard – including the night of the murder. Tom speculates a version where Anthony goes into Adrienne’s room and she has the gun in her hands and shoots herself in her head. Anthony was innocent after all. It was a suicide.
On one of the pictures he sees Anthony’s dad’s handwriting and matches the “A” with the “anonymous tip” (which gets Anthony arrested). Tom realizes that Anthony’s dad was the anonymous tip. His dad accepts this and explains that he did it to protect his son.
The movie ends with Tom meeting the girl who gave the voice of Minnie. He says he doesn’t know why he’s come to meet her, she says “Sometimes you just need to hear a familiar voice”. After all Minnie was the only voice he talked to for over 4 years. No he’s not cheating on his wife. It’s just the familiar voice, the only voice for 4 years, so hearing it gives him a sense of comfort. The film ends.