Maria and Nicholas existed in Trevor's daily delusion because of his guilt about the past hit and run.

But how come Ivan exists in his imagination?

Are there any clues in movie that can prove Ivan's actuality in Trevor's past? Or is Ivan's figure totally delusional as in schizophrenic people?

4 Answers 4


It is as simple as Ivan is Trevor's guilt, manifested into a human hallucination.

He uses Ivan's supposed mysteriousness to start blaming his distractions and his recent obsession over who is out to get him when really Ivan does not exist at all.

Fight Club spoilers explain this best:

In a way it is like the ending of Fight Club where The Narrator turns out to be Tyler Durden. In the end, the picture that he kept claiming was Ivan, was really him.

The picture is taken before his accident and shows how Trevor was before the guilt of killing a child started seeping into him and causing him to lose sleep for a year. Notice that Ivan is finally gone from his life when he finally turns himself in for what he has done and is also able to finally sleep.

  • Thanks for the explanation - that Ivan was hallucination of Guilt
    – user4375
    Mar 17, 2013 at 16:25

He hates his past, his guilt that he doesn't want to remember. He avoids the past version of himself, healthy, happy, and a killer. So he throws this part of his character away. This separation is too much that the thrown away past turn into a new, fictional, independent character. A pain in the ass and as disgusting as possible in Trevor's eyes (ugly fingers and laughing, etc...). Trevor doesn't want to remember his past year.

However his subconsciousness has created the past version of him, everywhere, communicating with people he knows, working at the same place, etc. to remind him of something. That hanging-man game, for example, is his subconscious intention to remember and accept his guilt. And when he accepts his guilt and past perhaps can go back to the normal life he had before the accident. To sleep, not accusing people, not washing his hands with bleach, etc.


Throughout the film Trevor reads "The Idiot" by Dovstoyevsky, a book about a prince who returns from a sanatorium where he was treated for epilepsy (hint: Nicholas) and mental deficiencies (hint: Trevor).

The Prince's kindness manifests itself through his two love interests -- one who he loves out of pity (hint: Stevie), and another whom he loves out of romance (hint: Maria). In the end, the prince is too kind for his own good, and he gets neither woman, implying that the only place for a saint is a sanatorium (hint: jail).

In effect, Trevor only finds relief (sleep) when he exits society for the sanatorium which is prison.

Ivan represents Trevor free of guilt, free of noble inclinations--the alterego of Trevor in the movie and the prince in "The Idiot."

The women represent two kinds of love, one born of pity and/or guilt and another born of romance.

So long as Trevor has a conscience he can have neither woman, as he cannot live with himself; contrast this with Ivan, who might easily go through life living with either woman.

It is hard to tell the extent to which parts of the movie are intended to reflect his reality versus deepen the audience's understanding of Trevor's psychosis.

For example, are the interactions with Maria completely falsified? Or manfiestations of a desire to make amends? Does he really tip the waitress out of guilt, to make amends for his crime? Or, is this a figment of his imagination?

Nonetheless, the entire film does a beautiful job of suspending symbolic understanding until the last possible moment. bravo.


My opinion is that Ivan is his evil alter-ego. He is him on the day of the accident, the sun glasses the boots , the clothes, everything.

He comes back and haunts him until he needs to finally admit his guilt. He doesn t exists in reality that s why the carpet is empty when he wants to throw the body, people at the shop don t know him, his acid quotes "You caused the accident..not ME"..or "What have I done with Nicholas?" meaning "why u blaming me...u were the one who killed him", the sign that he makes at the shop by showing cut throat with his thumb and then the work accident occur, the fact that he can drive his car on red light not bumping into the other vehicles..etc.

Also we can say Ivan is the Death itself because we see that he took Nicolas with him into car and enter both into building. He took him from the day of the accident and they are both on the other plan of existence. "C mon you know he is dead (speaking of Nicholas).He try to kill him without success, he reappears at the pier "Who are you?" and he finally recognize his guild and regain sleep and peace.

Also I think they put the name Ivan to this character regarding the legendary russian figure Ivan the Terrible who killed his own son and made a lot of murders, a sadist and a maniac. There is the motive of the one-hand thing also.

One hand on the wheel during the accident, Miller lose his hand, mill---Miller word asociation, one hand drawn on the refrigerator, one hand on the ride in the amusement park and the premonitory quote of Miller :" Reznik I need a HAND!" However the picture with Reynolds and him fishing explain everything. All sees him in the picture only he is the only who doesn t want to admit.

And if u look very closely and rewind movie u will see for few seconds in the scene where he chase Ivan s Pontiac firebird car he try to write down the plate numbers. 743 CRN or something...when he lose the car and gets down from his van you can see his plate numbers is the vice-versa of Ivan car 347 NRC.

That's another clue we can figure that Ivan is actually himself.And I think the director wanted to make analogy with the old Christian Bale American Psycho movie because this word appear few times, Stevie quote "My ex he s a fucking psycho" and when he throw him away from her home "you re a fucking psycho..fucking psycho..."

However is a great movie which needs to be seen few times to be fully understood and in different states of mind.

  • 1
    I'll have to inform the police that you've killed my eyes... Please break up your text into readable paragraphs.
    – CGCampbell
    May 31, 2015 at 12:51

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