DVD Review – The Last Days (Los últimos días)

Barcelona these days is not usually a city to be the centre of a disaster, more renowned for its great culture, weather but most of all been the destination of one of   World football’s finest teams. In The Last Days (Los últimos días) The Pastor Brothers (Carriers) once again take us into a post-apocalyptic where fear is not from affected but from wide open spaces.

Set in contemporary Barcelona the world is in the grip of a mysterious epidemic, one that’s fatal to whoever it attacks, an irrational fear of space (agoraphobia) which has trapped survivors inside building or face instant death. Marc (Quim Guttierez) is trapped in the building he works in and is determined to return to his apartment hoping to find his girlfriend Julia (Marta Etura) still stranded there. 3 months after the epidemic hit there is a breakthrough in Marc’s building into the tunnels lying below the office. He decides to take his chances and attempts to get home via those tunnels, he is joined by an unlikely companion Enrique (Jose Coronado)his boss. After much debate, the pair head off to search for their loved ones together which they discover the land is now a lawless land so what dangers will lie ahead for the pair?

When it comes to post-apocalyptic movies it can be a difficult sub-genre to master, getting that right balance leaving some critics that these films aren’t real enough. We sometimes forget that God willing this disaster wont happen so how can we say something realistically matches a disaster zone. Visually The Last Days cinematography is second to none and we may only get glimpses of the city (created using the new film standard CGI) what we get delivers realism. The film doesn’t fall into the cliche of ‘let’s try and explain how, why we’re in this state but to concentrate on its character relationships and through a series of flashbacks we do get some glimpses of the epidemic’s progression.

Unless you possess expert knowledge of Spanish TV & Film the cast will be unknown, but don’t let that put you off this film as what we get is solid performances that fit nicely into the film’s style. The female actors however maybe known to some cinephiles especially those  who are fans of Spanish horror thrillers, Marc’s girlfriend played by Marta Etura (Sleep Tight) and her friend Andrea played by Letica Dolera played in [REC]3: Genesis. She does get a chance to ass kick again, however, don’t blink you’ll miss as it seems the common occurrence female characters in distress seem to get very little screen time. The characters are solid but lack a screen time does make their presence a waste and also you wonder what is Marc’s guilt? Does Julia need or want to be rescued and does she want Marc to rescue her? This is one part of the backstory a little more time is spent on even if it’s more flashbacks.

Put the predictable ending and some ridiculous   scenes (like the one in the church with a giant animal)The Last Days is actually not that bad of a film.It’s superior to their American feature Carriers and gets extra kudos trying to deliver a new angle to the post-apocalyptic sub-genre. It had potential to be something truly bigger, darker even grittier in the vein of Children of Men but for its modest budget and it’s positive message of a new beginning it’s a visually entertaining at times bumpy ride. Forget the pitfalls and jump aboard   enjoy the ride.

Paul Devine|★★★☆☆

Sci-fi, Thriller, World Cinema | Spain, 2013 | 15 |24th February 2014 (UK)|Metrodome Distribution |Dir: David Pastor, Àlex Pastor | Quim Gutiérrez, José Coronado, Marta Etura, Letica Dolera |Buy:The Last Days [DVD]

Originally posted at Cinehouse | 22nd February 2014

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