Cinema review: Los Ultimos Dias
Cinema review: Los Ultimos Dias
Intense and brooding, Los Ultimos Dias is the Pastor Brother’s latest take on a post-apocalyptic world.
The story follows Marc (Quim Gutierrez), an overworked and cautious computer programmer stuck in a world where a mystery epidemic engulfs the earth, and humanity develops an irrational fear of open spaces that leads to instant death.
He embarks on a journey underground with his boss and unlikely bedfellow Enrique (Jose Coronado) to find his girlfriend Julia.
Gutierrez delivers in this film, he’s vulnerable and believable even when he story wasn’t, as the protagonist, you really root for him.
In this picture, the Alex and David Pastor capture a world of panic perfectly; the depiction of lawless underground communities is terrifying but exquisitely done.
The creation of the dog eat dog underground world is one of my favourite elements of the film and something that could have been explored more thoroughly through the plot line.
The film is visually arresting pulling you into from one murky landscape to another. Barcelona provided a sinister yet beautiful backdrop to this end of the world flick, with its large industrial buildings and subterranean pathways.
Los Ultimos Dias boasts remarkable visuals: Production designer Baltasar Gallart and set decorator Nuria Muni successfully find a jagged beauty in this forlorn, digitally ravaged but very recognizable Barcelona.
The music was great, dramatic foreboding. Fernando Velazquez’s score was well put together and conveyed a constant sense of danger well.
Los Ultimos looked great, but what let it down was the story. Twists and turns were a plenty, but only few generated real suspense. There was just too much going on.
The original premise of the story is tried and tested, if a little safe; man tries to find lived one in post-apocalyptic world. At times certain obstacles brought little, and were distracting from the original narrative, particularly one very bizarre scene with a bear.
Through neatly woven flashbacks, we come understand the mystery behind the end of the world, and realise that this is a love story. The relationship between Marc and Julia was genuine and lovely, if a little obvious at times.
Although this was a love story, the highlight of the plot was the unlikely friendship between Marc, and Enrique the man who is making his life hell at work. The tense relationship of convenience is temperamental but truly touching, and explored the idea of loneliness, and dedication to those you love.
Coronado is exceptional in this picture, playing a solitary and charismatic man with conviction and style he brought a presence to the picture and complemented Gutierrez perfectly.
The film is also about fear, a fear of the unknown to step outside our comfort zone, but maybe also a fear of taking a step back from civilisation.
Overall Los Ultimos Dias was visually strong, with very competent performances. What ultimately held the feature back was a clumsy plot and rushed end.
Although entertaining, this end of the world flick is not one to put on your bucket list.
Image courtesy of Morena Films via YouTube, with thanks.