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Hal MacDermot [Celluloid 01.25.09] movie review apocalyptic drama



Year: 2008
Release date: Unknown
Directors: F. Javier Gutiérrez
Writers: F. Javier Gutiérrez and Juan Velarde
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: cyberhal
Rating: 6.8 out of 10

A meteorite's going to hit the earth and we're all f###ed. Look forward to amazing photography, and a good exploration of how much we should protect innocence. Meanwhile a psycho killer's busted out of jail and is coming after a family. For me, not enough apocalypse/meteorite action, but worth watching. This film is all about bleached out colours and a realistic/unafraid depiction of what those last few days could be like. This is the director's and writer's first feature and hats off guys, it's about 6 million times better than Deep Impact, and the photography is full of moments of beauty, which are really very impressive. Storywise, I was less bowled over. I felt like the meteor and apocalypse were just ideas to hand the suspense/killer story on, which was a pity. It was also fairly predictable.


A TV news announcer tells us that a meteorite is heading straight for earth. It's 5 times bigger than the one that killed the dinosaurs, and impact will occur in 72 hours – "there will be no hope of survival, thank you for your attention." So far, so awesome. We learn that in the chaos, the prisons have rioted and the guards have run away. Ale's mum Rosa (Mariana Cordero)is scared that the psychopathic child killer Soro, will escape and return to hunt down her family. Rosa's eldest son Tomas (who we never see) was responsible for capturing Soro as he was busy trying to kill Ale when he was a kid. As the meteorite approaches, the town wigs out and people start blowing their own head off in desperation. Can't blame them. Rosa and Ale take off to seek refuge at Tomas's house with his three kids in an isolated country house. Ales doesn't give a crap about the kids, but Grandma Rosa absolutely does.

One of the cool things about this story is that the kids don't know the meteorite is going to hit. Grandma smashes the radio so they don't find out. Straight into a really interesting debate about how much do you tell children about life? Should we protect their innocence, and let them be kids, or should we tell them what it's like in the world of adults. Me, I'm with grandma, in the camp of let kids be kids, they've got long enough in the so called real world later on. Anyhow, it's an interesting debate.

Unfortunately, grandma doesn't last longer than another day. Looks like there's somebody hiding out in the woods… Shortly after some bloke called Lucio turns up outside the country house. Is he a stranger who needs help, or is he perhaps Soro? Ale brings out the shotgun to rally around the family. The meteor approaches, but really we don't see much of the meteor, and the film turns into a psychological drama, with the post apocalyptic element becomes almost incidental. The FX were cool, but I wanted to see more. Before the Fall has had a ton of coverage in the Spanish language press, almost nothing in English, which is totally unfair, but typical. Conclusion? Great photography, edgy exploration of a psycho preying on a family, not enough apocalypse or surprises.

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Anonymous (10 years ago) Reply

yeah, a terrific movie, so special, full of beauty (and yeah, deep impact sucks!)

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Bellona (9 years ago) Reply

There are actually 4 kids (teen boy & girl, little boy & girl); I would have at least told the older boy and given him a weapon against the perv. Great photography, pretty good script, & some unexpected shocks. When it's remade for the US (you know they will), the hero will probably become a spunky girl, instead of a wimpy guy, as Ale is most of this flick. Loved the end scene tho'.


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