Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Film Review: The Last Days (aka Los Ultimos Dias) (2013)

The Last Days (aka Los Ultimos Dias) (Review)
Spain/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...very atmospheric and occasionally awe-inspiring."

A mysterious epidemic causes a severe case of agoraphobia -- an irrational fear of open space -- for the world's population, forcing them to find refuge in buildings, subways, and sewers.

The Last Days mainly follows Marc (Quim Gutiérrez) and his co-worker Enrique (José Coronado), who have been trapped in their office for months. Eventually, Marc buds into Enrique's plans to venture out through the sewers using a GPS. Marc uses this opportunity to search for his girlfriend, while Enrique keeps his intentions hidden. The Last Days is fairly simple for the most part, but engaging and entertaining. However, the film does become somewhat contrived and even cliché during the final act. The ending itself, although decent, also overstayed its welcome.

The Last Days works very well off of its incredibly immersive world. The post-apocalyptic world, particularly the method of travel, reminded me of Metro 2033, which is fantastic. It's very atmospheric and occasionally awe-inspiring. This is partly due to unique concept. The use of agoraphobia, although not plausible or very realistic, is very creative and makes for some unique scenes. It really helps differentiate the film from others in the genre.

The Last Days suffers from the simplicity of the story, though. It has a very unique concept and a very immersive world, but the story is so simple and even cliché. It gets better and better as it progresses, at least until it fumbles again for the final act, but it never reaches its full potential. There are certain aspects that I truly did enjoy, but it just never lands -- it never hits hard and it never captures a natural flow. Also, I just like to point out, the film isn't necessarily grounded in reality; so, if you need a film to be realistic for your enjoyment, then this film might not be for you. Otherwise, I'm not going to bother nitpicking the film to death.

The acting is good from both Quim Gutiérrez and José Coronado. The film looks splendid. The lighting is very vivid and vibrant, it really adds to the atmosphere of the film. And, so does the great cinematography and the very engaging camerawork. The music helps set the mood; it's occasionally melodramatic, but it shouldn't bother anyone who does not mind the melodramas of film. The English subtitles on the Netflix Instant stream are near perfect. Writers and directors David Pastor and Àlex Pastor craft an elegant world with an interesting concept; however, the story and character lack some depth, and the film generally feels somewhat uneventful and unbalanced.

Overall, The Last Days is a very good film. The immersive world and the creative concept are superb. The film is also great on the technical side boasting beautiful cinematography and excellent camerawork. However, the story suffers from being too simple and somewhat uneventful, as well as from a contrived and cheesy ending. The Pastor Brothers have the style and direction locked down, but can use some fine-tuning on their writing.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood, a brief sex scene.

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