36 – Before the Fall (Tres dias) (2008)

 “If you keep moving, you don’t stop. If you stop, it traps you”

The original spanish title of this film is Tres Dias, Three Days, that’s exactly how long the world has left at the start of this beautifully shot movie. The opening shot has a satellite being destroyed by meteor debris then falling to earth, this of course affects media around the world, but our main characters hear through the television that a meteor 30 miles in diameter will hit the earth in 72 hours, this is three times the size of the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs, and there is absolutely no chance for survival whatsoever. So no happy endings here, spelled out right from the start how this movie will end, not even a sacrifice of Bruce Willis will save us, as we have been told that has already been attempted and failed, We are doomed!

This film then tells the most human of stories in this situation, how we will protect our family and loved ones even in the face of assured destruction that is spelled out, we have already seen the use of one of our generic apocalyptic motifs the characters receiving the information through television, this of course then leads to another of our motifs, lawlessness, in this film we see that prison guards have left their posts, so prisoners have rioted and escaped, one of these is a serial killer who has threatened revenge on a family that led to his capture 20 years earlier. The director and writer here uses the apocalyptic motif, to set up a narrative and a scenario to be played out in these last 72 hours on earth.Tres Dias is not a disaster movie. The destruction of the Earth is just the setting for a crime thriller.

There’s a very clear sense of style and direction. The director over saturates the day scenes, making you feel the intense summer Spanish heat. You’ll feel fatigued, dirty and sweaty. The film also accurately conveys how depressing the situation is. Another interesting feature is that the adults do not tell the children of the impending doom, is it better to be blinkered, to not know a fate that you have no control of? The film culminates in one of the dirtiest animalistic fight scenes I have seen depicted on-screen, the fight for survival juxtaposed with the impending doom, is really unsettling.

This is one for the apocalyptic aficionados, its bleak, very bleak at times, it does not shy from human emotions in this doomed time, people rather than see it out would take their own lives, and that of their families, then we have the serial killer plot on top, not just any serial killer but a child killer, yes this is a very dark film and as i said from the outset we kind of know the ending, but for me I think it’s a great film that tells a human story. It is wonderfully shot, this is definitely a film worthy of its entry on this list and another of your 93 minutes before the real apocalypse

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One Response to “36 – Before the Fall (Tres dias) (2008)”

  1. Nothing to do with this film, just sending a link for that article I told you about. It is a bit relevant though!

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/aug/09/hollywood-apocalypse-movies-anxiety

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