AFI Film Review – Before the Fall

Before the Fall (Tres Dias)— A meteor is hurtling towards earth and life as we know it will end in 3 days. As society crumbles around him, Ale (Víctor Clavijo), who has spent his life as an all-around loser, surrenders to the imminent death of mankind with sour passivity. It’s a spent premise, yes, but director Javier Gutierrez is obviously trying to push his film as a clever coil in the apocalyptic-thriller genre. There is definite potential here with a David Lean-esque desert sandscape (Andalusia, Spain) and a classic anti-hero that is forced, against his every inclination, to fight for the ultimate lost cause: life. The real threat is not the impending meteor crash, but rather a bloodthirsty serial killer who has some unfinished business with Ale’s family and Ale responds by going to the extreme to protect the people that only now he realizes that he loves, climaxing in a showdown à la Cape Fear just moments before the earth incinerates. Ale is thus redeemed for a life ill-lived, if only for a moment, leaving us with the question: was it worth it? It is Gutierrez’s ‘twist’ on the genre, but it is also the film’s own worst enemy as it is bogged down by contrived Filmmaking 101 clichés. Clavijo’s performance is fiercely demanding and, while it’s nice to have an end-of-the-world disaster flick without the big-budget special effects, Gutierrez’s grim realism is spoiled by editing room gimmicks and the sort of predictability we rather hoped to be spared. — (Before the Fall screens Nov. 2, 1:30 p.m.; Nov. 5, 7:00 p.m.)


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Gen Y reject and wage slave extraordinaire.

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