I know… I’m really late, late late with this… but here’s our next Review in our “End Of The World As We Know It” festival here at the Litterbox, director Jorge Torregrossa’s 2012 Spanish film “Fin” aka “The End”. Yep… the “Apocalypse”, Spanish style… (I wonder if it comes with Sangria?) 😉
Our synopsis goes like this: “A group of old friends gets together for a weekend reunion in a remote mountain cabin. Years have gone by and yet nothing seems to have changed between them. But lurking behind the laughter and stories is a murky episode from their shared past that continues to haunt them. A strange, sudden inexplicable celestial incident alters their plans, leaving all electrical power mysteriously drained and stranding them and with no line of communication to the outside world. As they hike their way for help, the group starts to disintegrate, just as a new natural order is unveiled before their astonished eyes. “
So what’s the big Apocalypse up to this time? Aliens? Pandemics? The big ol’ Biblical “Judgement Day”? From the Trailer, it’s hard to say… so if you are as curious as a certain wee movie watchin’ kitten, I guess there are only two ways to find out. You could just run right out and find a copy to watch for yourself… or… you could grab a warm cup of coffee, kick back and relax, and let a certain goofy Catgirl tell you all about it before you plunk down your cash for a DVD. (Me…. I’m banking that you’ll choose the second choice…. 😉 )
So let’s get to it shall we?
The dreaded Apocalypse.. the “End of Days”…. mostly movies have given us a fairly violent list of scenarios for just exactly how it’s likely to go down when it happens… mostly pretty darn terrifying… none of them nice… none of them pretty. But… what if that’s all completely wrong? What if the world ends not with a bang… but a whimper? In a nutshell, that exactly what “Fin” has in mind. Based on a novel by David Monteagudo, “Fin” offers us a much more quiet end for everything… and, in some ways, a much more eerie one when all is said and done. A quiet Apocalypse? Yep… this wee lady kids you not…
As our story gets underway, we observe a scruffy man feverishly working away at a sketchbook of charcoal drawings filled with crazy pictures that let you know his trolley doesn’t quite make it all the way to the station… if you know what I mean. He’s Ángel (played by Eugenio Mira), and he’s seeing visions…. visions about the End of the World. He knows it’s coming… and he’s desperate to warn his old friends… even if his insanity has alienated and driven them away for the last 20 odd years. So he gets in contact with Sara (played by Carmen Ruiz), the only one of them still maintaining any connection with him and convinces her to gather them all at the mountain house where they spent time all those years ago… without mentioning that it’s at his request, of course.
In any other movie… this notion would have far more sinister motives connected to it, perhaps with Ángel plotting a little payback before the World bids adieu, but surprisingly that’s not on tap for this story. No… Ángel truly just wants to warn his friends about the terrors to come, maybe explain it to them, but sadly he never gets the chance.
But before we get to that, we shift things to our film’s real hero Félix (played by Daniel Grao) on his way to that cozy little mountain cabin along with his girlfriend Eva (played by Clara Lago). He’s nervous about this reunion, and with good reason… seems he and his friends are those sorts of friends that probably were never all that close to start with. Not only that… they’ve share a shameful secret concerning Ángel and just exactly why he’s more than a bit disturbed. That all comes to the surface once he arrives and all those old rivalries and old secrets come back for one more airing during a drunken drug fueled bonfire. Think “The Big Chill” but with stupid macho posturing, simmering resentments, and without the comedy…. and in Spanish. 😉
Right at the climax of that party, the Apocalypse happens. The sky lights up… there’s weird thunderous sounds and the instant recognition by all that something odd has just happened. But… other than a mysterious loss of power, everything seems fine. Unable to do anything with their cars, our friends decide to sleep things off and get things straightened out in the morning.
But, once morning comes, things start going from merely weird and annoying to creepy and potentially dangerous. Phones are all dead… both cell and landlines, none of the cars will work, and one of the party, Rafa (played by Antonio Garrido) is inexplicably missing. The remaining group decides to hike down the mountain to look for help, and as they do the full scope of things becomes clear. People are just plain missing. There are deserted cars… deserted houses… even crashing jet liners… all with signs that make it look as if the people just plain… evaporated somehow… leaving everything behind. Just like the “Mary Celeste”. Worse… one by one the same thing keeps happening to our little group. Awww crap…
It’s a very “Twilight Zone” sort of feeling. There’s moments of sheer terror, like when our little ragtag group gets trapped on a perilous mountain path during a stampede of terrified goats, and the hordes of hungry dogs packing together and becoming aggressive in their pursuit of food… and then there’s the quieter, odder moments, like when Félix starts noticing that the stars themselves are inexplicably disappearing too from the night sky. What the heck is going on?
All this stress… and the idea that somehow Ángel is behind it all, seeking revenge for the intentional drug overdose forced on him all those years ago at the hands of his supposed friends.. begins to tear apart the group dynamics. It doesn’t even end with the discovery of Ángel’s body in a car crash that happened hours before the weird celestial fire-show. Nope. By then half of the group is gone without a trace, and the truth behind most of the group’s secrets lie open for all to know.
We discover that Félix and Eva aren’t really a couple after all… she’s just a pretty young prostitute he hired to play that part, a job which now has her trapped with them in this predicament. Ladies man Hugo (played by Andrés Velencoso) never loved his wife Cova (played by Blanca Romero)… he’s just with her to keep himself from being a lonely loser. Félix’s ex-lover, Maribel (played by Maribel Verdú) might be married with two kids she loves… but still wants Félix even though she’s never admitted it to anyone. And every one of them blames themselves for ruining Ángel’s life, although none wants to take responsibility for the deed.
So basically, that’s what this one ends up being. More of a character study than any sort of nail biting look at the world unraveling into chaos. But… strangely enough, that’s a good thing.
About the only thing this wee lady has to gripe about is how we never quite figure out just exactly what the heck is going on. Seriously. For me that was both puzzling and annoying, but ultimately I think in a goofy fashion, that’s the way it’s meant to play out. I’m still thinking about it all days after seeing it…. and I still haven’t wrapped my lil’ brain around it all.
I can honestly say, that as things unwound, I didn’t expect to end up liking this one as much as I did. That is due in great part, I think to the very character driven nature of the story. I really did get sucked into that, wondering who, if anybody, would make it through to the end, and even rooting for my favorites to be those very ones. Did my favorites make it? Well, I’m not going to tell you, but this Catgirl’s pretty sure you too will want to find out for yourself with a viewing sometime.
I give “Fin” a firm 4 “Meows” out of 5. It’s definitely not the movie I expected when we started watching it… but ultimately it was a satisfying one none the less. Anybody who prefers the subtle chills of say, the “Twilight Zone” as opposed to the mutant fueled violence of “Mad Max” will probably be very happy. I saw this one on the UK Region 2 DVD release… which come with a widescreen presentation and original Spanish audio accompanied with oddly hard subbed English subtitles that work… although I always wonder about the need for such, when the DVD format easily supports separate subs. At least those subtitles spend their time well down the the lower black bar and don’t intrude on the film more than necessary…. Want a copy? You ought to be able to score one for right around 15-20$ US at all the usual places. Go ahead… you’ll like it too I think.
As always… I’ve hunted down a Trailer to whet your appetite for more… so enjoy! 😉