Spanish title: Fin
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: Jorge Torregrossa
Produced by Fernando Bovaira, Enrique L. Lavigne, Mercedes Gamero, Belén Atienza, Mikel Lejarza for Atresmedia Cine S.L. (60%), Mod Producciones, S.L. (5%), Apaches Entertainment, S.L. (5%), Misent Producciones S.L. (30%)
Story and screenplay: Sergio G. Sánchez, Jorge Guerricaechevarría, David Monteagudo (novel)
Music: Lucio Godoy
Cinematographer: José David Montero
Editor: Carolina Martínez Urbina
Art director: Isabel Viñuales
Cast: Maribel Verdú (Maribel), Daniel Grao (Félix), Clara Lago (Eva), Carmen Ruiz (Sara), Andrés Velencoso (Hugo), Miquel Fernández (Sergio), Blanca Romero (Cova), Antonio Garrido (Rafa), Eugenio Mira (Ángel ‘Profeta’), Sofía Herraiz (Niña)
Spanish takings: €1.506.797,98
Spanish spectators: 224,041
Spanish subsidies: Ayudas a la Amortización de Largometrajes – General (€1.463.948,22), Ayudas a la Minoración de Intereses – Producción (€25.200,00)
A group of friends have a reunion in the very same cabin they were last all gathered together some twenty years beforehand. Most of them have very respectable and comfortable lives, despite the inevitable rocky marriages and concerns about careers. Apart from Ángel, aka The Prophet, who suffered from schizophrenia, a condition which degenerated further due to the actions of his former friends. But something weird happens: there’s strange lightning in the distance, the electricity cuts off and cars stop working. They decide that rather than waiting to see what happens they should walk to the nearest town. But everywhere seems strangely isolated… and then they start disappearing.
The 2012 Spanish film The End has a remarkably similar story to The Wall, the Austrian film made in the same year. They are, however, very different propositions: whereas that was sparse and cerebral, this is an entertaining science fiction thriller. The Wall was slow moving and, quite frankly, rather boring; this has a comparatively packed plot which includes rampaging deer, a dog attack and more. It came from Antena 3 films, who were previously behind productions such as The Body (one of the best films of 2012), Intruders (2011), Julia’s Eyes (2010) and The Last Days (2013), so they have some prior history in the field.
It is an interesting film which foregoes gore and shock effects in favour of a slow building atmosphere and sense of unease. As with The Wall, it uses the disappearances as a means of examining the isolation and existential crises of the characters, all of whom are merely putting off their fate and don’t appear any the happier for it. There are no answers provided and quite what the role of The Prophet is is never answered. Added to this are the crisp cinematography, beautiful landscapes and decent performances, all of which makes it yet another undeservedly obscure Spanish gem.
Review by Matt Blake, 2014
What the critics said
“Polished, beautifully shot and jammed with nerve-jangling twists, The End is a high-class pulp thriller made from quality ingredients. The characters may be a little too stock – the incurable womanizer, the old flame, the crazy drunk – but the plot bounds along with enough energy to excuse a few clunky touches. The ending also leaves plenty of questions unanswered, which may irritate viewers expecting the kind of cathartic resolution seen in most genre movies.” Stephen Dalton, Hollywood Reporter.
“A fascinating if frustrating apocalyptic drama, Jorge Torregrossa’s debut, “The End,” is less about big bangs, and more about questioning silences. Adopting the high-risk strategy of raising dramatic and existential questions to which it offers no answers, this stylishly made tale of a group of fortysomethings who mysteriously disappear fuses low-grade sci-fi with high-minded ideas, so that auds prepared to go all the way with its crazed logic will enjoy it more than those seeking straightforward thrills. Visually polished and always intriguing, the pic confirms that, whatever its failings, Spanish genre cinema isn’t lacking ambition. ” Jonathan Holland, Variety.
“Despite being very far from this genre, Antonioni and Cassavetes are just as important in this film as Hitchcock. The Birds was a reference that we used a lot, because The End has this same catastrophic but also abstract tone: You never know why some things happen, but you don’t care. What is important is the adventure, how the world changes and how the tension explodes. There’s also another important reference in my film: Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. I saw it on television as a child and didn’t understand anything, but it fascinated me. I have watched it again over the years and I still find it fascinating.” Interview: Jorge Torregrossa, Cineuropa.