The Last Days

Quim Gutiérrez in The Last Days
Quim Gutiérrez in The Last Days
The Last Days
The Last Days

Spanish title: Los últimos días
Country: Spain (90%) | France (10%)
2013
Genre: Science Fiction
Director: David Pastor, Àlex Pastor
Produced by Pedro Uriol, Mercedes Gamero, Alberto Marini, Kristina Larsen (co-producer), Gaël Nouaille (co-producer), Televisió De Catalunya (associate producer), Oriol Sala-Patau (associate producer) for Atresmedia cine, S.L. (50%), El Monje La Pelicula A.I.E. (42.8%), Morena Films (1.2%), S.L., Rebelion Terrestre Film S.L.U. (1%),Antenas 3 Films, Les Films du Lendemain (10%)
Story and screenplay: David Pastor, Àlex Pastor
Music: Fernando Velázquez
Cinematographer: Daniel Aranyó
Editor: Martí Roca
Art director: Balter Gallart
Cast: Quim Gutiérrez (Marc), José Coronado (Enrique), Marta Etura (Julia), Leticia Dolera (Andrea), Mikel Iglesias (Dani), Ivan Massagué (Lucas), Pere Ventura (Rovira), Lluís Soler (Vecino), Abdelatif Hwidar (Hombre Extranjero), Farah Hamed (Mujer Extranjera), Lily Morett (Niña Extranjera), Isak Férriz (Javier), Pere Brasó (Carlos), Momo Ballesteros (Ángela), Albert Prat (Toni), Lluís Villanueva (Lluís), Xavi Lite (Segurata 1), Lolo Herrero (Segurata 2), Jordi Gràcia (Josep), Cristina Perales (Marta), Robert Donaldson (Greg Lafferty), Francesc Pagès (Portavoz Gobierno), Chantal Aimée (Experto 1), Pep Sais (Experto 2), Josep Pla (Matón 1), Xavi Ribas (Matón 2), Pablo Capuz (underground Killer), Júlia Creus, Jordi Basté (Locutor Radio), Jose Mellinas, Xavier Muixí, Tima (Bear)
Spanish takings: €2.141.086,92
Spanish spectators: 304.392
Spanish subsidies: Ayudas a la Amortización de Largometrajes – General (€1.338.504,94)
Budget: €5,000,000 (estimated)

Synopsis

An outbreak of severe agoraphobia breaks out and anyone who tries to venture outside of the buildings they’re holed up in suffers panic attacks, then heart failure and ultimately death. Food is limited, movement pretty much impossible and access to any kind of useful equipment difficult. Afflicted by the condition while at work, Marc (Quim Gutiérrez) sets his mind on tracking down his girlfriend (Marta Etura), who he presumes is equally stuck in their apartment on the other side of the city, and he enlists the uneasy help of ruthless HR man Enrique (José Coronado) to help him get there. A voyage through sewers, underground lines and ruined buildings follows; in which they meet antagonistic fellow travelers, murderous kids and a hungry grizzly bear.

Review

Not to be mistaken with Andrew Jara’s 2010 film Last Days (about a killer virus), Gus Van Sant’s Last Days (2005) (about a pseudo Kurt Cobain singer-songwriter) or even The Last Days on Mars (2013) (about a doomed interplanetary expedition), Alex and David Pastor’s The Last Days (2013) is a pretty nifty Spanish film which picked up lots of domestic awards and – as is the way with Spanish films at the moment – was then promptly ignored everywhere else. Honestly, do distributors think people are completely incapable of watching genre films with subtitles? If so then let’s dub these films but do it well, much as happened back in the 1960s, because they’re certainly better than most of the bilge coming out of the US at the moment (and still would be even if dubbed)

Directed with some panache by Alex and David Pastor (who made the effective 2008 post-apocalypse film Carriers), this is a gripping and effective entry in what’s a rather crowded arena. ‘End of the World’ type films – from Zombie bloodbaths to the existential angst of The Wall – are all over the place at the moment, but this distinguishes itself by the agoraphobic angle and some sly digs at corporate life, grounding the fantastic in the mundane with more skill than is usually the case. As with most of these films the plot is essentially a quest narrative, with the protagonists arguing among themselves and overcoming assorted problems as they seek their goal, but the details are well-thought and the writing is sharp (despite the unnecessary coda at the end). José Coronado – who was also in the excellent The Body and El Lobo – is the stand-out performer.

Rating: 7/10

Review by Matt Blake, 2016

What the critics said

“A high-profile Spanish project that’s uneven on every level except technique, the watchable but forgettable The Last Days finds helmers Alex and David Pastor failing to deliver on the promise of their 2009 English-language debut, Carriers. Also an apocalyptic thriller, but this time set in Spain and shot in Spanish, the pic is overblown where Carriers was subtle, and probes far less deeply into the human consequences of living in the bizarre world it depicts. That said, there’s still enough energy and gloss to ensure the pic will play well to undemanding auds, and it’s held its own against higher-profile American offerings in local release.” Jonathan Holland, Variety.

Quotes

The Last Days is an even vaster project [than Carriers], more spectacular and ambitious, even though it cost less. Filming in the United States costs more: everyone earns more money and every week of filming costs more, though some spending is superfluous. For example, studio directors come to watch the shooting, and they fly first-class and stay in 5-star hotels. We also have very well-equipped trailers that we hardly use, assistants who follow you around everywhere and constantly ask if you want a cool drink… You can really do without all that. For The Last Days, we didn’t have any of that, and we didn’t miss it. Here, we have smaller budgets, but all the funding can be seen on the screen: it is used for the movie to shine out and be impressive. Superfluous spending does not exist, and team members are more willing to tighten their belts. Here, we spent more weeks shooting, more days with camera cranes, more experts and extras, and many more special effects. We have a way of getting a return on money that they do not have over there.” Interview: Àlex and David Pastor, Cineuropa.

Notes and further information

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