Re:View – ‘FIN’ (‘The End’)
Just what we need – another post-apocalypse movie – or is it? Taken from the novel by David Monteagudo and adapted by Jorge Guerricaechevarria (Day of the Beast, Accione Mutante) and Sergio Sanchez (The Orphanage, The Impossible), this Spanish production has gold-plated credentials and asks a larger philosophical question – what if we knew we would simply cease to exist?
A group of old college friends gather together in a countryside retreat (outside Valencia) for a reunion. They’re a volatile mix to begin with, and are soon drunkenly arguing about past rifts and liaisons. Then one of them notices that Sirius has vanished from the sky. A massive blast accompanied by an electromagnetic pulse, knocks out all electricity and seals their car doors shut. Setting off on foot to the nearest town, they search homes and find evidence that they’ll disappear one by one.
And that’s it, really, except that the events prove gripping because there are questions to be answered – why did one of their group not turn up? What’s in the notepad of predictive drawings? Who will be left at the end? While most of the humans have vanished, animals have been left behind. There’s a terrific sequence on a narrow mountain path with a stampede of rams, and another when the group, now on bicycles, tries to outrun a pack of starving alsatians.
Unlike other apocalypse movies the emphasis is away from terror and gore, and far removed from gut-crunching zombies. Instead it’s elegiacal and touching as the group realise that life does not necessarily have to go on.
Finally, though, it’s down to the big questions – who are we if we have no friends or lovers? Are we defined by the love of others? Can independent strength keep us alive, or must we admit love to survive? Some may find the ending unsatisfactory – after all, the biggest questions are the hardest to answer. But it’s a unique, unclassifiable film that’s prepared to do something different. The photography is luminously beautiful and there’s a great late appearance by a lion.
Right now it seems that Spain is incapable of making a bad genre movie.