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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 07.14.14] Spain post apocalyptic thriller

In the Pastor Brothers' latest apocalyptic thriller, The Last Days, the human race becomes trapped inside office towers and shopping malls after everyone develops an irrational fear of open spaces. In the wake of this, the world is plunged into something of an organized chaos, where pockets of people must find alternate routes of travel across cities and fight over dwindling supplies.

In the centre of the film is Marc, a dissatisfied Spanish software developer who is working overtime out of fear of being fired as a redundancy. All this stress and overwork is causing him problems with his girlfriend, so when the last words he speaks to her before the plague hits are out of anger, he becomes obsessed with finding her and sets out on a journey through Barcelona's underground.

Made for even less money than the Pastor brothers' previous film Carriers (which you should have all seen by now), The Last Days is nonetheless visually stunning and delivers the scope and cinematography of a much more expensive film. According to the filmmakers, staying in Europe offered them that option which is why they chose to make this in their native country and not America.

Much like Carriers, The Last Days is something of an apocalyptic road movie, but instead of the main characters working their way across the desert, they are moving through the tunnels and subways of Barcelona, meeting up with different characters along the way. We get glimpses of the outside world, of course, sad reminders of the world we've lost. While the movement allows the narrative to remain captivating, I often wished we could spend a bit more time in some areas to see how the majority of humans were coping with such a strange outbreak. But, as this is more of a character piece, it just isn't that kind of movie. But, don't let that make you think the film doesn't have some thrills, because The Last Days has its share of excitement. One scene near the end of the film in particular is both technically and viscerally thrilling. I won't give it away, but it involves a raid on a supermarket.

At it's core, The Last Days seems offer a warning not to let ourselves become so modern that we lose touch with our humanity. We're overworked, we're glued to screens and stuck in cubes all day and the stress is taking it's toll. In it's wake, we're losing connection to one another and losing connection to the natural world. We can't imagine "bringing a baby into this world," -- well, we made this world, right? In fact the film's final moment hits this idea home in a fairly fascinating turn which sees the next generation leaving us behind completely. Let's hope they handle their anxiety a little better than we have.

You can buy The Last Days on DVD now.

Here's the film's trailer:

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