Movie Review: 'Before the Fall'




‘Before the Fall’ is a 2008 film from director F. Javier Gutierrez and produced by Antonio Banderas.

Gutierrez is attached as the director for the upcoming remake of ‘The Crow’, which made headlines on May 5, 2013 for its casting of up-and coming actor Luke Evans (Immortals, Fast and Furious 6) in the title role.

When a relatively unknown director becomes attached to a project like ‘The Crow’ which has a devoted fan base, I am always compelled to research the director’s previous works and to try and imagine what their upcoming “buzz project” might look like. In short, is the unknown director a good fit for such a high profile remake?

And in an interesting synchronicity with Gutierrez about to become famous for a remake, a big-time Hollywood director has recently announced intentions to purchase the rights to make an English version of ‘Before the Fall.’

‘Before the Fall’ is a Spanish-language story about a family living in the town of Laguna, in Spain. Ale (Victor Clavijo) is a handyman living with his mother Rosa (Mariana Cordero) and is regarded as something of an underachiever.

The banality of their existence is interrupted when the international media announces on their small black and white television that the world will come to an end in 72 hours. Despite the finest efforts from countries around the globe to prevent catastrophe, an asteroid considered to be a “global killer” will soon arrive on Earth and completely annihilate all human life.

As chaos envelops the residents of Ale’s small town, he retreats instead within himself to spend his final hours drinking and listening to music in his room. When his mother Rosa decides to look in on her grandchildren, Ale’s nieces and nephews, he finally suffers a mild crisis of conscience and decides to accompany her to his brother’s house out in the countryside.

Upon Ale and Rosa’s arrival at the pastoral home, they discover that the children there have been abandoned by adults. Their parents have not returned yet from a holiday away and the babysitter went for groceries and never returned. The children are alone and helplessly unaware of the recent global news or how much the world has changed.

To make matters worse, Ale’s older brother is a local hero for having assisted in the apprehension of a local child murderer some years before. A riot at the prison where this murderer is incarcerated has resulted in the prisoners escaping. Rosa and Ale are sure to receive a visit from the vengeful murderer seeking retribution against Ale’s brother.

‘Before the Fall’ is a unique film in that it stages the story to reveal the true natures of our protagonists. So often “end of the world” movies are all about the special effects and fail to even attempt to capture the emotions that a person might go through knowing that all life is about to end. To add to that a character arc about love, faith, and redemption makes ‘Before the Fall’ at times bleak and tragic, yet often optimistic and hopeful.

The film is engaging throughout and largely thanks to the performance of Victor Clavijo as Ale. Clavijo is dynamic in a performance that requires much from its lead actor.

The film is beautifully shot, and the screenwriting has produced dialog that feels organic to the situation. The tension is palpable throughout the second and third acts of the film, and once director Gutierrez has set the table plot-wise, ‘Before the Fall’ is a very impressive feature.

I will be not only highly interested in F. Javier Gutierrez’s ‘The Crow’ remake, but equally interested in the possible American remake of ‘Before the Fall’ by legendary suspense director Wes Craven.

For viewing the trailer for ‘Before the Fall,’ click here.

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