‘Below Zero‘ is a Spanish action thriller film directed by Lluís Quílez who also co-wrote it. The feature is known as ‘Bajocero‘ in Spain and was produced by Morena Films. It had its premiere in the United States on Netflix.
Martin (Javier Gutiérrez) is a rookie police officer with a wife and kid. His first assignment is to drive a prison transport through a remote region with his partner Montesinos (Isak Férriz). At first, everything is going routine, even as bank robber Ramis (Luis Callejo) annoys the others with his prattle. However, they enter an area with dense fog where visibility is low. Their escort vehicle disappears and then they hit a set of spikes. As the group of prisoners begins to grow restless, Martin soon realizes that someone is stalking their vehicle and as the night grows colder, the danger begins to grow greater. The man outside wants one of the prisoners or he will kill everyone in the transport.
Of the modern pieces of European cinema I have endured recently, this one was actually not bad. It was not great, but not bad. Although the full on flash from one of the prisoners at the beginning of the movie was unnecessary. I do not know why European filmmakers think random nudity is good storytelling. It is cheap and does nothing for the story.
The plot was straightforward that followed the pattern of a thriller. There was nothing new or unique about it, but I cannot criticize it too harshly for the direction it took. It hits all of the high points and some of the low, but all in all, it was mediocre. There was a tonal shift in the second act that somewhat felt off-kilter, but it picks up from there.
Javier Gutiérrez’s role definitely was able to bring out the fear that his character was feeling as he battled through every obstacle his enemy planted against it. The other actors did a good job with the roles that they were given. The character development, particularly for the prisoners, was a bit rushed, but they managed to bring it together.
There are themes involving revenge, the lack of empathy from law enforcement, and what true justice looks like. I felt that it touched on these themes lightly, but did not dig too deeply. I thought that subtle approach made it less obnoxious than a lot of films try. I was actually surprised by its conclusion and impressed with how they handled it.
Bottom line, Below Zero is a thriller that does have some faults, but overall it is not bad. It provides plenty of thrills, feels, and chills to keep your interest in its plot.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Violence, Foul language, Nudity
FAVORITE QUOTE: Does this have something to do you?
Check out the trailer below:
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