Bored? Fed up of the monotony of lockdown life? Well, what you need this weekend is a good movie, and thankfully Netflix has got you covered.
New today is the Spanish action, crime-thriller, Below Zero (aka Bajocero). The movie – directed by Lluís Quílez – is a tense picture, about a police officer caught up in a sinister and rather tricky situation.
Below Zero tells the story of a group of prisoners who are being transferred to another facility, during the dead of night. The procedure should be routine, but mid-journey the armoured truck that is transporting them is attacked and all but one police officer is killed.
Injured, the surviving officer locks himself inside the van with the prisoners, while he tries to formulate a plan of action. But sealing himself in the van puts him in grave danger, as he is now locked inside a vehicle with a ragtag group of criminals who don’t take kindly to police.
As the story progresses, the prisoners try to escape, while the person who attacked the van is very keen to get inside. All the while, the officer is caught in the middle, trying his best to survive, in what is a very tense, and very effective picture.
Below Zero is a simple thriller, which takes a straight-forward premise and stretches it out across the span of one-hour-and-45-minutes. It doesn’t break any new ground, it doesn’t push any boundaries, and it doesn’t star any big Hollywood names, and yet, it is very engaging.
The reason Below Zero is guaranteed to get you hooked is because it knows exactly what it is doing from the offset. It understands that captivating films can be told without the need for huge spectacle or a high concept, so long as they are consistent in their storytelling and they don’t run out of steam.
Too many thrillers capture an audience’s attention early doors, usually with flashy effects, but then fall short at the final hurdle. Below Zero doesn’t do this and instead maintains its momentum, and its suspense, delivering a great pay off in the process.
Below Zero is very much an ensemble piece, but it is led by Javier Gutiérrez who plays Martín, the unfortunate officer at the centre of the story. Gutiérrez brings a strong presence to the picture, and is a stand out star of the film.
Unless you’re a connoisseur of Spanish film and television, it is unlikely you will know Gutiérrez on this side of the pond, but he has an exhaustive list of acting credits on IMDb and it’s really not that surprising. In Below Zero he is perfectly cast, and should the producers ever decide to make a follow-up, there is plenty of room for the actor to develop his part. As for the rest of the cast, they are all on fine form, which is in keeping with everything about this picture. From the atmosphere and the set design, to the lighting and the stunts, Below Zero doesn’t put a foot wrong.
Due to the film being in Spanish, and not it not carrying any recognisable names (at least not recognisable in the UK anyway), I expect Below Zero to fly under the radar; but don’t let it. This isn’t ground-breaking stuff, but it is worth a couple of hours of your time – so check it out.
Oh, and Below Zero defaults to dubbed English on Netflix, so be sure to change the language settings back to Spanish and flip on the English subtitles. Then, grab a beer, sit back and enjoy a film you probably didn’t even know was on Netflix, but now that you do, you’ve got no excuse to overlook it.