Let’s stay warm.
Netflix’s Spanish thriller Below Zero pits new cop Martin (Javier Gutierrez) against crooks inside and outside a prison transport after it is attacked. As the cold sets in and the inmates plot to escape, how can one man save himself?
The simple plot allows for us to jump right into the action as we follow Martin on his first day at the new precinct. He is slotted to drive a prison transport, which includes some major criminals, and only has his partner Montesinos (Isak Ferriz) with him in the bus. Two officers lead them in a second car, but they are still isolated.
Director Lluis Quilez masterfully paces the tension as we know it is only a matter of when, not if, things are going to go wrong. Once the ambush occurs, Martin is trapped alone in the back of the transport to keep safe from being sieged from the outside, but the criminals on the inside represent another threat.
Smooth talking Ramis (Luis Callejo) works as the de facto leader of the criminals inside, and Callejo performs the role with charisma and brutality. His character is one of the highlights of the film. As he wishes to utilize the chaos to get out, he must figure out a way to get the key from Martin.
The man sieging them wants Nano (Patrick Criado) and says he will let the others go. Nano tells them not to believe the man on the other end of the radio, Miguel (Karra Elejalde) and says this man is a former cop who will kill them all.
Who to trust and who to fear morphs throughout the story as more information is slowly uncovered for us to see.
The lighting, directing, and sound are excellent in this film. The claustrophobia of the prison bus is nearly relentless, and the personalities of the prisoners make them seem bigger than they are. Martin is a smaller man than the criminals, and he increasingly appears cornered (sometimes literally) by these overwhelming threats.
The best part of this film is that there isn’t a dud performance from anyone. Even smaller roles are given the same strong treatment from the actors. This well-acted thriller benefits from a steady director and well-paced writing to create one hell of a captivating ride.
However, as the story progresses, logical gaps begin to appear in the story. As with a lot of mysteries, the film is better when viewed and not analyzed deeply. Once you begin to pull on a loose thread you might find more unravels than you might expect.
Were going to analyze the ending on the next page, so don’t click unless you’ve already seen it. For a fun and exciting evening at the movies this one gets a hearty thumbs up. Might not be the best film ever, but you’ll be glued to the screen for the running time.