Thursday, 4 October 2012



Some of us like to predict the apocalypse as a biblical series of spectacular catastrophes: volcanoes, earthquakes, tidal waves, fiery meteors, blood-red skies and possibly zombies, with humanity largely wiped out and the few survivors either reduced to feral animals or struggling to build a new and better Utopia from the dust. Others see us ending not with a bang but with a mumble as the Earth's ecology just drains slowly away to zero (as in The Road where every day is just a little colder and a little greyer), with humanity again largely wiped out and the few survivors reduced to the level of tramps aimlessly wandering the wastelands. With no livestock or crops or water, there's absolutely no hope and no future.

Hell is a glum and despairing vision of Option 2 with a few slivers of a natural disaster that caused everything. It's 2016 and the temperature has risen by about 10C: sunlight is unbearable and society has collapsed. Sisters Marie and Leonie, along with Marie's boyfriend Philip, are heading for the mountains where there'll probably be water...but they're ambushed in the woods: Leonie and their recent pickup Tom are kidnapped and Philip gets his foot broken. It's down to Marie alone to get her sister back - but who's taken her and why?

You'd think there'd be some serious spectacle given that it's executive produced by Roland Emmerich, given his career in merrily trashing New York, America and the entire planet with Godzilla, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, but there's absolutely nothing in the way of orgasmic destruction to be had here. Everything in the daylight is bleached out and overexposed, with a dull brown, sunburnt and sandblasted look to it, everyone is miserable and as in The Road, the world on view is so devoid of food and water - not to mention hope or future - that you wonder if there's anything to be gained from continuing. Keep Calm And Give Up. That said, it's persuasively done: a suitably miserable and depressing vision of a drab near-future and what people will descend to just to stay alive another day. In German with subtitles.



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