The Decline (2020)

PATRICE LALIBERTE

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5

Original Title: Jusqu’au déclin

, 2020. . Screenplay by , , Patrice Laliberté. Cinematography by . Produced by . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

Climate change and social unrest are pulsing concerns around the world, growing to such an alarming temperature that people have made it their priority to be prepared in case of an apocalyptic emergency.  The family we are introduced to at the beginning of this tight, taut thriller tests their preparedness by running practice drills, packing up their house and belongings and heading out of the city while timing their escape.   They watch Youtube videos by a survivalist expert who gives them handy tips on such things as how to pack food for long periods of time, then father of the household Antoine () heads out to meet the video host for real.  Something of a guru for the end of days, Alain has a remote compound out in the snowy woods where he has invited a group of fellow paranoiacs to develop their skills in self-sufficiency, bringing them to his secret location blindfolded, putting them up in a shared barracks and spending days hunting and trying out various weapons.  The end is near and is without a doubt on its way and none of these people attending this boot camp have any doubt about it, but their uniform determination is shattered when an honest accident takes out one of their party and the argument over dealing with it fractures the remaining campers.  From here it becomes a true game of survival but not in the future, in the very real present, with a group of people who move from disagreement to violent conflict very quickly in a place already beset with numerous dangers.  The action gets exciting and there’s some terrific, upsetting violence before we finally reach the bitter end, pulled off with impressive, direct speed by director Patrick Laliberte who perhaps practices a little too much frugality with the narrative and could have let the torturous agony gone on an extra ten minutes.  Too short though it may be, it’s an exciting and smart murder-by-numbers exercise that very humorously suggests that assuming the worst about the future is the most reliable way to ensure that it happens.

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