Netflix has released several post-apocalyptic feature films in recent years. Surely the enormous success of ‘Blind’ weighed in that, the company’s most watched film since its launch at the end of 2018 until the arrival of ‘Red Alert’ just a few months ago.
Today I have to talk about Netflix’s latest proposal within post-apocalyptic cinema. I am referring to ‘Black Crab’, a film that comes to us from Sweden and that has the additional claim of the presence of Noomi Rapace in front of the cast. Its amazing trailer invited us to be optimistic and it is true that it is among the best films that Netflix has released so far this year, but it is also a pity that its final stretch is not up to the rest.
The general over the specific
‘Black Crab’ is a film that will surely disappoint those who want to know in detail the situation of the post-apocalyptic world in which the story is set. Here the script of Adam Bergalso director of the film, and Pelle Radström from the original novel jerker virdborg bets more on the vague, emphasizing more on the fatality of the situation than on the details around it.
In fact, the starting point is that one of the sides of a war sees the limit and decides to raise an almost suicide mission as the only hope to turn the conflict around. It is never clear who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, or even the motivations of any of the parties or what has triggered everything.
Accepting that is something necessary to immerse yourself in a mission that lent itself perfectly to a lighter and even comical approach, but in ‘Black Crab’ there is a commitment at all times to The intensityoffering the extra hook of the protagonist’s personal motivation to agree to carry a mysterious package through.
The first 30 minutes focus precisely on getting to know the character played by Rapace better. From that brilliant and forceful prologue with which the film grabs you from the first moment to the bleak panorama of current reality. The film fully complies when it comes to getting you fully into what it proposes.
Quite a few virtues and an important mole
There has been carried out a very convincing work of setting which is then prolonged in a more than remarkable way in all the scenes on ice, either to highlight sinister elements that reinforce the atmosphere between the pessimistic and the rarefied that Berg proposes at all times or simply to influence the immensity of the area -‘ Black Crab’ is generous in its use of wide-open shots- and how left to their own devices are the members of the mission.
In addition, ‘Black Crab’ doesn’t make a big deal about what exactly they are transporting, something that a priori should work in their favour, but at the moment of truth it ends up being what works against them, to the point to leave with the feeling of being stretching the film more than necessary in its last act.
Put another way, ‘Black Crab’ is a remarkable post-apocalyptic thriller during its first 75-80 minutes -The truth is that the film could have ended there and I would be delighted. Obviously, it would convey a different idea. It is true that many of its characters do not go beyond the accessory and that in plot terms it ends up being more familiar than desirable, but it has much more visual force than usual in Netflix productions and Rapace leads the film with solvency in the dramatic sections.
The problem is in the arrival box, where it seeks to raise the dramatic impact and punctures the bone. It is not something ridiculous like what happened in the case of ‘Mother/Android’, but everything is much more obvious. There the film asked to raise the momentum and carry to the last consequences those effective attempts at violence that were scattered throughout the story, but everything is entrusted to an effective emotional blow when it arrives but unsatisfactory in what feels like an overly long preamble.
I’m pretty sure I’d be telling you right now that Black Crab was Netflix’s best post-apocalyptic movie yet if it weren’t for that unsatisfying last act. Until then it was an absorbing story and a great work of setting in which it was easy to overlook its most improvable aspects -those little flashbacks I would have saved them- due to the strength of the whole. But then it is precisely strength that is lacking in what should be the great climax.