'Black crab': an absorbing Netflix post-apocalyptic thriller with a great setting job that loses strength in its final stretch
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 at the head 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 shame that its final stretch is not up to the rest.
'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 by Adam Berg , also the director of the film, and Pelle Rådström based on the original novel by 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 itself at the limit and decides to propose a practically suicidal 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' the intensity is always committed , offering the extra hook of the personal motivation that the protagonist has. 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.
A very convincing work of setting has been carried out there, which is later 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 the use of open shots - and how abandoned to their fate 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 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 square of arrival , 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.