After the end of the world, people don’t behave any better: "Bright"
The exposition already unfolds some of the horror this film will hold in store: A middle-aged couple, apparently French, has been in a car accident. There is twilight, the car is on the roof in a forest. The man is injured and cannot free himself from the car. "They come!", he says, after the camera has already indicated the presence of observers with subtle subjective movements and implied latent threat. He urges his companion to flee, for a moment she is frozen with terror, then she rushes off through the forest – and with her the camera…
Then follows a change of scene. You get to know the three occupants of a car moving through a desert landscape on an otherwise deserted street. The car is dirty, overloaded with sometimes suspicious-looking objects, tools and dented metal and plastic containers, which, as it soon turns out, contain the two most valuable substances in this world: Water and gasoline.
The windows of the car are almost completely darkened, hardly a direct ray of light is allowed to penetrate them. When the passengers leave the vehicle, they cover their skin and wear strong sunglasses. These occupants are two sisters: Marie (Hannah Herzsprung), the older one, and Leonie (Lisa Vicari). At the wheel is Phillip, whose relationship with the two sisters is initially unclear.
A little later, it becomes clear that he is Marie’s lover, a man with self-seeking tendencies; she seems to be more pragmatically interested in him – in the face of the end of the world, one must finally stick together, and questions of the suitability of relationships are reduced to the elementary, which was already true in the Neander Valley: Whoever can provide protection and food has good cards.
What remains after the apocalypse
And it is about the end of the world, more precisely about what remains of our world after the apocalypse. Already the title is to be understood therefore ambiguously: It means the opposite of darkness, that abiding light which dominates here over the longest distances, and at the same time denotes in English that Holle which this bright world has become in almost every respect.
Hell is a science fiction thriller, a dystopia, set in our immediate future, in the year 2016. Many things here still look familiar, yet everything has changed fundamentally – climate change has accelerated so rapidly that the Earth has warmed by 10° Celsius and become a desert. Water is the most precious commodity, food and fuel are also extremely scarce.
The three want to make their way to the north, where there is supposed to be water and shelter for survivors. Soon a fourth one (Stipe Erceg) joins them. We don’t learn much about all four of them until the end of the film – only a few things about their previous lives, such as the catastrophe they have been through, are hinted at.
Tim Fehlbaum, a Swiss-born student at the HFF Munich, achieves a small sensation in his debut film – also his HFF graduation film – which was already awarded the "Director’s Choice Award" film festival in Munich, is a small sensation: there is hardly anything new about this post-apocalyptic drama, which uses motifs from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", "I am Legend" "The Last Man on Earth" and last but not least "The Road" John Hillcoat’s adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s award-winning novel of the same name.
Some genre specialists could complain that many plot twists were familiar to them. But the film is by no means aimed at those communities of insiders who, as early as the 1970s, had already rejected any notion of the "Midnight Cinemas" where dystopian and cannibal films were shown, but he. Rather, he is concerned with opening up the open-minded mass audience to these materials.
Something like this has not been seen in Germany since "Meat" not seen
It succeeds, the film is gripping and for the majority of the audience, who are used to mainstream, nevertheless a challenge – since beside the horror of the circumstances also explicit violence and cannibalism belong to Fehlbaum’s version of the end of civilization. Fehlbaum plays virtuously with quotations from film history. He shows that he knows the classics of the genre.
It combines its set pieces in an imaginative and coherent way. It must be emphasized that "Hell" is not least an excellent producer’s achievement. It may be that this film would not have been possible without the participation of Roland Emmerich – but as a result, with a fraction of the financial means, a film was made that does not have to hide next to Hollywood productions: This applies to the look of the film, its production design, but also to the tensile narrative style: Without giving anything away, no idea is left unturned "ridden to death", but told in hints and straightforwardly. Sovereignly Fehlbaum masters his means – something like this has not been heard from Germany since "Meat" not seen.