Fire Will Come. With a title like that you know you are in for something vicious. It is the story of two people, Amador and Lois. Lois is a young firefighter, part of a troop that specializes in forest fires. Whereas, Amador, on the other end of the spectrum, is an arsonist. Before long a huge fire starts to sweep the land – one which Amador is accused of starting. The two of them find themselves crossing paths as the fire keeps on burning.
Fire Will Come is not one of those dramatic takes on a natural disaster that big budget studios like to put out. You know the ones – where a rising star takes the lead as bigger and older names pop up here and there, as everyone reflects on what is important in life. And thank our lucky stars that it’s as far away from Roland Emmerich as you can get. No, this Galician-language film is a slow-burning (no pun intended) display of visual and audio storytelling.
The opening scene has a bulldozer charging its way through a forest – felling trees in its wake. It’s a simple image. Some might even call it a mundane thing. But the visuals are dark. There are shadows everywhere, with only the orange light of the dozer lighting up the scene. The dozer itself is the brightest point of the scene as it carries on felling the forest. And the sound is claustrophobic.
When it had started, I thought that, for a minute, I had put the wrong film on – that I had accidentally mixed it up with a monster movie or some fantasy with dragons. This is because the screen just roars itself to life. There’s deep growling everywhere – the only other noise being that of the trees. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what this represents.
That is exactly what the rest of the film is like. It is powerful. It grips you early and it carries on with such imagery. It feels hot, just like there is an actual fire ready to seep out of your screen. It’s scary yet fascinating, just like fire.
The performances are good across the board, although I will admit that none of them are anything special. The characters are interesting and do help you get through the film as you are watching it. But I must admit that I do struggle to remember them after watching it.
The same can be said for simple dialogue scenes. When Fire Will Come needs to take it slow and simply let the dialogue carry a scene – it doesn’t fall flat exactly – it is considerably weaker than the rest of the film.
Fire Will Come will not win any awards for dialogue or slower moments. But to be fair, there are not what the film is about. This is a film of powerful images and unsettling noises. And as such, it is powerful. Undermining that would be as unnecessary as complaining about a lack of plot in a John Wick film. It’s not an easy watch, nor a quick one despite a shorter runtime.
But the imagery and sound design blend together so perfectly that it becomes a unique film that is certainly worth your time.
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