Oozing with potential, Bajocero AKA Below Zero turned out to be just an average Spanish thriller. It features an original and intriguing setup that fell apart in the final third of the movie. Still, this is still a movie worth watching, especially if you like real-time-flow movies and movies about driving. It follows a police officer who has just been transferred to a new station and his first assignment is to take care of a prisoner’s transport during one cold night. You can kind of guess what’s going to happen but that doesn’t detract from the quality of the story. Without much fucking about movie goes straight to the point creating a foreboding and menacing atmosphere. That atmosphere is the thing that kept me watching.
Visually appealing and gritty in nature, Bajocero is filled with believable and engaging characters. Each of the prisoners on the transport has a real personality that’s not forced on us but develops naturally. However, this movie suffers from a case of what I call a Spanish high-intensity emotions gimmick. I know it’s a mouthful but it describes a device where you bank on a high emotional state of the viewer to go over some of the more unbelievable or unnatural developments in the story. I noticed this first with the highly popular television show La Casa de Papel and later in a couple of murder mysteries that I simply could not finish. Luckily, the whole thing is pretty toned down here, so you shouldn’t have problems finishing this movie.
Martin, an experienced police officer is getting ready for another night on the job. He’s assigned to a secretive prisoner transport along with a couple of other officers. The armored van is transporting a bunch of criminals convicted of various crimes. What he doesn’t know is that there’s a man waiting patiently in the dark for that very armored van. A man with a mission and a plan. This is not going to be just another night on the job. This is going to be something entirely else…
We’ve seen a lot of great Spanish Netflix movies recently, with phenomenal The Platform being the best one of them all. Bajocero is unfortunately just another standard-issue one with a lot of plot holes. It would seem they had a couple of great concepts but were unable to blend them into a believable story. As I already mentioned, towards the end, characters start making some pretty insane decisions and if you can’t suspend your belief, better skip this one because the whole thing can be frustrating at times. I mean, I couldn’t stop myself from chuckling few times at just how ridiculous the actions of the characters were. If, however, you’re looking for a stylish time-killer with some intriguing scenes and characters, you should check out Below Zero. The Last Stand is a relatively similar movie with distinctly Hollywood vibes. After all, it stars Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Finally, perhaps the reason why Bajocero counted on the main story so much is that it’s relatively similar to The Alcàsser Murders, a horrific crime that shook Spain to its core in the nineties. This is a bit of a spoiler, so if you want to know more about the crime, I recommend you watch the movie first. There’s a four-part documentary called The Alcàsser Murders about the whole thing available on Netflix.
Director: Lluís Quílez
Writers: Fernando Navarro, Lluís Quílez
Cast: Javier Gutiérrez, Karra Elejalde, Luis Callejo, Andrés Gertrúdix, Isak Férriz, Édgar Vittorino, Miquel Gelabert, Florin Opritescu
Fun Facts: In the beginning when the man in the poncho pulls a pistol and points it at the man who has a leg wound, clearly the magazine well is empty meaning that either the gun is empty, or has only one bullet in it (in the chamber).