Right from the opening scene, you get a sense that The Decline is a solid and refreshing thriller. We follow a man rushing his family to a car in the middle of the night without any context. And this is something that continues throughout the rest of the movie. We will not get long exposition scenes boring the shit out of us. The Decline or Jusqu’au déclin, which is the original title of this movie, assumes we’re not idiots. It demonstrates that the old film rule show, don’t tell will always be applicable.
We will be following a group of people in a remote and snowy part of Canada after a tragic incident. I don’t want to reveal too much of the story as it’s one of the best aspects of this movie. And there aren’t many of them. The Decline is a well-constructed minimalist thriller making the most of its intelligent script and beautiful setting. The acting was spot on, especially from our two leads Guillaume Laurin and Marie-Evelyne Lessard.
Now, the movie lulls you into this false sense of security and then explodes with unexpected ferocity. However, I do have to admit that the atmosphere was quite ominous. Especially when you simply know that things are about to turn to shit. The only questions that remain are how and when. And although I knew all this, I simply couldn’t help feeling a bit disturbed. Events and reactions felt realistic and the lack of emotional nudging only amplified that feeling.
Antoine is a young man living with his family in a decently-sized city. He’s certain that the fall of the civilization is imminent and does whatever he can to prepare for it. And he’s not alone. There’s a large online community of like-minded people also expecting the same thing. What happens next is survival.
With a runtime of just eighty minutes and a brisk pace, The Decline is one of those movies you can watch at any time. I started watching it quite late one night and finished it without any issues. Unlike some other, bigger movies that simply put me to sleep. Also, it’s quite unpredictable as it strays from the established path.
Finally, it’s also an excellent character study without any pretentious gimmicks. So, if you’re looking for a small, sturdy, and effective thriller, it’s a perfect choice. Or if you want to see just how effective smoke grenades can be.
Director: Patrice Laliberté
Writers: Charles Dionne, Nicolas Krief, Patrice Laliberté
Cast: Guillaume Laurin, Marie-Evelyne Lessard, Réal Bossé, Marc Beaupré, Marilyn Castonguay
Fun Facts: The first Netflix Quebec production.
IMDb Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10307440/