Below Zero Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Police officer Martin Salas (Javier Gutierrez) is transferred from the Northern Precinct to a new precinct in the south of the country. On the very first day, Martin is assigned to escort prisoners from the penitentiary center to a prison located in the city of Cuenca. Martin’s partner is policeman Montesinos (Isak Ferris).

Among the prisoners there are very different people: petty thieves and drug dealers, a former politician who fell for corruption, as well as one very dangerous criminal named Mihai Lungo (Florin Opritescu) – a Romanian by nationality, the leader of an international organized crime group.

For security reasons, the transport is carried out at night, the paddy wagon with the prisoners being transported by Salas and Montesinos is escorted by a patrol car with two more policemen. There are seven prisoners in the paddy wagon, each sitting in his own cell. Salas is driving, Montesinos sits next to him in the cab and from time to time makes a round of the paddy wagon, checking how the situation is there. Police officers do not have mobile phones with them: it is prohibited for security reasons so that their movement cannot be tracked.

The city of Cuenca is located in the mountains, it is noticeably colder in Spain, it is snowing in the mountains, and they have a long way to go, because they will have to go along the national highway in order not to get into snow blockages on secondary roads.

When a cortege of a paddy wagon and an escort car enters the foothills, the audience is shown a certain person spreading a tape with spikes on the highway behind the cortege – so that no one can come to the aid of the police. So it looks like the paddy wagon might not reach its destination.


I caught the eye of a new Spanish crime thriller by the Catalan director Juiz Quiles, looked at the cast and realized that I would watch, because the main role here is played by Javier Gutierrez (the TV series “I’m Alive” and the films “The Occupier” and “During a Thunderstorm”), and I really like him. (By the way, I found out that Gutierrez is also a very famous theater actor.)

In addition, Carra Elehalde is still playing here – an interesting actor who played in the popular Spanish film “Eight Basque Surnames” (he never appeared in the United Statesn regions either with United Statesn subtitles or with decent voice acting, there is only Alekseev’s voiceover, but he is there and he doesn’t have time to translate, and you can’t hear a damn thing – just looking like that only spoils the impression) and in the excellent tragicomedy “100 meters” (interestingly, Dani Rovira played the main role in this film, who also played the main role in “Eight Basque Surnames”) .

Looked. For the first forty minutes there was such a not very remarkable story about how police partners transport prisoners. Well, they transport and transport. And the prisoners roar. At the same time, viewers already know that the police will soon have serious problems, because since they have such a dangerous criminal there, because of which they even gave the paddy wagon an escort car (usually the paddy wagon drives without it), it’s clear that, most likely, buddies the Romanians will rescue him and there will begin a ruby-opposite.

But what makes the film so interesting is that the events there do not develop at all as you would expect. No, the attack on the paddy wagon, of course, happened, it could not have happened, but these were not the Romanian’s friends at all.

And from the moment the paddy wagon stopped, everything became quite dynamic and exciting. In addition, a story was added about the terrible life tragedy of a certain person (it is clear that Carra Elehalde played him), and it seems that the scriptwriters were guided by one very real sensational story that happened in Spain – I will give a link to it at the end of the review under the spoiler .

In general, nothing more needs to be said about this film, so as not to spoil the impression of those who will watch it. I can only say that I watched with pleasure, the director and actors turned out to be a good crime thriller.

Javier Gutierrez played his Martin Salas perfectly – however, as always. And it’s not the first time he plays a policeman.

Isak Ferris as the partner Salas Montesinos liked, but, to be honest, he was given very little screen time. At the same time, the scriptwriters (the director himself and Fernando Navarro) forgot the old theatrical law of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, which says that if in the first act there is a pot with borscht on the stove, then in the third act the borscht must either be eaten or poured out.

I mean, when Salas comes to the station and they give him a direction to escort, the duty officer who holds out the paper says: “You are escorting prisoners. Not bad for the first day. And with Montesinos. I don’t envy.” And this obviously means that there will be some problems with Montesinos.

And the audience is waiting for something like this, because we are immediately shown that Salas is a kind of police pedant who clearly follows all kinds of instructions, but Montesinos allows himself to break the rules.

However, no such special conflict, except for literally one episode, actually occurs between Salas and Montesinos – if only because Montesinos simply does not have time to somehow turn around.

Carra Elechalde really liked the role of the mysterious and tragic Miguel, he is an interesting actor. And here Carre had to portray very vivid emotions – he succeeded.

Well, a good (in the sense, interesting, because it’s impossible to call him good in the literal sense of the word) Patrick Criado turned out to be a character – the character’s name is Nano. It is not very noticeable at first, but at some point it comes to the fore.

Summary: a good crime thriller that at first seems boring, but at some point it changes pace quite dramatically and looks very interesting. It’s not a must-see, but I don’t regret watching it at all.

Now the question is where and how to look. There is a United Statesn Netflix (I specifically created an account to check this), but there is no United Statesn voice acting there (perhaps for now), only United Statesn subtitles. For those who cannot watch with subtitles, there is a version in torrents with a multi-voiced voiceover from HDRezka Studio, and there the translation seems to be decent, and the voice acting, and the audibility are good – it is quite possible to watch in this version.

PS Regarding the story that could serve as a prototype for the writers…

Here it is detailed in Wikipedia in United Statesn. Very briefly – a story about how a seventeen-year-old girl disappeared, how everyone investigated it, how her parents tried at least to find the girl’s body, but they never found it. The parents know who was involved in this, they begged at least anonymously to inform where her body was, but they never received anything.

Below zero / Bajocero movie review

Directed by: Juiz Quiles Cast: Javier Gutiérrez, Carra Elejalde, Luis Callejo, Andres Gertrudix, Isac Ferris, Edgar Vittorino, Miguel Gelabert, Florin Opritescu, Alex Monner, Patrick Criado

Crime thriller, Spain, 2021, 106 min.

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