Acide (aka Acid) (2023)

Acide (aka Acid) (2023) MOVIE DETAILS
Name: Acide (aka Acid)
Year: 2023
Country: France, Belgium
Director: Just Philippot
Main cast: Guillaume Canet, Patience Munchenbach, Laetitia Dosch, Marie Jung, Martin Verset, Suliane Brahim
Runtime: 99 minutes
Production company: Bonne Pioche, Pathé Films, Caneo Films, Umedia

Although they are not very recent, we all still have present those two movies by Roland Emmerich where the Earth as we know it is coming to an imminent end, The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and 2012 (2009). Two titles where the German filmmaker exposes his fixation on global warming, human mistreating of the planet, and the quest for survival, in the shape of cheesy high-budget disaster science-fiction epics. I won’t say Acide (2023) is the French response to those films, that would be a mistake although the similarities are clear, but it is a graphic way to put the reader of this text into context.

The start point of this film is quite similar to the ones previously mentioned. We get exposed to a series of disastrous events caused by the acid rain in South America, but the people in France, where the action of this film is set, pay no mind, see it as a far affair, and feel safe from the menace. Until the clouds carrying the mortal rain start to roam their territory. Soon, hysteria takes over and the population panics, showing once again that in situations of deadly distress we humans are selfish vermin with little empathy and solidarity for others.

The movie focuses on a family running away from their town trying to find their loved ones. A mission that every minute of the screening seems to be further and more impossible, they find other survivors, new threats, and death. They keep running, sometimes not being sure what or where the destination is, and with a constant feeling of defeat, but that is what the essence of surviving is, right? To keep in motion no matter what.

With an impeccable production design, sets, special effects, and performances, the main problem of Acide (2023) is the linearity of the story, avoiding different shades but the mere survival and with the only exhaust valve of the superficial interactions the family encounters with other people in similar situations. The tone is never optimistic and the characters are detached from all humanity focusing on their only interests. That is a very realistic personification of what could happen if a situation like such would take place in real life, as we saw how we dealt with the recent COVID pandemic, but it is not the best scenario for a film if you want the audience to get identified with the characters and the events. Although, on the other side, the plausibility of those situations is what gives the movie the right sense of hazard and danger and keeps you glued to the chair for over one hour and a half of the running time.

Acide (2023) has many similarities in tone, color, and eco-horror topic as the debut feature film from Just Philippot, The Swarm (2020), which won the Special Prize of the Jury award at the Sitges Film Festival in the Secció Oficial Fantàstic, the same award Acide (2023) is nominated for this year. The reaction from the public was enthusiastic, probably even more favorable than mine, so it is a firm contestant for the winning. And although my final conclusion for the film is not the most euphoric, this is a movie we should take into consideration, not only for being a thrilling survival action drama but also for the theme implications it displays. We are fucking up the planet and sooner or later we are going to find ourselves in one of those situations depicted in the fiction of Roland Emmerich or Just Philippot.

RATE: 6/10