Whilst the industry quarrels amongst themselves on whether the power of streaming is poisoning traditional cinema, Netflix are scattering releases in various forms and genres. Their second Spanish language movie Bomb Scared, otherwise known as Fe De Etarras, is about a group of so-called Basque terrorists awaiting word from their leadership on their next mission. The reason I root for streaming platforms is that it generates challenging and daring movies that may have not leapt onto the big screen. Despite the subject being terrorism, you come to realise that Bomb Scared is not a challenging or daring movie at all. It is just delivered well.
The reason I state that is because I was expecting a feature-length film about wannabe terrorists playing a bunch of industry style gags. To its advantage, Bomb Scared really is a dark comedy. The kind of dark comedy that relies on plenty of conversations between characters, that at times are quick-witted but then on other occasions feel slightly murky and sinister. The premise begins with the terrorist group, caught up in an undesirable storm by being under threat by the authorities. One of them flees. The timeline shifts years later and the one that fled is now the leader for one of the terrorist units. He is awaiting his call for the next significant mission to attack Spain. The entire plot mechanism is that the entire unit (including the leader) are all completely inept.
That is where the comedy comes into play. As an audience member I felt, at first, that Bomb Scared was not selling to me the idea that this was meant to be funny, however, once you get used to the subtitles and allow the narrative to move forward, it becomes amusing. It is a movie where it requires the comical aspect of their entire situation to really tickle your guts near the end. The plot encircles Spain being in the World Cup and obviously, because they are against the Spanish government, despise that they keep progressing through the tournament. The World Cup is the timeline to the entire plot and you can sense that as Spain progress, so do the characters.
It is the characters that elevate this feature to the level that it occupies. Bomb Scared is not how it sounds. There are no terrifying moments where they are trying to deliver a violent plan or nearly getting caught by the authorities. The entire gag is that they are amateur and it softens the idea that these people are essentially planning horror on innocent lives. You watch them eat together, have a variety of different conversations, and deal with relationship issues. Of course, parts of the narrative deal with the impatience of waiting for the next mission, but the whole eagerness of the characters apparently wanting to do something dangerous just adds to the comedy. The movie has been constructed in such an isolated way that you do not need to know the drawn-out history that involves Spain / France and these terrorists. If you focus solely on just the characters then you are in safe hands.
Terrorism is a buzz word widely misused in many media forms but in regards to Bomb Scared, we have a good attempt at dark comedy to portray a useless group of people trying to convince themselves that they are terrorists. Despite its reliance on the audience to slowly engage with the narrative, it is well worth the watch. I fairly enjoyed it.
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