Without a doubt, the characteristic note of this small and modest piece of sci-fi from Netflix is its conciseness and how it compresses the time it takes to get to the end of the world for the characters. We are used to movies and series that stretch the time that the apocalypse lasts, when civilization is already in the process of decomposition or is even about to rebuild (as in the new series of ‘The Walking Dead’, ‘World Beyond’, set ten years after the original story)
This time, however, ‘Disomnia’ poses a world that is progressively crumbling, but at full speed. The reason: people cannot sleep. In other words, their days are numbered before fatigue triggers hallucinations, leads to coma and, finally, death. And they don’t know how they can fix it.
Who may have the key is a girl (Ariana Greenblatt) who, for some reason, can sleep. Her mother (Gina Rodríguez) and her brother (Lucius Hoyos) have to protect her while they consider whether it is a good idea to take her to an army detachment, old acquaintances of the mother, who may want to experiment with her. Meanwhile, around him, society is literally decomposing: religious people become fanatics, peaceful people lose their temper and criminals are dangerous beasts.
The great triumph of ‘Disomnia’ is that it manages to transmit in a simple way and without the need for great explanations (we all, to a greater or lesser extent, know what extreme fatigue is, and it is easy for us to imagine how lack of sleep would modify our behavior ) a sense of absolute urgency. On each sequence the characters who do not sleep are more and more devastated, and their behavior is revealed more extreme.
To mimir, if you can
On paper, ‘Disomnia ‘is part of the already exhausted subgenre of post-apocalyptic films in which the characters have some limited capacity. Unleashed by the success of ‘A peaceful place‘(soon to release a sequel), we have seen productions in which the characters cannot see (‘Bird Box‘, ‘See‘) or they can’t make noise (‘ The Silence ‘,’ A Quiet Place ‘itself), and’ Disomnia ‘seemed to go along that line.
Fortunately, the frenetic pace that the characters must follow and the speed with which they face their destiny (in one day the mother is already teaching her daughter to shoot, and making a plan for when she may not be there) she catches a feverish movie and doesn’t seem to find a place to rest either. The result is that the viewer is suitably infected with that baffled and fatalistic vibe, giving rise to a direct and brutal post-apocalyptic experience.
Of course, with its frenetic pace and its decision to keep the viewer in a perpetual state of ignorance so that confusion will spread, it does not always hold the interest, and there are some excess interludes and a few excessively hasty moments. For the rest, Mark Raso’s experience as a director of dramas is perceived, which focuses effortlessly on the simple conflict of the character of a very remarkable Rodríguez, absolutely focused on foreseeing an immediate future for her daughter.
Like a vision of the apocalypse after running a monumental marathon, with cloudy eyes and limbs not obeying the orders of the brain. This is how ‘Disomnia’ works, a tiny but forceful piece that shows that even for a topic as hackneyed as the end of the world there are vantage points and dark areas that can still be explored.