Every year, there are always several disaster films appearing in the big screen. This year, a film As the light goes out joins the disaster film family,.
On the eve of Christmas, every corner of Hong Kong is decorated with colorful bulbs and everyone is celebrating the western festival. Suddenly, the whole city is plunged into the darkness, and panic immediately overtakes people. It is because the power station which controls Hong Kong’s entire electric system explodes. Firemen rush to the scene. Their top priority is not to put out the blaze, but to rescue those people trapped in the collapsing building. A test of life and death begins.
An audience Wu Qi said, “As the light goes out is better than other Chinese disaster films.” Usually, this type of film has a similar plot: in the beginning, nothing happens, but all of a sudden, the disaster breaks out, and then the familiar plot rescue and escape begins, and finally, some characters escape successfully. However, the director and scriptwriter Guo Zijian does not shoot the film following the regular routine. At the beginning of the film, subtitle has implicitly brought the audience tension. It writes, “When fighting a fire, the biggest threat to firefighters is not fire, but the dense smoke. The dense smoke can lower visibility. What’s worse, it contains many toxic ingredients like carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulfide, which can choke people to death in three minutes.” These simple words not only create the tension atmosphere in advance, but also disclose the information that dense smoke plays an important role in the film.
“Dense smoke is the core,” Guo admitted, “It represents the fear hidden in human’s hearts.” Because of an accident a year ago, three characters all left sequela and their friendship has been broken. When they are stuck in the fire, the smoke triggers their conflict. They have to complete the rescue task; at the same time, they should conquer their fear and conflict. The critic Ba Piwang commented, “The director focus on the description of humanity more than disaster.”
In order to make the plot close to the firefighting scene, Guo spent two years on understanding fire service and collecting firefighters’ stories. In addition, all actors had to train in the fire brigade for one month and many professional firefighters took part in the shooting process as well. Xu Peidao, a consultant of Hong Kong Fire Department, praised the film as “the most authentic film about firefighting”.