Mirage (2018)

I loved Oriol Paulo's The Invisible Guest which is why I've been putting off Mirage (Spanish: Durante la tormenta) for the past month, afraid that the film would not meet my high expectations. 

The story begins on November 9 1989, the day of the fall of the Berlin Wall, during a storm. Twelve-year-old Nico (Julio Bohigas) hears noises from next door, he investigates and discovers his neighbour, Ángel Prieto (Javier Gutiérrez), standing over the dead body of his wife with a knife. Nico runs away but he's hit by a truck and killed in the process. Twenty-five year later, on November 9 2014, the same storm occurs, and Vera (Adriana Ugarte), who has recently moved with her husband, David (Álvaro Morte), and daughter, Gloria (Luna Fulgencio), into Nico's old house, is connected to Nico through an old analogue TV and has the chance to save his life. The next morning, Vera wakes up in an unrecognizable reality where her daughter was never born, and sets out to go back to her life.

Mirage's plot is by no means perfect as it's quite absurd — I'm yet to find a story involving time travel that isn't though —, it has some holes, things that happen that don't make a lot of sense, and the twists, while there's plenty of them, are quite predictable — the cheating husband couldn't be any more obvious than that; the cop being grown-up Nico was also pretty obvious as it was the only logical explanation for the character to be around Vera all the time; the romantic twists, however, I didn't see coming, althogugh I should have since the film is listed as a romance as well . Despite its many flaws, and the slow pacing, the story is intriguing and compelling — it grabbed my attention right from the beginning and kept me hooked until the ending — and it's filled with so much tension I literally jumped on my seat at some point. 

Just like the plot, the characters too could have used more logic as the actions of the kid hardly make any sense — imagine being a kid and hearing noises in your neighbour house. I'm pretty sure your reaction is not to go over and see what happened. It's more likely you do nothing or call the police. But then there wouldn't have been no film —, the mother, while I get her confusion and frustration and despair at first, should eventually get her shit together and act as if it was all normal to find out what happened, and the scientist/professor who wrote a book about Nico's contact with a woman from the future apparently knows absolutely nothing about time travel and parallel universes, she doesn't even know if Nico was a real kid as she only spoke with his mothers. 

Despite the flawed screenplay, Adriana Ugarte does a great job as Vera, a woman with the memories of a parallel universe life. She is very believable as she goes from a happy, cheerful mother to a desperate mother who only wants her life, specifically her daughter, back, and portrays the character's courage and stubbornness very well. Not only she manages to keep the character and film believable, but she is also responsible for the film's numerous touching moments. The supporting cast also does a pretty good job, the standout being Javier Gutiérrez as he adds so much dimension to the otherwise thin character of Nico's neighbour, Ángel. Chino Darín, on the other hand, gives a wooden performance as Inspector Layra, the cop who helps Vera.

Mirage is also very atmospheric with its storm clouds and dark settings, there are some enjoyable Back to the Future references — like the lighting striking the clock — and it's very enjoyable if you turn a blind eye to the script.

I've read some people complaining about it being too complicated to follows — apparently people can't read subtitles and watch what happens on screen at the same time — and that it unfolds too slowly. Frankly, I'm a person with quite a short attention span and I wasn't bored for even a second.

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