Mirage (2018)

mirage1.jpgThis Spanish production now airing on Netflix as a Netflix Original (original title Durante La Tormenta) is a surprisingly satisfying entry in the time travel genre. As usual for these time travel/alternate timelines/time paradox movies, its very difficult to summarise the plot without it seeming too convoluted and/or, well, just plain daft. The trick with the best of them is to just suspend your disbelief enough to hook you in, and that’s what this film does quite well.  Maybe the fact that its a Spanish film with subtitles actually helps, because although the film has inevitable nods to 1980s Amblin films and Back to the Future in particular, it still looks and sounds very European, thereby maintaining a sense of originality and keeping some distance from the American genre that partly influences it.

So do I risk trying to unwrap the plot somehow without it seeming ridiculous? The basic premise concerns a strange electrical storm that settles over a suburban area in 1989, lasts for three days and then returns some twenty five years later, setting up a loop in time through which a young mother, Vera (Adriana Ugarte) is able to warn a twelve-year old boy, Nico, of an impending accident in 1989 and thus save his life. Unfortunately, her good deed of saving the boy has set up a new timeline, and she awakes no longer married to her husband and no longer the mother of a daughter. Indeed, while she has memories of her original timeline’s life, she has no memory of her ‘new’ life, and is desperate to somehow re-set the timeline and get her original life back- and more importantly the life of her daughter, who no longer exists. Complicating matters somewhat is a murder connected to the original death of young Nico, which threatens to dilute the central drama of the film with what initially seems a rather superfluous plotline that ultimately ties it all together.

On the whole its a successful yarn, albeit with a few plot contrivances that don’t really hang together too well in hindsight, certainly when given examination afterwards, but hey, at least this is a film that leaves you thinking by the end.  It handles its inherent paradoxes pretty well, and is an entertaining film- indeed, the cynic in me ruefully expects an American remake would have been on the cards had this not appeared on Netflix giving it the wider exposure it has no doubt received, making that Hollywood treatment largely redundant. Its a pretty good time travel adventure which is maybe a little overlong (suffering from trying to manage all those seperate plot threads, no doubt) with an emotional pay-off that doesn’t really connect (well, it didn’t with me) but up to that, its involving and has plenty of twists. Well worth a watch.