Nowhere, a new Netflix original film from Spain, has unexpectedly become a breakout hit and reached the upper tier of the most popular movies on Netflix. That’s no small feat considering that this movie didn’t get a lot of promotion, and that the lead actress, Anna Castillo, isn’t well-known outside of her native country. And yet, Nowhere is currently higher on Netflix’s movie chart than established hits like The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Albert Pintó directed the film from a script by Ernest Riera, Miguel Ruz, Indiana Lista, Seanne Winslow, and Teresa Rosendoy. Castillo stars as Mia, a woman who is attempting to escape a deadly regime in Spain alongside her husband, Nico (Tamar Novas). When the pair are separated before soldiers massacre the other refugees, Mia finds herself alone in a cargo container that is slowly sinking into the ocean. And if she doesn’t find a way to escape, then both Mia and her unborn child will die.
Now that you’ve heard the setup, it’s time to share three reasons why you should watch Nowhere on Netflix.
The vast majority of Nowhere is a one-woman showcase. Once Mia is in the cargo container, Castillo is largely on her own. It can’t be easy to carry an entire movie on one performance, but Castillo pulls it off with every trick in her actor’s book. Castillo’s facial expressions, her body language, and every aspect of her being comes into play here as she conveys Mia’s desperation and determination to survive. It’s not entirely unlike Tom Hanks’ performance in Cast Away. Except Mia doesn’t have a volleyball to talk to. She just has herself and her child.
Nowhere also has a sense of claustrophobia as the situation continues to devolve for Mia and her daughter. But by that point, it’s impossible to not be rooting for Mia to find a way through this crisis. Thanks to Castillo, we’re rooting for her the entire time.
It’s more than likely that Nowhere was filmed on a very limited budget, especially since most of the film takes place in the shipping container. This works to the movie’s advantage, because the production team went through the effort to make the film’s lone set piece into a convincing recreation of the real thing. Even when the water rises, it doesn’t shatter the illusion that what is both Mia’s sanctuary and her prison is real. Every movie requires a certain amount of suspended disbelief, and it’s a lot easier to do that when the environment doesn’t look like a cheap set.
Everyone should know this by now, but most people don’t watch movies to see characters suffer and die. We watch films because we want to see people live and overcome the obstacles that are in front of them. Suffering is a byproduct of that experience, but it can also be uplifting when the main character finds a way to go on. That’s what Mia has to do for the entire film. She never has an easy path, and the setbacks that she experiences are enough to break anyone.
Regardless, Mia doesn’t stop fighting to live, both for her sake, and for the sake of her unborn daughter. That’s why this is a tale of survival, rather than an unrelenting tragedy. In short, there’s always hope, even in Mia’s darkest moments.
Watch Nowhere on Netflix.
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