Netflix’s Nowhere (2023) Movie Review & Summary: Anna Castillo Gives A Breakthrough Performance

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Netflix's Nowhere (2023) Movie Review & Summary: Anna Castillo Gives A Breakthrough Performance - The Movie Culture

Nowhere (2023) is an upcoming survival thriller film directed by Albert Pintó. The screenplay for the movie is by Ernest Riera, Miguel Ruz, Indiana Lista, Seanne Winslow, and Teresa Rosendoy.  It was produced by Miguel Ruz.  The movie will be released on Netflix on 29th September 2023.

Nowhere Movie (2023) Cast

  • Anna Castillo as Mia
  • Tamar Novas as Nico

Nowhere Movie (2023) Plot & Summary

When basic resources in Spain become scarce, a military regime takes over under the guise of managing resources. Tyranny ensues as they begin to get rid of all the dependent citizens of the country, including the elderly, pregnant women, and children. Under these circumstances, many of the women and children try to make their escape through illegal means. Mia and her husband, Nico, try to escape through waterways by hiding in shipping containers. However, the ensuing chaos soon separates the couple, and the circumstances that follow leave a frantic and heavily pregnant Mia stranded alone in the middle of the ocean inside a shipping container, forced to fight the odds and fend for herself and her unborn child.

Nowhere Movie (2023) Review

While the setting of the movie for the majority of its runtime is the open ocean, it starts in a dystopian and bleak Spain, with dwindling resources and military rule. It opens to the backdrop of a massacre, as pregnant women and children are separated from their families and thrown in literal cages. The aim of the military regime is hinted to be the complete elimination of dependent citizens in order to reduce more mouths to feed. They are shown to be brutal and unforgiving in this endeavor.

In its initial minutes, the movie serves as a subtle commentary on the need for sustainability and conservation of resources, as well as the cruelty of humans when faced with desperate times. It almost leaves you with a feeling of longing when this dystopian appearance of the movie soon transitions to that of a survival thriller. The makers created great potential for a narrative of a darker possible future, all the while having no intention to take it further. The movie leaves you wishing you knew more about the history that led up to these circumstances and hoping for a resolution. When Mia finds herself stranded in the ocean, you realize these questions will remain unanswered as the setting of the movie has shifted for good.

However, even though the regime and its tyranny are not the central focus throughout the movie, the dystopian backdrop is not completely removed from the rest of the story. Rather, it compliments the plotline throughout, sometimes in obvious ways while other times, with just some undertones. For instance, it definitely explains the impeccable survival skills that Mia possesses throughout, using everything she can find inside the shipping container to her advantage. But wait, we’ll get back to Mia in just a bit.

As a survival thriller, Nowhere does not disappoint. Generally speaking, the movie is not the first of its kind. ‘Stranded in the ocean’ is a genre of its own at this point, meaning every new movie with the same concept has to stand out considerably to be remembered, especially with globally recognized movies like Life Of Pi and The Poseidon Adventure coming under the same umbrella. However, looking at it through a more filtered lens, you understand what sets this movie apart.

The first thing that helps its narrative is the dystopian backdrop, about which I’ve already gone into heavy detail, but I guess I’m not done yet.

The struggles that the protagonist, Mia, has already undergone and the sorrow she’s already faced make you want to root for her more and make you want for things to finally turn around for her. Especially considering how the brutality her world faces does not seem far-fetched. Rather, it seems inspired by the past and borrowed from the future, which makes Mia a subject for empathy.

The second strong point of this movie is Mia, the protagonist. Though she starts out desolate and defeated and needs to be constantly reassured by her more optimistic husband, she shifts gears when it comes to protecting her unborn child. Mia in survival mode is a thrill to watch. Whether it’s her momma bear instincts or her experience in making do with the bare minimum, it definitely brings out her strongest side. The ‘Phineas and Ferb’ side of hers awakens, and she efficiently and effectively makes every possible object in the shipping container work to her advantage.

The movie is also greatly benefitted by the acting skills displayed by Anna Castillo. Storytelling is often made interesting when the plotline integrates multiple and diverse characters that play off of each other. But when the entire movie rests on a single pair of shoulders, it becomes a lot harder to keep the audience hooked. Castillo, however, makes up for the lack of numbers with her excellent and believable performance. Her portrayal of frustration, hope, dejection, and affection is understated yet impactful. Tamar Novas, though his screen time is limited, is pretty convincing as the loving and optimistic Nico. 

The screenplay is probably one of the weak links for Nowhere. It is unevenly paced and a little jarring. There’s either a lot happening or absolutely nothing. Some moments feel extremely repetitive,  especially as it nears the climax. But where the pacing lacks, the gritty and unfiltered visuals make up for it. The integration of gore and doom is done adequately for the story and, fortunately, not overused for shock value.

The background score of the movie complements it well. For the most part, it is understated and does not interrupt the narrative. This is why, the one time the music is given the central focus in the form of a lullaby, of all things, it impacts you exactly in the way it is meant to. This haunting lullaby surfs the waters between hope and dread. 

The Movie Culture Synopsis

All in all, Nowhere is a captivating and compelling movie that balances the survival thriller elements with social messaging undertones surprisingly well. The movie discards all curtains and drapes and never once sugarcoats anything. So, while it may do a number on your appetite and maybe even make you sob once or twice, it is definitely a must-watch.  Especially for fans of the survival genre, this movie should surely make its way onto their to-watch lists.