Durante la tormenta / Mirage (dir. Oriol Paulo, 2019) – Two storms connect a woman’s murder and a child’s vanishing, 25 years apart.
Director Oriol Paulo has produced yet another compelling genre film that delivers in suspense and heart, despite predictable turns.
25 years ago, young Nico (Julio Bohigas-Couto) was killed in a car accident after he witnessed a murder during a storm. Another storm in the preesent day sees Vera (Adriana Ugarte) find a way to reach Nico before his death. She prevents his accident with a warning, only to be swept up in the butterfly effect of the altered events.
Something a small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can cause a typhoon halfway around the world, or so claims the Chaos Theory. It rings true for Vera. Her perfect life falls apart when she learns that her child Gloria was never born and that she is no longer who she believed herself to be.
Not even her husband David Ortiz (Álvaro Morte) recognises her, and he appears to be married to someone else. An intriguing premise sets off her tense search for answers.
She has but 72 hours before the storm comes to an end, which will be her last chance to get her old life back. She looks to the police for help. But convincing Inspector Leyra (Chino Darín) may prove harder than she believed, now that she is starting to doubt her own reality.
Time travel narratives are aplenty. Oriol Paulo makes his particularly engaging by finding the heart of the story, as he did with his previous work Contratiempo (‘The Invisible Guest‘). Taking his time to home in on the characters, he acquaints the audience with Vera’s family, such that it was easy to empathise with her loss.
Central cast performances cannot be ignored. Adriana Ugarte as Vera evokes the utmost sympathy in her desperate strive to get her daughter back, every display of emotional torment a stab in the chest. Chino Darín too follows up his strong filmography with a quietly powerful performance, and truly shines in the third act.
A genre fan may be able to see what is coming, but there is nothing quite like the experience of watching the mystery unfold. It is with smaller international films like this that we have Netflix to thank for their wider distribution. For such an elegantly crafted sci-fi gem, it will be a shame to let Mirage slip under the radar.