Our life is a sum of the small decisions that we make on a day-to-day basis. Every action, no matter how trivial it might seem, leads us down a specific path. And any sort of straying from this path can steer us towards a completely different journey, an entirely different life. Netflix’s latest release, ‘Mirage’ (‘Durante la Tormenta’, in Spanish), is based on this mechanism of the universe. After the success of ‘Russian Doll’, another story that makes use of time as a plot device, this film further cements the sci-fi undertakings of the streaming service.
In the easiest term, one can say that time is a delicate thing. While it might seem something utterly natural and very much ingrained in our existence, the fact that we don’t, yet, fully understand it is not an unshakeable fact. So, when a film explores its constructs, it takes the risk of not being foolproof. There’ll always be some glitches in the storyline, some loopholes that you can’t straighten out because the more answers you find, the more questions will emerge in return. In the end, for the film to work, you have to decide what its driving factor will be. For Oriol Paulo’s ‘Mirage’ that factor is a murder mystery and a mother’s love.
Summary of the Plot
The story begins with a thunderstorm in 1989, the night of the demolition of the Berlin Wall. Nico Lasarte is a young boy, taping himself while playing the guitar. When he hears some noise from the neighbour’s house, he quietly goes over there to find out the lady of the house, Hilda Weiss, dead and her husband, Angel Prieto, holding a bloodied knife. In fear, Nico runs out into the street. Distracted by the man following him, the boy doesn’t see the car coming towards him and is hit by it, dying on the spot. Twenty-five years later, another family moves into the Lasartes’ house. Vera is settling into the new house with her daughter, Gloria, while her husband, David plans to join them later. While exploring the house, they discover an old TV set and a collection of Nico’s tapes.
At dinner, they invite their long-time friend, and now a neighbour, Aitor Medina and his mother, Clara. Aitor tells them that Nico was his best friend and when he begins to tell them about Prieto, his mother becomes agitated and tells him to stop. Later, David finds out more about the case on the Internet, especially the fact that Prieto had planned to bury his wife in the slaughterhouse that he owned. A minor conversation about David’s smoking habits ensues, but before it can turn into an argument, it is jokingly dissolved by him.
In the middle of the night, Vera wakes up to the sound of the TV set, which is airing the news from 1989. Suddenly, the news stops and is replaced by Nico on the screen even when no tape is being played at the moment. As Vera tries to figure out how this is happening, on the other side, Nico sees her on his TV set. Vera realises that their sets are connected and that it is the night when Nico will die. As they talk, Nico hears the sound coming from Prieto’s house, but before he can go there, Vera tells him everything and prevents his death. The next day, she wakes up in the hospital, the same place where she works, and within minutes, learns that her life is not the same anymore. She is a neurosurgeon now, something that she had left in her other life. Her husband is with his ex, Ursula, someone he had left for Vera. And above all, her daughter doesn’t exist anymore. How will she get back to her now?