Disasters at sea have provided audiences with lurid thrills for hundreds of years, if not thousands. “Nowhere,” the latest addition to the seafaring survivalist tradition, won’t be remembered for long.
The film’s protagonist is Mía (Anna Castillo), a pregnant refugee fleeing totalitarian violence alongside her lover, Nico (Tamar Novas). A radio broadcast suggests that they’re escaping a war-torn Spain. But the film proves uninterested in exploring this dystopia, instead settling into generic survivalist sensationalism.
Mía and Nico start their journey together along with dozens of other migrants, but the brokers of their passage force the migrants to separate. Nico and Mía are split up. Mía’s struggles intensify as government forces stop the travelers: She hides amid cargo as police officers murder those around her, mostly women and children. Her container is hosed clean of blood, and packed onto a ship.
Mía is alone. Her solitude becomes absolute when a storm knocks her container into the ocean. Bullet holes and dubious physics prevent the container from filling with water completely, and Mía is left to drift at sea, responsible for her survival and the survival of her soon-to-be-born child.
As directed by Albert Pintó, “Nowhere” is a spectacle of fortune and disaster, good luck and bad breaks. There are some small innovations that strike clever notes — Mía manages to build flotation contraptions from Tupperware and make skylights using power drills. But it’s hard to care about Mía’s efforts to survive when coincidence drives the plot, and the production looks and feels cheap. There’s just one set, a few props and an admirably committed performance from a waterlogged Castillo, who keeps this flimsy vessel afloat.
Not rated. In Spanish, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 49 minutes. Watch on Netflix.