Nowhere (2023) Movie Review – Netflix’s survival thriller drifts around aimlessly

Netflix’s survival thriller drifts around aimlessly

There are a lot of survival-themed movies out there. Castaway is perhaps the most prolific, but recent contenders like Jungle, 127 Hours and even Everest see humanity tested and pushed to their absolute breaking point. Part of the appeal with these films comes from seeing that human spirit endure and make it through seemingly impossible odds to come out the other side unscathed. Or not, as the case may sometimes be.

Nowhere is the latest stab from Netflix at creating a survival-thriller, boasting a distinct post-apocalyptic Spanish flavour to boot. The story, set in a world ravaged by austerity, sees a pregnant woman called Mia escape from a cruel dictatorship in Spain with her boyfriend Nico onboard a shipping container bound for safer waters.

However, on the way Nico and Mia end up separated, with Mia forced to go it alone and survive on a shipping container all alone for as long as she can. Disaster inevitably strikes and with salvation seemingly miles away, Mia has seemingly insurmountable odds to survive. Except when deus ex machina calls of course.

For the first half of the movie, Nowhere actually sets its world up quite well. There’s some good mysteries rippling under the surface around Mia’s past, while the world itself is interesting and begging to be explored in more detail.

The second half however, takes a turn into silly waters. Mia suddenly becomes proficient in everything right off the bat. She can hunt, she can make nets, she can bend steel while also starving, and all of this, while never once having to contend with the real killer here – freezing water.

I’m not going to nit-pick but given the film is a survival thriller and spends almost all of its time battling water, hypothermia and freezing temperatures is only mentioned once, and that’s for Mia’s baby and not Mia herself.

The film constantly wants you to believe Mia is in danger, and to be fair, there are moments where she is. Unfortunately, the screenplay never dwells on these moments and aside from one hallucinatory moment and a couple of segments with her losing control, Mia is never fully tested to the limits. At one point, she rips her leg wide open on a rogue bit of rusty metal. However, she quickly stitches herself up and on she goes. There’s no infection, not much blood loss and the whole affair is never really mentioned again beyond a bit of hobbling about.

The film definitely has its moments but the second half in particular drags down the excellent set-up. We never really know whether Mia is really travelling to salvation, given the state of the world and the ambiguous ending to things. In fact, the ending just sort of…ends.

While Nowhere is fine by itself, when you compare it to other survival films, it pales by comparison. There are so many questions left unresolved and the survival elements will leave you questioning the believability of it all.

Can Mia really survive for days on end in freezing cold water by just wearing another jumper? Can she really bend steel using amazing strength after surviving on rationed bits of a baguette?

In the end, Nowhere is a pretty apt title for this film. Netflix’s post-apocalyptic survival thriller doesn’t really go anywhere. It drifts around in familiar waters for a while before delivering a pretty humdrum ending to proceedings. It’s certainly not a bad film though, and there are some stand-out moments for sure, but it’s also not a film you’ll be scrambling to return to anytime soon.


Read More: Nowhere Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 6/10

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