An Unremarkable Spanish Crime Thriller
The Warning isn’t a particularly bad crime thriller, nor is it a particularly good one either. Sitting somewhere in the realm of mediocrity, Spanish thriller The Warning is a slow, methodically paced film that jumps between two key characters in different time periods. With alternating parallel perspectives, The Warning flits between Jon (Raúl Arévalo) and 10 year old Nico (Hugo Arbues) for the duration of its run time all the while hanging the imminent threat of murder over the film. Despite a few well worked twists and an intriguing but ultimately unfulfilling ending, The Warning fails to deliver anything significantly appealing that hasn’t been done better elsewhere.
The story begins in 2008; Jon witnesses the death of his best friend as he’s shot at point blank range in an isolated 24 hour convenience store. Skip forward 10 years and we follow the life of Nico, a 10 year old boy who’s relentlessly bullied by his peers and understandably shaken when he receives an anonymous note telling him not to go in the 24 hour convenience store on his birthday or he’ll die. From here the story jumps back and forth between the two time periods without warning (especially to the audience) before a climactic ending that may leave many scratching their head when the credits roll rather than feeling truly satisfied.
Despite some cleverly worked plot ideas and twists, The Warning doesn’t really offer anything unique that other crime thrillers don’t already do. The slow pace, dual time periods and intense focus on the two focal characters make this quite an acquired taste and one that some may not find palatable. A sloppily implemented mental health angle with Jon’s psychological issues is thankfully overshadowed by an important and realistically depicted portrayal of Nico being bullied. Aside from these two subplots, The Warning doesn’t really offer a whole lot to get excited about until very late on when some much needed pace is injected into the plot. If we’re really nitpicking, Jon’s alleged genius relies heavily on repeating the same pattern of numbers throughout the film which rely very heavily on suspending your disbelief for periods of the film.
The Warning is well shot though and for the most part the visual design of the film is consistent and generally pretty good. The acting from the majority of the main cast also fit the bill too, with Nico and Jon both doing well with their shared limelight, delivering some realistic and believable performances throughout this 98 minute film. Despite this, The Warning just isn’t particularly endearing or long-lasting in its effect and when it comes to crime thrillers, The Warning just doesn’t offer enough to make it one of the better offerings out there.