Ian Nino In ‘Awareness,’ Explained: What Did The Mule Want From Ian?

The new movie Awareness, directed by Daniel Benmayor, has quite an interesting premise to grab the audience’s attention. A young adult named Ian has some special powers that make him the target of a mysterious organization that wants to hunt him down. In between all this, there’s another man who wants to find Ian, but his motives remain unclear. Awareness borrows from a lot of films and tries to come up with something new. It has a bunch of eclectic characters and a plot twist so shocking that it will surely make you question reality. Ian’s character is particularly interesting, as he doesn’t know who he really is. Apart from the power of manipulating people’s perceptions, the other intriguing feature of the character is that perhaps his father wasn’t really who he thought he was. His quest to uncover his true identity becomes a catalyst for the plot, and he is sucked into a world of secret organizations and deadly bargains. So, does he solve it all? Let’s take a closer look at Ian’s character:

Spoilers Ahead


Enzo Calleja As Ian

The instigating event of the plot was Ian’s decision to use his power on a civilian, which caught the eye of the omniscient powers who were looking for him. His father, Vicente, was the only man who cared about him. He wanted the best for him, which translated into keeping him safe. He couldn’t do anything out of the ordinary, lest he attract attention to himself. Vicente had his own secrets, which he never divulged to Ian. This secrecy plagued Ian’s existence, as he never really understood why Vicente had to live such a meager existence when Ian could use his powers, and they could do something wild, like rob a bank, perhaps. All Ian would have to do is manipulate the perceptions of people in the bank. They wouldn’t even realize the bank had been robbed. Nobody would be harmed, so what was the trouble?

When Ian used his powers on a cop and almost killed him, that’s when the matter got out of hand. There was an organization known simply as ‘The Agency,’ who were on the prowl for Ian. The reason wasn’t clear, but Vicente’s worried face was enough to reveal that trouble was around the corner. The father-son duo lived in a secluded place on a boat, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Ian was now eighteen and felt that he had not had the kind of childhood the other ‘normal’ kids had. Vicente, celebrating Ian’s birthday after recovering from a hangover, didn’t exactly cut it for him. He still felt that his life was passing him by on the silly boat, and he was getting desperate for something more meaningful.

This was when Adriana, a member of ‘The Agency,’ made contact, and Ian got to know that he was one of the many ‘Perceivers.’ At the Agency, Ian was told that he could enhance his powers and read people’s minds. The answers to his identity were buried in Vicente’s mind. Ian managed to use his powers and find out that Vicente had hidden the fact that he wasn’t his father. He had stolen him away from the Agency’s headquarters many years ago. Ian was devastated by this revelation, but there was a task at hand. Esther, another member of the Agency, helped him and Vicente escape from the headquarters, and Ian finally made sense of the whole thing. The Agency was after a special formula for creating ‘Perceivers’ of their own to stop another organization known as the ‘Awareness.’ There was a man following him, and if he had gotten to him first, things would have been quite different. Ian was the clincher in an ongoing war, and the Agency and Awareness, both organizations, wanted him by their sides because he was the only ‘perceiver’ having the secret formula.

Ian, who wanted a meaningful life, was now stuck with a nightmarish one. His foundation was shaken up as Vicente, the man who had taken care of him, turned out to be a stranger. No matter what Vicente tried explaining to him, Ian was not in a state of mind to believe him. In a way, Ian wanted a deeper connection in his life. Adriana might have fed him some lies about his higher purpose, but Ian was still lonely and loveless. He experienced real intimacy with Esther, and that made him reinvigorated to get to the bottom of the whole thing. Where was his mother? Seeking answers to this question, he reached Warsaw after reading Vicente’s mind. The man from Awareness kept tabs on his movement, and once he got to him, the truth was out. The man, who up until now seemed just to be a random killer, turned out to be Ian’s father. But he had ulterior motives as well. Ian was being manipulated by this man to get him to a place in his mind where Ian could tell him the secret formula hidden in his memory.

Ian was generally a gullible kid. He had no idea whom to trust. His anger made him blind to several things, although ironically, he was one of the strongest ‘perceivers.’ This anger was very cleverly channeled by the man with no name, and Ian was isolated, away from the people he cared about. Ian met his mother in a catatonic state, and Ian’s biological father blamed the Agency for her condition, but in fact, he didn’t care about her either. Ian’s birth was a miracle, as scientifically, it shouldn’t have been possible as the Agency had neutered all perceivers. When Ian’s mother died, Ian’s emotions reached such visceral magnitude that he was able to use his ‘third power,’ which was to project ‘loops’ on people and control their will rather than just manipulate their perceptions. Ian’s biological father was the mastermind behind this manipulation, but Vicente’s death stopped Ian from becoming a monster. Ian saw that his biological father was no different from any other villain in his life, and although Vicente was not his father, he was the only one who ever truly cared for him.

After the realization, there was a coming-of-age that happened in Ian’s life. He was not the rowdy kid who just wanted to lash out. He now knew that he had to control his powers if he didn’t want them to get the better of him. The final test was to let go of his own illusions. Esther’s life was on the line when Ian’s father threatened to kill her. Ian had craved love and intimacy, and he couldn’t decide whether to fight his father and risk Esther’s life. The shocking twist was that Esther wasn’t even real. She was just a projection loop devised by his father to manipulate Ian. Ian, in his fury, finished everyone off, including his biological father, who had killed Vicente. The real world that Vicente had tried so hard to protect him from has now shown its true colors. No one could be trusted, and yet he had to go on.

Being idealistic was not Ian’s goal anymore. He was told about ‘The Mule,’ the most powerful perceiver alive. Ian could only wait for him, as he knew that ‘The Mule’ was the founder of ‘Awareness,’ and he would soon come to extract the formula hidden in Ian’s memory. Ian’s need for companionship made him overlook the fact that Esther was just a protection loop, and this attachment to unreal entities may just prove to be his ultimate test against ‘The Mule.’ But he had the experience and the power now to fight him. Perhaps there are other hidden secrets about the formula that will shape Ian’s future. But for now, with Esther by his side, he was ready for the showdown, knowing fully well that he would always be hounded.


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Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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