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Starring: Mario Casas, Bárbara Lennie, Ana Wagener
Director: Oriol Paulo
Running Time: 106 mins
The Invisible Guest (Contratiempo) is a Spanish film about a young entrepreneur who finds himself working against the clock to find a watertight defence against allegations that he murdered his lover.
This is an excellent thriller. With twists and turns wherever you look, it’s a well-paced, unpredictable and overall fully riveting film from start to finish. With strong performances across the board as well, The Invisible Guest has an extra level of emotional power too, even if its characters sometimes act in less than sensible ways.
Let’s start off with what makes this film work best: the story. Now, it’s not quite the world’s greatest mystery thriller, and that’s largely due to the fact that everything that happens seems to be the result of a very selfish and arguably easily avoidable decision. However, the numerous twists that occur throughout are consistently surprising, often managing to take the story in directions that you really don’t see coming ahead of time.
As a result, you’re pretty much on the edge of your seat throughout, as the film manages to take two separate mysteries and turn them into one wholly satisfying and consistently riveting story, never getting too tangled up in its own twists, and proving a very well-executed, and most importantly exciting, thriller.
And that brings me onto the excellent directing by Oriol Paulo, which plays a big part in just how exciting The Invisible Guest is. For starters, the film looks brilliant. Sometimes a slightly washed-out, greyish colour palette can prove dull, but it matches this film’s intensity fairly well throughout, which in tandem with the slick camerawork throughout, gives the whole movie a great dynamic edge that you don’t really want to take your eyes off of.
Also, the pacing here is fantastic. There’s that moment when things really kick off in the first act, but the reason isn’t 100% convincing immediately. However, thanks to the excellent rapid pace, you’re able to stay fully engrossed because it just feels like something else is going to happen, which remains the case for the whole duration.
It’s not a relentless, exhausting thriller, but it is a film that is fully engrossing, and with its excellent pace and unpredictable twists, it will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish, making it well worth the watch.
Finally, we come to the performances. As I mentioned earlier, there is that one moment where a character does something and it just doesn’t sit right. That would have been a major problem had it not been for the fantastic performances from Mario Casas, Ana Wagener, Bárbara Lennie and José Coronado, all of whom put in performances with enough nuance and unpredictability that some of their characters’ less than convincing actions still add some tension to the story, something I was hugely impressed to see.
Overall, I was impressed by The Invisible Guest. There are a couple of little hiccups along the way, but with an overall enthralling and unpredictable plot, excellent directing and strong performances, it proves a brilliant thriller, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.0.