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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Movies
The Invisible Guest
    2017-September-22  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Starring: Mario Casas, Ana Wagener, Jose Coronado, Barbara Lennie Director: Oriol Paulo

A CAR crash on a twisting, lonely back road triggers a pileup of twisting and turning events in Spanish director Oriol Paulo’s satisfyingly crafted thriller “The Invisible Guest,” the follow-up to his acclaimed “The Body.” Paulo may indeed be incidentally interested in themes such as the shifting truth, justice and the way arrogant, powerful people react to losing control of their lives, but he’s far more interested in keeping the viewer engaged and breathless. This he does very well, indeed. But in this tricksiest of films, psychological depth is as invisible as the titular guest.

Following an apparent blackmail attempt — there’s a lot about “Guest” that is “apparent” or “seeming” — successful businessman Adrian Doria (Mario Casas) is found in a locked hotel room with the dead body of his lover, fashion photographer Laura Vidal (Barbara Lennie). This very contemporary film has its roots in such classic fare as “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Agatha Christie, and John Dickson Carr’s locked-room mystery masterpiece, “The Hollow Man.”

To help him out, Doria hires the silver-gray haired, renowned witness preparation expert Virginia Goodman (Ana Wagene); and their face-to-faces as they circle the truth are among the film’s most memorable. Because a last-minute witness is threatening to show up at the soon-to-start trial with damning new evidence, they have three hours, as Goodman’s stopwatch literally clicks away, to come up with a defense — the Spanish title, meaning setback, translates literally as “against time.” And Goodman actually doesn’t believe a word of Doria’s blackmail story.

An alternative version by Doria slowly emerges. The back-roads accident kills a young driver, and Laura panics: They agree that Adrian will get rid of the body while Laura will wait for help, which comes in the form of local man, middle-aged Tomas Garrido (Jose Coronado, who played the lead in “The Body”), who tows her car back to his family home. At the house, Laura realizes something that will color everything that comes later, while the storytelling shifts up a technical gear, recounting events that took place simultaneously and playing interesting games with point of view.

Events make regular returns to the hotel room where Goodman, whose job is to be suspicious, is testing Adrian to make sure his story will hold up. Every time it does not, she probes him a little more, insisting all the while on the importance of detail, which of course keeps the viewer watching carefully too. Various possible scenarios are presented skillfully — some real, some lies and some imagined.

If both “The Body” and “The Invisible Guest” can be criticized, it’s because they both feel a little too chilly, too obvious in their construction, and too keen to excite: A couple of twists fewer would not have hurt and would have left more in reserve for the big finale.

Despite its impressive economy — basically, it’s all about four characters — It loses its grip on plausibility over the final half hour, in rapidly unfolding scenes that in retrospect fall apart.

It would be a nice bonus if we could care about the characters with all our attention focused on the events. But we’re not made to care — though the performances, from some of Spain’s strongest talent, are very strong. Lennie, Wagener and Coronado all dominate Casas in their scenes with him.

Viewers who take Goodman’s advice to focus on the details will have figured out the ending after the first half hour, but that will only matter when the final scene arrives and fails to make its impact: the movie’s destination may be too clearly signaled, but getting there makes for an exciting ride.

All tech aspects are well handled, with Fernando Velazquez’s busy score a highlight and Xavi Gimenez’s camerawork easily transitioning between the film’s twin settings, which boil down to the glossy urban and the wintry rural.

The movie is now being screened in Shenzhen. (SD-Agencies)

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Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn