The Invisible Guest (Contratiempo) is a suspense mystery from Spain. It’s full of twists and turns and keeps the viewer working at the puzzle until the end.
From director Oriol Paulo, the film is designed to keep the truth hidden. It mostly does that well, although near the end the veil hiding the truth wears thin.
The story begins with two lovers, both married to others. They get involved in a car accident on a remote road. They are Adrián (Mario Casas) and Laura (Bárbara Lennie). It was an accident and not the fault of either driver.
A young man dies in the other car. Rather than report it and have their affair disclosed, they try to hide what happened. Adrián takes off with the other car to somehow dispose of the car and the body.
Laura stays with Adrián’s car and will pick him up after he’s finished. Except the car won’t start. A nice guy named Tomás (Jose Coronado) stops and offers her help. Laura accepts.
Tomás tows the car to his place to fix it. Laura meets Tomás’ wife (Ana Wagener). Laura sees a family photo that makes her realize, to her horror, than the dead man they are trying to hide is Tomás’ son.
That starts off the story, which has many turns involving the police, big money, and a murder in a locked hotel room. Adrián is implicated in the murder. The attorney who comes to help him with his defense in the murder trial finally cracks through Adrián’s many versions of the truth. Adrián and the lawyer sit together in a hotel room for 3 hours as they go over and over all the details of the car accident, the affair, and the murder.
Those details change with each retelling, as Adrián and the lawyer work through ideas for a defense. We see each version in a flashback – but what really happened?
Themes of truth, justice, and sacrifice are prominent in the suspenseful The Invisible Guest (Contratiempo). Adrián was wealthy, so themes about money buying one’s way out of responsibility are also included.
I thought the film looked beautiful. Wonderful color, texture, framing, and composition for every shot made it exceptionally striking to watch.
The film is on Netflix. Take a look at the trailer.