Arts off the beaten path

‘So far I’ve never lost a case before any judge’

‘The Invisible Guest’ thrills with its countless twists and turns

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Adrián Doria (Mario Casas) and Laura Vidal (Bárbara Lennie) discuss their options.
Courtesy of Film Factory Entertainment
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Adrián Doria (Mario Casas) and Laura Vidal (Bárbara Lennie) discuss their options.
Courtesy of Film Factory Entertainment

The Invisible Guest/Contratiempo
Directed by Oriol Paulo
Screenplay by Oriol Paulo
Starring Mario Casas, Ana Wagener, José Coronado, and Bárbara Lennie
Rated R
Available on Netflix

Whether it be music, film, theater, or even a lesser known Netflix series, art in its many forms inspires people from all walks of life. With “Off The Beaten Path,” we hope to take some of the more obscure gems that have inspired us and share them to our readers for the express purpose of mutual enjoyment.

To kick off this column, I am highlighting The Invisible Guest, a Spanish foreign film that delves into the world of murder mystery thrillers.

After Adrián Doria (Mario Casas) is found locked in a hotel room with his dead mistress, Laura Vidal (Bárbara Lennie), he is convicted for her murder. This threatens his status as a successful tech CEO and ruins his relationship with his wife and child. Full of pride and arrogance, Adrián is desperate to find a solution to the gaping hole in his alibi to prove his alleged innocence. Welcome Virginia Goodman (Ana Wagener), a highly regarded witness preparation expert who agrees to come out of retirement to take Adrián’s case as her last. Right off the bat, she establishes her expectations with the young businessman: “Your testimony has holes, and I need details. Plausibility is based on details. I can use them to convince the world that you’re innocent… So far I’ve never lost a case before any judge, but I need you to cooperate.”

This then sets into motion the many twists, turns, and backflips the story will take you, but don’t worry about getting confused along the way. Through Virginia Goodman’s observations, each new development is thoroughly explained and implemented to either add or subtract from the current narrative at play, and that’s one of the things I absolutely love about this film. The dialogue between Adrián and Virginia Goodman is like a game of cat and mouse, except sometimes you’re not even sure who’s who. As each new alleged alibi is brought up and examined in its entirety, you’re waiting on the edge of your seat for the truth to eventually reveal itself.

I’ve watched The Invisible Guest at least five times, with friends and family alike, and I’ve always found something new to pick out and analyze each time. The writing that went into The Invisible Guest is clever yet tense, but the excellent acting is also another factor into what makes the film great. If Adrián Doria wasn’t as pompous and self-preserving or if Virginia Goodman wasn’t as delightfully quick-witted, the film would still have been great in concept but incredibly bland and morbidly confusing in execution.

Thankfully, the reality is that the film had a great production team and cast, so the next time you’re browsing through Netflix and uncertain of what to watch, this gem is definitely there (hopefully) to save you from boredom!