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I'll Explain Why The Movie The Invisible Guest In The Room Is an Unheralded Savant
I'll Explain Why The Movie The Invisible Guest In The Room Is an Unheralded Savant - or we should probably watch way more international movies than we do.
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That is the single longest title I’ve ever written. But it’s exactly what it needed to say. I’m going to do some explaining. Talking. Bloviating. I plan to make my case. Pontificating. Conjecturing and arguing the point that the movie – The Invisible Guest in the Room… isn’t just good. That it isn’t just brilliant. Which it is. But better yet, that it is a savant. A learned academic about to take you to school. And not only that? You’ve never heard of the movie.

So, first things first… what is this movie, The Invisible Guest?

First. A mind game word story… There is a dead man in a barn. He has been hanged, by a noose. There are no nearby ladders for support, no beams near by and the rope is hung from the roof of the structure. Oh, and he’s a foot off the ground. One last thing? It was suicide. How did the poor chap kill himself? Stop. Think. Oh, never mind, it was a block of ice. The man stood on a block of ice and then stepped off in order to hang himself. The block melted. Voila. This is literally a story told in the middle of this movie. But it is a perfect metaphor for the movie itself. A rich man is locked, in a room, with a busted head – having been assaulted by an assailant, and the rich man’s dead lover is nearby on the floor. The intruder that killed her… has somehow managed to vanish. How did the intruder get out? If that concept doesn’t fascinate you, or pique your interest, quickly click the back button and move along. But if you are intrigued, then get ahold of a copy of The Invisible Guest (or Contratiempo) and then walk with me through the rest of this deep dive discussion.

And oh yeah… by the way, it’s not in English. Worse yet? They talk really really fast throughout this entire movie. So, if reading isn’t your thing? Nope. You aren’t going to dig it. But you know what? Stop being that stereotypical American that wants every movie in English. It’s unbecoming. So go find the movie. Watch the movie. Then come back, because the rest of this blog post is all about the details of what happened so we can understand it. Ok? Fair? Great.

Detailed Invisible Guest Walkthrough

I am quick when it comes to movies. And generally speaking, I have them figured out before they get started. Trailers and I’m done. But this one? Nope. I was literally 80 minutes into this one when I wrote in my notes… and I quote, “Grrr! What is going on here?!? This movie is totally and completely beyond me.” Seriously. I stopped. Took out my pen, and wrote that down. But what I didn’t understand was that this movie was a shell game, and that I hadn’t started the game behind by 27 shells and I hadn’t even realized the game had even begun.

But if you think of this movie as an onion, we start on the outer layer with the simplest of explanations as to what happened that night in the hotel. Then we peel off a layer and go again. By the end of the movie we have 5 or 6 different onion layers laying on the ground. But all of that is just warm up for the final layer to hit the ground right before the credits kick off. So, you would do better to just consume the general high marks of each of the layers. Thankfully, Oriol Paulo was extraordinarily kind to us and made the onion layers additive and not redactive or convoluted. It’s almost like Oriol was like A happened. No… A + B happened. Actually… it was more of an A + B + C sort of a thing. Maybe. When he could have been like, A happened. Actually Q happened. OR, Zebra minus Orangutang is what really happened. So the movie took on more of an additive accreted sort of layering instead of an even more complex variant of how he could have played it. 

So what are the barebones of the story? Adrián Doria is a wealthy businessman who starts the movie off by meeting with Virginia Goodman. Goodman is a soon to retire veteran lawyer who is an expert in preparing witnesses in lead of high profile court cases. Goodman is determined not to lose on her final case and so she begins walking through Adrián’s story of what happened the night he was found in a hotel room with his dead lover at his side.

But that was just version 1 and Goodman isn’t buying a word of it. “There is no salvation without suffering. And you are not smarter than me.”

Throwing a newspaper on the table Virginia tells him he’s full of crap, what about Daniel Garrido? Ok, well apparently, Adrián and his lover Laura were heading out to the airport after a rendezvous and they have an accident and crash into an oncoming car. Only glitch, the kid in the other car is dead. But then that places them not where their spouses think they are, so they can’t be there. So Laura convinces Adrián that they ought to put the body in the trunk and then Adrián should ditch the car. But another guy drives by! Oh no!

Cut to, Adrián trying to find a place to ditch Daniel’s car. Eventually he finds a place. But thinks maybe someone might have seen him? Meanwhile, Laura (Raquel) is picked up by a super nice old guy who offers to lend a hand with the BMW’s starter. Only, she doesn’t realize that this is Daniel Garrido’s dad, Thomás. Mid-visit, they realize Daniel is missing, and so they call him. But Daniel’s phone is Laura’s pocket, and so she ditches it in the couch, causing no end of chaos. Finally, Adrián and Laura reunite and they tell there horrible stories to each other about the rest of their day.

Adrián is regretting their relationship – and tells her he can’t do it anymore. But Laura sees that the cops are starting to get closer to them, so she uses Daniel’s wallet and uses his information to steal 50k Euros from the bank he worked at in order to make it look like he is running away. Stealing cash and on the lamb. Soon after, Mr. Garrido comes to Adrián’s awards ceremony to tell him that they know his lover “Raquel” had crossed paths with Daniel because he had been using the phone and then it returned home miraculously.

But then Adrien posits that it is the first passerby at the scene that was the one blackmailing the duo and that he is the killer. Virginia then shuts all that down and let’s Adrián know that it was probably Daniel’s father, Mr. Garrido who killed Laura. Which, in retrospect, is just all kinds of brilliant if you think about it. But we haven’t gotten there yet. Bear. With. ME! So they play out a possibility wherein Mr. and Mrs. Garrido working at the hotel set a trap in order to catch and kill Laura and setup Adrián for the murder. By using keys to the windows, and intentionally slipping into and out of the room at strategic moments it looks like there was no one there but Adrián, but in fact they were there.

Or not.

And then with a crack of lightening, Virginia says, actually, what if you Adrián, are the one that is afraid that Laura is wanting to leave you. And that you were the one that hacked Daniel’s account with the help of your lawyer? And that is when Adrián volunteers that Daniel wasn’t actually dead when he shoved the car into the lake. And now the crime isn’t accidental homicide, but now it’s murder. And it’s Laura that contacts Adrián and his wife in an attempt to force Adrián to tell them the truth of what happened. To which, Adrián freaks out about the trap that Laura has caught him in when he arrives at the hotel. Which causes Adrián to kill Laura in a heat of passion. But then that means that Adrián is trapped, and the only way he’s going to get out is if he hires the best defense lawyer, and hire the best witness preparation counsel in order to get himself off the hook. Which, they’ll do in spectacular fashion.

If given the opportunity.

But soon we realize that that opportunity is never going to come. Because why?

The Ending of the Invisible Guest

Let’s step back a layer though. The theory that it was Mr. and Mrs. Garrido that are working at the hotel, and have lured in Adrián in order to kill Laura and set him up?… all rubbish. Laura may very well have been the one to trap Adrián in order to convince him to tell the truth. But the Garridos just wanted to know where their son was. To give the boy a burial.

Which brings us to the final twist of the movie. Virginia has been spending the last three hours grilling Adrián in order to get him to tell her the truth so that she can prep him adequately for the stand and to also give their case as much ammunition as possible in front of the judge. The prosecution has a secret witness after all.

So Virginia Goodman grills and grills and pumps Adrián for information. And information she gets. She gets the location of where he dumped the car in the lake. She found out that the boy was alive when Adrián put the car in the lake, thereby drowning him. She found out plenty of hidden details that Adrián hadn’t been forth coming about. They conclude their session and she leaves. Only to have the real Virginia arrive moments later. But, what? If that wasn’t Virginia, then who was it?

Only Mrs. Garrido. Daniel’s mother. That’s all.

Final Thoughts on The Invisible Guest in the Room

This movie beat me about the head and shoulders so badly I literally gave up trying to figure it out. It was a revisionist’s dream. I think we were sold something 82 different versions of what happened that night. Ok, maybe I exaggerate. 79. They were selling so many different permutations upon permutations it was difficult to keep track. But ultimately, Mrs. Doria gets a confession out of Adrián that shows that he wasn’t the innocent victim he’d said he was all night long. Not only was he not the one to want to break the relationship off, he was forcefully keeping Laura in the relationship. Not only was he the instigator of the chaos, he ended up murdering Daniel ultimately. And it was Adrián that made Daniel look like a thief, and worse, he framed the Garrido’s for the murder of Laura, and his own “framing”.

What did the title mean though? At first I thought it was all about Mr. Garrido being in the hotel room that night, and killing Laura. But when it was all said and done I finally realized… no. That’s not what it meant at all. It was all about Mrs. Garrido being in the room with Adrián the whole movie long. Which made a lot more sense at the end of the day… it was there staring me in the face all along!

It is rare that I give up mid-movie. (True, I gave up 10 minutes in on Dark yesterday, but we can talk more thoroughly about that another day.) But if you are anything like me, once the ending came through it all made perfect sense. No? Or maybe that’s why you are here? hahah. Regardless, once the final move of “Virginia’s” was made, and Mrs. Garrido checkmated Adrián it all made sense.

What did you think of it?

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23 Responses

  1. Aristotle

    Thank you. Graçias! I absolutely enjoyed this masterpiece.

    When I know I’m watching a whodunit film, I always decide at the onset if I wish to play the game or just sitback and watch as it unfolds. Because you recommended it, I tought I’d give myself a treat and play along. First guess, SUICIDE. But, I couldn’t figure out the details. So Occram’s razor pointed it to the main guy, Adrian. BUT THEN. Came along the convoluted parents theory. Ultimately, the ending was severely satisfying. Overall, my love for you Mr. Taylor Holmes is justified. Q.E.D.

    • Taylor Holmes

      I really can’t take too much credit for this one. Someone, and they should stand up and declare themselves soon, should take credit. Maybe someone emailed me? I thought it was out on the F’d Up Movie list but I don’t see it there. No idea. Anyway, wasn’t me. But thanks for the compliment all the same.

      And yeah, it was a tricky back and forth for me too. Knew it had to be a known character. But the doubling back and forth on itself just jacked my mind completely.

      • Aristotle

        Well, not specifically YOU as a person but the blog. And, the community and sharing that happense because of it. Cheers! Are you agitated?

      • Taylor Holmes

        Agitated??!? Me!? hahah. No definitely not. It’s friday sir… how could one possibly be agitated on a friday?! Especially since I expect to be able to finally finish up Dark this weekend. All goodness and light! Just trying to give credit where credit is due.

  2. Aristotle

    Awwww…. that was just a reference to the last movie I watched from your list: The Signal.

  3. Devin McD.

    Small correctionne: you mistakenly refer to Daniel’s parents as the Doria’s when that is in fact Adrian’s surname. Daniel’s parents were the Garrido.

    Great review nonetheless. Bravo for the in depth analysis.

  4. Ned

    Spoiler alert! Don’t read further if you haven’t seen this movie…but I thought it an awfully transparent murder mystery and not deserving of a high rating it’s been given thus far on this site.

    Okay, don’t read past this point if you still want to waste your time watching this film.

    Despite the film’s subtitles, it opens with great focus on a woman, without any dialog or subtitles to take away your attention, allowing the viewer to take in her looks and countenance for a great length of time. Because an almost slo-mo kind of effect was given to this woman and it was at the beginning of the movie, her face was imprinted in the viewer. Big mistake.

    Because as the story progresses, she is easily recognized despite having different hair color and wearing glasses in a scene which soon follows. It will either piss you off or make you laugh—either way it makes watching the rest of the movie feel pointless and permanently ceases anticipatory interest. The fun ride stops fairly early on in this film.

    However, it’s clear this film wasn’t made cheap and the actors are above average but the lack of expensive special effects to better hide the dual identity would’ve achieved better results.

    This movie could cause one to reflect on Superman and his disguise as Clark Kent by merely wearing glasses. Sure, that works on the fictional people living in the city of Metropolis but not on the real world viewing audience. The filmmakers of Invisible Guest seem to think we’re living in Superman’s world and can’t see past a simple disguise from two props: eyeglasses and a wig!

    Taylor, regarding your comment about Americans and subtitled movies, I think Americans love all kinds of movies and watch those with subtitles, too. But like any nationality that likes movies, having to read subtitles takes away from catching important elements like facial nuances or taking in fabulous costumes, cinematography, etc., because of having to read dialog at the bottom of the screen.

    I’m wondering if you missed how easy this movie was solved the moment the character, Mrs. Garrido, was introduced and recognized as the fake Virginia Goodman because you were too busy reading the dang subtitles!

  5. Ned

    Also to mention, I chose to watch this movie based on the nearly five-star ultimate rating it is given on this site as well as from reading subsequent viewer commentary. Based on this experience, it seems a good idea to check out movie review sources on the internet to hopefully make a better choice.

    However, Taylor, your Thinc site exceeds bar none when it comes to movies which totally confound in the way you share your intelligent and entertaining interpretations to start the ball rolling, enticing folks surfing the Internet for answers to get an interesting perspective or to add their commentary.

    What I absolutely love about this site is reading people’s perspectives on movies. It never ceases to amaze how folk’s respond, under a pseudonym which lessens inhibitions, to their take on a film. Its a cyber realm seemingly untapped or of no interest by research psychologists, behaviorists, etc., but aught to be considered.

    If you’re intrigued about people’s minds and are studying, doing research on related topic, please check out comments on a few of these site’s movies: The Lobster, Circle, Personal Shopper. Reviews show a huge gamut of perceptions which reflect their biases as well as a spectrum of innate understanding or complete misunderstanding to the point of questioning if they watched the movie at all!

    But the best thing about this site is it’s a place mystified, confused, upset, conundrummed folks seek after watching a particularly kind of open-ended or mind-job movie that exasperates, offers too many directions for a mind to go regarding the film’s intended purpose, meaning, confusing ending, etc., to add their two cents, rant, or get answers.

    Thinc is not so much a movie review site but a site which highly respects filmmakers. It takes a lot of money, creativity, time, effort, skill, mental and physical health among many other things to make a movie. Taylor is a filmmaker’s advocate and respects their initial gamble from beginning to end. Filmmaker’s, if Taylor asks to interview you, please be delighted.

    How’s that for a critique sandwiched between positive, complimentary remarks? Hehe

  6. F

    God, get the names right. There is no Victoria in the movie, and Doria is Adrian’s last name.

    • Taylor Holmes

      To be sure. If God was writing this post, He would have. But alas, I am the one left to write it, and I suck at names. You are more than welcome to volunteer your services and namecheck all my posts. I’d be eternally grateful.

      • Taylor Holmes

        after reading through the entire post, top to bottom, from the bottom of my heart… 1 million apologies. Holy crap that was bad. So I flipped the movie back open, checked in with IMDB, and finally, after a half hour of tussling with this post that’s been read by 12 people, think I’ve finally gotten it sorted. Sheesh.

        sorry again everyone.

  7. Chris Shaffer

    Loved the movie. I am sorry but there is no way you could have figured out it was Daniel’s mother based on how she looked. Her facial features where different. Her eye color and shape are different. It was not obvious at all. I have watched the movie with several people and no one ever figured it out based on how she looks.

    Anyway, only thing that bothered me in the end is that all of what was said would have been thrown out of court. He had the right to assume attorney client privilege when she represented herself as a lawyer. Doesn’t matter if she was one or not. He only has to be under the impression she is

  8. Ajit

    I recently watched this movie and although it is very gripping, there is one very critical point that makes no sense to me, especially after watching the end. Why does Adrian Doria have to kill Daniel when he realizes Daniel wasn’t dead? He should have been happy that he didn’t die despite the card accident involving them, and could have called up Laura, taken Daniel to hospital, fessed up in front of Daniel’s parents about the accident, and finished it all off. Why did he have to murder Daniel? It sounds like a major hole in the story.

  9. Taylor Holmes

    I don’t think you understood that his marriage would be ruined if he was shown to be there, with the woman. He had no excuse for being there other than the affair. So absolutely everything was tracked back to the moment when he hit Daniel. And then he turns out not to be dead. So, in order for his marriage to survive, he had to kill him.

    Granted, I disagree. He should have taken it in the shorts, but that would have made for a very boring movie! hahah.

  10. Ajit

    But Adrian Dorra could have found some other way to conceal his rendezvous with Laura instead of committing a murder. The other big hole is that Laura need not have placed Daniel’s mobile phone in his home a all. There is something called a silent mode, if she didn’t want to turn it off!

    Nevertheless, it was a great movie to watch – maybe more due to the acting, cinematography and the sound effect, than the (flawed) plot. And I liked your writeup/review on this website as well. Thanks!

  11. Reis

    I liked the movie. There where nevertheless two problems for me: first, he didn’t have to confess the murder of the kid…it was just to add some extra guilt to him. The other, more important: in face of the facts, Adrián was the person who dealt with the accident scene, so why would the Garrido’s mobile phone be in Laura’s pocket? The initial version shows Laura getting in the car to pick the phone but the final version displays a scared Laura, so it would be unlikely that she would enter a car with a dead person to pick his phone. That was one of the main problems on the plot to me, but hey, that’s a movie and this is a critical part of everything…

  12. TeddyKeaton

    *spoiler alert*

    Watching this with my partner, I deduced that “Ms. Goodman” was actually Mrs. Garrido about 10 minutes before the end. I knew it was her when we saw Adrian look at Mrs. Garrido oddly as he boarded the chopper at the hotel. The make-up was clever enough to have fooled me for most of the film, and for that alone, I applaud the filmmakers. Highly enjoyable movie!

  13. Himanshu Manral

    I absolutely loved the movie in so much as that it was like a well executed magic trick. Just like a magician directs the focus of everyone in the audience to a distraction and then gives the big reveal that amazes everyone, similar was the case with the parents here. the director makes you focus completely on the vendetta and the determination of the father while all through the movie it’s the mom that was the big reveal. But here are some things that i felt slightly odd about the story:
    a) If Adrian had hired such a big lawyer did he not even take the time to search online and see what she looked like about her achievements, skills etc. Surely a guy in his position should at least try to find out something about the famous defense attorney who is about to represent him.
    b) I am not sure of the details but the method used by the mother to get the information out of Adrian seemed illegal on top of which he has proof that the parents provided fake evidence to scare him into a confession, would the audio evidence that they get in the end be actually useful in such a case and not open to question?
    c)It seemed like a remarkable coincidence that the lawyer Ms. goodman was able to exactly pinpoint the events from Laura’s perspective if she was innocent. Adrian knew for a fact that Laura had contacted the parents and told everything, admitting her guilt to them. Did it not seem strange to him that his lawyer Ms. goodman was able to backtrack the exact story without even a single glitch.
    d) Finally it seems odd to me when in a story characters change their nature and level of intelligence suddenly. Adrian a rich powerful businessman who has so much pull that he can get his name erased from police records can also get himself a copy of all the evidence to prepare for his case, this would eliminate the fake photo trap. The story told by Adrian also seems strange since Laura who was shown as a cold blooded thinker and schemer in the first 10 minutes of his story, all of a sudden becomes emotional towards the end. Adrian himself as shown in the movie to be a cold blooded schemer is shown to be surprisingly gullible in certain parts conveniently and lastly, why oh why if Adrian was the cold hearted scheming person would he not take the mobile with himself while going to dump the car instead of letting Laura have it.

  14. Justine

    I absolutely love your reviews and I always come to read it after watching a movie. Besides, your recommendations are on the top of my watchlist. However, there is just so many small mistakes in your reviews. I read numerous entries and I always see one. I would skip the mistakes for names but there are often factual mistakes! For example, it wasn’t his wife that was killed, it was his lover (3rd paragraph).


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