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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I’ll Explain Why The Movie The Invisible Guest In The Room Is an Unheralded Savant

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 his wife… 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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13 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.

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