Contratiempo, also known internationally as The Invisible Guest, is a 2016 Spanish film by Oriol Paulo. Aside from being a crime fiction fan, I also appreciate foreign films like this.
The story starts when lawyer Virginia Goodman visits businessman Adrian Doria, who is under house arrest for killing his mistress, fashion photographer Laura Vidal. For 180 minutes, Adrian has to tell Virginia everything about Laura’s murder and what events led them to the crime.
So Adrian tells his version of what happened at room 715 Hotel Bellavista. He says that they received a voice recording telling them to be in that hotel room with cash amounting to a hundred thousand Euros and leave Laura’s cellphone inside a trash bin. Someone tries to blackmail them regarding a car accident that happened three months before.
After two hours of waiting for an instruction from the blackmailer, Adrian receives a text message from Laura’s cellphone and that’s when they realize that it was a trap. They are about to leave when someone knocks Adrian out. When he wakes up, the police are knocking on the door, he finds Laura dead and the money scattered all over her body.
The car accident that killed Daniel Garrido, a young bank employee, becomes the center of the story. “Contratiempo” in Spanish means setback or mishap.
What really happened, who’s telling the truth, who’s covering it up, Virginia has to know everything. Whenever Adrian describes a detail, Virginia provides a counterpoint. It all boils down to having a solid defense, no loopholes.
Adrian is impressed with Virginia that he eventually tells the whole truth in the end. With Virginia’s reputation and skills, plus his business connections, and the way his lawyer Felix would “arrange” things for him, Adrian is confident that he could get away with murder. But did he?
This is one of the reasons why I prefer watching foreign films than Hollywood. Less effects, just pure story of human character. The movie played on the who’s-smarter-than-who game. And the film played it so well at the end. No wonder this film got 85% audience rating but 60% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes.