Category Films

The Invisible Guest Review: A Solid Murder Mystery Thriller That Keeps You Guessing

Easily one of the best Spanish movies in the crime-drama genre, The Invisible Guest (Contratiempo) is a result of brilliant writing and screenplay that engages the viewer from start to finish.

The storyline is fairly simple. It revolves around a successful entrepreneur and his dead lover in a hotel room. The entreprenuer denies pleads guilty of killing his lover, but there is no trace of anyone in the room. Who is guilty? Was there someone in the room? Is there more to the story? The rest of the movie captures all these questions.

The direction, writing and editing of Oriol Paulo is what makes the movie like an adventure supported by the solid acting of the actors and the cinematography.

Adrián Doria (Mario Cass), Virginia Goodman (Ana Wagener), Tomás Garrido (Jose Coronado) and Laura Vidal (Bárbara Lennie) play the key role in the film and pull off their parts effectively. The film wastes no time in establishing the core plot and the different scenarios that could have led to the death of Laura. Despite the obvious flaws in the solving a murder mystery, Oriol has brought in enough layers that keeps the viewers gueesing.

Director Oriol has shot the movie across different scenic locales across Spain, especially the iconic hotel scene which stands out in the backdrop of snowfall in a remote location, adding to the mystery elements in the film.

The Invisible Guest is a film that keeps us guessing. It allows the viewer about ‘What If’ scenarios and eventually as we try to predict the outcome, Oriol adds in another twist to the ending, taking us by surprise. A must watch Spanish movie that is on par among other notable international movies.

Maari 2: More Than a Naughty Gangster

Maari 2 is a neatly packed commercial entertainer with a naughty don, an equally naughty herione, humor elements and a couple of fights. The ending of the movie is predictable, where the villain Beeja (Tovino Thomas) comes face-to-face with Dhanush (Maari). Though many felt that the sequence was quite stretched out, many failed to realize that it was the only sequence when Maari succeeded at bringing down the villain who went on to play more with his brain than his brawn.

One of the highlights in the movie is the scope and space given to actors like Sai Pallavi and Tovino Thomas who are like newcomers in the Tamil film industry. Sai Pallavi equals or even surpasses Dhanush with her style of dance. A skilled dancer, she flows along with Dhanush in the song Rowdy Baby, choreographed by Prabhu Deva and composed by Yuvan Shakar Raja. The song is winning hearts, mainly due to the Why this Kolaveri di-style lyrics, the 90s feel brought back by Yuvan and the distinct voice of Dhee. The choreography has elements of Michael Jackson’s costume and dance style. Dhanush and Sai Pallavi are pure naturals in the song.

Coming to Tovino, the director does not show Beeja fighting people nor murdering them face to face. He is not a born criminal, yet he feeds on the weaknesses of people in the world of Maari. We are never scared of Beeja nor does he intend to. He intends to scare Maari towards the end and what follows is a fight sequence between the two. Coming to the fight sequence, Dhanush decides to go on about baring his upper body, revealing his chiseled abs and ripped lean body. The actor, usually stereotyped, makes a stunning screen presence as a feared gangster and even pulls off his lean machine look against the well-built Tovino in the climax.

Overall, Maari 2 is packaged right with commercial elements along with a bit of family drama.

Mayaanadhi: A Stirring Tale of Romance

The romance genre in Indian films is mostly dominated by two storylines – A man and woman falling in love and then there are problems, either caused by their parents or goons, or a man stalking a girl till she falls for him in the end supported by a mix of romantic songs.

Here is where the Malayalam movie Mayaanadhi comes into the picture. Starring Tovino Thomas and Aishwarya Lekshmi , the movie stands out as a one-of-a-kind movie in terms of story, characterization, and performance.

Several special aspects lend a magical touch to the movie. John Mathew a.k.a Mathan (Tovino) is introduced as a racketeer who is trailed by the police while he is immersed in love with Aparna (Aishwarya) who is now ambitious in making it big in the cinema industry. Aparna who has distanced from Mathan owing to a small rift ends up being loved by him again (or falling in love again?)

Director Aashiq Abu takes the movie slowly, giving enough time for the audience to get the feel of the movie. Mayaanadhi is refreshingly realistic in terms of dialogue delivery and the depiction of the society in general. The sequence where a Aparna’s mom prods her to come home to attend family functions and proudly mentions her educational qualifications to the guests. The film has a feminist undertone in it, which subtly delivers the message and is not forced into the movie with hard-hitting dialogues. Aparna never mentions her ambitions nor desire to settle down, yet Mathan never intends on giving up on her. She is stuck, at times confused and silently craves for Mathan’s love.

The cinematography by Jayesh Mohan is top-notch, especially in the romantic love-making sequence where the lead characters are blissfully into each other and capturing their faces of happiness. Rex Vijayan delivers soundtracks lend a memorable touch to the movie, with use the soundtrack of ‘Uyirin Nadhiye’ in various parts of the movie.

There is one line by the heroine that made an impact in the movie – “Sex is not a promise.” I cannot reveal anything more about this particular sequence or about the movie as it will lose the magic. This one sets a benchmark in Malayalam cinema and for Indian cinema as a whole.