Saturday, December 26, 2015

THE HIDDEN FACE (La cara Oculta) (2011)

Directed By: Andi Biaz 
Written By: Andi Biaz & Hatem Khraiche 
Story By: Hetem Khariche & Arturo Infante 
Cinematography By: Josep M. Civit 
Editor: Robert Otero 

Cast: Quim Gutierrez, Martina Garcia, Maria Soledad Rodriguez, Jose Luis Garcia, Marcela mar, Clara Lago

A Spanish orchestra conductor deals with the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend.

This film came as a total surprise to me. Unfortunately the only reason I know about this film is from seeing the trailer. Which reveals some important plot points. Though luckily not all. And even though I say go into this movie blind at best. If I hadn't seen the trailer in the first place. I probably never would have watched the movie.

So just know after these words. The film will be discussed In length. So there will be some spoilers, but not major reveals.

At first the films premise feels stupid and contrived, but in time about by the second half of the film is where it really becomes fascinating.

As the film begins to have it's aha moments. As more is revealed. It becomes more of a smart thriller rather than a romantic drama. It never quite reaches the heights of an erotic thriller. Though there are some vivid sex scenes. --Now while the characters true personalities are hinted at. You believe it be some kind of red herring. Then once the truth is revealed. It is like a punch to the gut. As it goes against all that you have believed and been told about the character. How it works is that you feel like reacting similar to how the other characters do when they learn of this almost about face.

The film cleverly hides it's heart and true nature underneath a upper class facade and romantic fable.

The film begins in the middle, before taking is back to before the beginning and also see the beginning again. Through another P.O.V. Until he second half of the film. Where we observe at the same time both P.O.V.'s of the women at the heart of the story. as the film moves forward, the cruelty expressed is quite shocking, but then again the main theme of the film is heartbreak.

It even gives you a hint as to what might become of it all after the film is over shockingly the one character we least expect is the femme-fatale of the film as they are central. We never seem to get to know them and once all is revealed. We are still shocked.

Every cast member is distractingly attractive. Which with it's melodramatic at times scenes. Veers close to feeling like a soap opera. As it seems love and romance is all that matters.

Even though the ending is dark. It feels justified to a point.

The film is shockingly and a little boldly erotic in it's more intimate scenes. As the film stays romantic, but presenting the sex in a more realistic way to a degree.

There is quite an amount of nudity and sex to drive you even closer to the intimacies of the film.

Through the premise we find out about that is the films story and twist. For those uninitiated by the trailer, seems a bit far fetched. Partly see it a little inspired by the film PANIC ROOM. It could have been called Panic Room 2. Only this time choosing to go in a different direction.

I give the film credit for taking what could have been a gimmick feel good thriller and infuses the formula with some unexpected mood and genre changes that feel natural instead of jarring and keep you on your toes. Especially when it send that the film is going to either get slower. So that you have to suspend disbelief or just become everything you expect. Though through it all, it still never feels like something special. It just feels average and it shouldn't. Maybe the simple direction and not sensationalized. Any of the story or scenes. It keeps it on an even keel and not showing it's hand too early.

 Grade: B-

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