La Cara Oculta / The Hidden Face (2011) - The storytelling wastes the initial idea's promising potential - 6/10 (31/07/17)
La Cara Oculta, internationally known as The Hidden Face, is a Colombian-Spanish co-production. The movie is probably best described as a mixture of a psycho thriller and a drama. The movie has its very own style which makes it stand out but also quite difficult to digest to be honest.
The story revolves around Spanish orchestra conductor Adrian who accepts a job occasion in Bogota for one year. He asks his girlfriend Belen to come with him and after some hesitation she decides to leave her family and job behind and move to Colombia. Her husband and she settle in a stylish mansion previously owned by Germans who fled their country in the aftermath of the Second World War. Soon, Belen believes that her husband is cheating on her with a violinist called Veronica which leads to some arguments and discussions. One day, Adrian comes home and Belen has disappeared, leaving only a video message behind to tell her husband that she can't live with him any longer. However, Belen seems to have completely disappeared as she doesn't give any news to family members or friends and doesn't seem to leave Colombia to return to Spain. Adrian is initially unsettled but soon starts a new relationship with a sensitive barmaid called Fabiana who is looking for a rich boyfriend. Meanwhile, the police investigates Belen's disappearance and starts to believe that Adrian might have some skeletons in his closet. When Fabiana starts to witness strange events in Adrian's house, she also starts to investigate.
On the positive side, most of the story takes place in the remote mansion outside of Bogota which is a gorgeous building with a few interesting secrets. The locations of the movie are out-thought, stylish and unique. The movie has a slightly uneasy and mysterious atmosphere from start to finish which can be described as the film's guiding line. The initial story line is intriguing enough to keep the audience interested during the movie's first half.
However, the movie loses its pace halfway through the film when the most important secrets are already revealed. There is also a lot of repetition in the plot and what many critics described as a twisted ending is actually quite predictable. The movie though fails to tell us what happens after this little twist which might have added some tension to the film. Another problem is that the characters in this film are all very unlikable, especially the antipathic lead character Adrian. It's difficult to get into a movie if there isn't a single character to root for.
To keep it short, the main idea behind the movie is quite intriguing but the repetitive storytelling and the unlikable characters waste a lot of potential. The film has a mysterious atmosphere, great locations and a few stylish sex scenes but the movie is lacking suspense and tension. Regular psycho thriller fans can give this movie a shot but anyone else can skip this one.« Diepentalsperre 2017Dissociating the artist and his art - A review of Wintersun's "The Forest Seasons" »
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