The Hidden Face (or La Cara Oculta, and released as Inside elsewhere) is a fantastic little Spanish thriller that would have had Hitchcock and Poe giving a hat tip to the writers.
The story follows Adriàn (Quim Gutiérrez), a conductor from Spain who’s been brought to Bogota for a year to conduct the local philharmonic orchestra. As the film opens, he’s watching a video left for him by his girlfriend Belén (Clara Lago), in which she tells him she’s leaving.
Adriàn drowns his sorrows at a bar, where he attracts the attention and affections of waitress Fabiana (Martina García). Adriàn is too drunk to drive, so she takes him home with her, and they soon become a couple, despite his occasionally standoffish behaviour. She soon moves into his (enormous) house, but starts to question exactly what happened to Belén, and it’s not helped when strange things start happening in the house…or when two detectives start asking questions that put him in questionable light.
The Hidden Face is a really enjoyable movie that has a great twist in the middle that I didn’t completely guess ahead of time (possibly because I was distracted by some crafty red herrings, loathe though I am to admit it), but it’s one of those movies where it’s hard to talk about without giving it all away.
It’s impeccably acted; of the main cast, there’s no weak link, even as the film veers close to some melodramatic moments. The pacing is also tight and well executed, even as it manages flashbacks and rehashes of earlier events, and it’s photographed and scored beautifully – not at Baraka levels of eyegasm, but you would never guess this was such a low budget movie from the way it looks and sounds (and on a totally superficial level, the three actors of the main cast are gorgeous, if that’s any interest).
The twist is also a logical one, and not only does it not come as a complete cop out, but it’s actually pivotal to the plot, rather than used as a gimmick. And while you may guess the basic gist of it, you won’t necessarily guess the circumstances or how it’ll play out. But that’s all I’ll say on the matter. There’s also a fair bit of sexual content and nudity in the movie, but it’s actually contextualised and relevant – but again, the reasoning there is something that’s explained within the twist and how it plays out.
If you can hunt the movie down, it’s very much worth checking out – it’s only available to buy from iTunes (not rent) and I can’t imagine it’d hold up to multiple viewings, but it’s definitely worth at least one.
WARNING: The trailer below reveals a large portion of the film’s twist in the first 5 seconds, and the rest of it by the end. Skip it if you’re curious about the movie at all.