The Hidden Face (2011)

the hidden face posterThe first thing I have to say about this film is do NOT watch the trailer. It gives away the whole twist of the film and I am appalled that this trailer was released! I decided to watch this one tonight because Netflix is taking it down in a couple days. Luckily, I just dove into the movie without knowing anything about it, and I have to say that I am happier than I could have ever imagined. I’m probably going to have to buy this film now since I enjoyed it so much.

This is the kind of movie that makes writing reviews all worthwhile. Don’t let this Spanish speaking film discourage you from experiencing this amazing cinematic breath of fresh air. I haven’t enjoyed a film like I enjoyed this one in a long time. This is a beautiful film from beginning to end, with few flaws. It is completely mind-blowing in a hyped up, soap-opera-y way.

A grieving music conductor, Adrian, and a sympathetic waitress, Fabiana, who doesn’t like seeing grown men cry, hook up for a saucy rendezvous. After the passionate night, Fabiana explores the enormous home and notices signs of another person living there. Their morning is interrupted by the police’s arrival, asking questions again about the disappearance of Belen. Fabiana’s instincts were right. Adrian had a serious girlfriend who disappeared, only leaving behind a video and few answers.  The police suspect Adrian in connection to her disappearance, but Adrian reassures Fabiana that she left him for another man.

Fabiana tries to ignore the fact that Adrian could be dangerous and begins spending more and more time in his home. Every time Fabiana is in the bathroom though, she doesn’t feel like she is alone; as if something or someone is trying to contact her.  She is afraid to be alone in the house and thinks there is a ghost and that something bad will happen to her when she is alone. These scenes remind me so much of What Lies Beneath, another great atmospheric thriller. Fabiana finds a hidden key in a fallen grate in the floor of the bedroom; again, another great resemblance to What Lies Beneath.  These scenes are pretty creepy and the film really starts picking up at this point.

the hidden faceAs much as I thought this was like What Lies Beneath (even trying to pick up on similarities between Adrian and Harrison Ford’s character- both strong, convincing men with a mysterious and soft side), the film takes an unexpected turn to the past, the story of Belen and Adrian.  It seems like a happily ever after story, full of adventure and love. But there may be trouble in paradise when Belen starts suspecting an affair between Adrian and the violinist Veronica. Belen even says, “Do what you want, but don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning and I’m not there.” Hmmm, foreshadowing perhaps?

So at this point I started thinking that this could be a plot similar to Gone Girl– an amazing novel by Gillian Flynn about the disappearance of a woman on her wedding anniversary. This is such a good book and I can’t wait for the film adaptation that is reported to be released this year. But, no. I was so, so wrong. It takes such an outstanding and electrifying turn that I got goosebumps. I don’t even want to hint at what happens because it is that good.

the hidden face movieThis film does not follow in the footsteps of any other film and definitely holds its own. Everything that you expect is not what it seems. Panic sets in, and as the audience, you can’t help but feel every emotion that is portrayed on scene. As we are brought back to the present day, all of our questions are answered but it still doesn’t lead us anywhere nearer to a conclusion. And there continues to be so many twists and turns that it just makes my heart skip a beat. I was so captivated by this taut thriller. The reason this movie makes me want to jump up and down, clapping my hands in delight, is the even-keeled progression. A lot of movies start strong and then wane, but this one has a perfect pitch for tension building. It keeps building and building to the ultimate climax. I didn’t even want to blink my eyes. It’s perfect.  I can’t give this enough high praise.

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The Hidden Face (2011) on IMDb

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