The days of Bollywood filmmakers blatantly ripping off Hollywood thrillers are slowly fading away. The internet age has meant that their theft can be immediately caught. Though we still have few films that are quite heavily ‘inspired’, most filmmakers have begun to buy official rights of movies to remake them. Spanish thriller Invisible Guest’s rights have been bought by John Abraham to be remade into Hindi. Now, I happened to watch this Netflix movie and realised that John made a smart move as it is fit for a Bollywood remake. No, I don’t mean it as a compliment.
Invisible Guest is one of those thrillers with an unreliable narrator that give you different versions of the mystery from varying point of views, all the time making you guess the truth. The protagonist Adrian is a high-flying businessman who one day wakes up locked in a hotel room with his mistress Laura who’s been murdered. All evidences point to Adrian, but he pleads innocence. With just three hours to go before his trial, a high-profile lawyer named Virginia Goodman is hired to make his statement seem believable to the jury. The movie unfolds as Goodman and Adrian try to recreate in their minds the details of what happened in the locked hotel room and fill in any apparent holes in his statement that might make him guilty of the crime he didn’t commit.
As Adrian starts narrating the nightmarish incident to Goodman, she keeps pressing him to reveal the whole truth. We, then, soon realise that Adrian is not to be relied upon. The biggest issue I had with the Invisible Guest is the same with Abbas-Mustan thrillers – one twist too many. And the big final twist is so devoid of logic that it is laughably bad. Not to mention predictable from a distance. There are also a few coincidences which are a little too convenient. The twists wouldn’t have felt half bad if the drama was engaging. The first time I saw Hitchcock’s Psycho I was blown away by it. But to my pleasant surprise, the movie worked even better on the second watch. That’s because of the masterful build up by the inventor of the genre. The influence of Hitchcock, particularly Psycho and Vertigo, is quite visible in the movie. But, unfortunately, the movie doesn’t boast of a Hitchcockian build up.
Invisible Guest’s typical screenplay peppered with clichéd dialogues failed to hold my attention. Neither does Paulo show a lot of imagination in staging the scenes between Goodman and Adrian. He tries to drag the audience’s attention away from the flaws by dizzying them with alternate versions of the incident that keep coming at regular intervals.
What the director does manage to do well, though, is to cover this mediocre product in an attractive package. Invisible Guest has good-looking people hanging out in scenic locations wearing fashionable clothes; the production values are indeed top class. It’s the same trick many commercially successful Bollywood movies us off-late. So, the Invisible Guest remake has every chance of making John Abraham wealthier enough to add more than a few superbikes to his garage.