A suspenseful film in the tradition of locked room mysteries, Stefano Mordini’s The Invisible Witness has an interesting perspective. Successful entrepreneur Adriano Dorio (Riccardo Scamarcio) is under house arrest, after the police find him in a hotel room, crying over the body of his dead lover Laura (Miriam Leone). The hotel is in a remote, snowbound location, the door is locked and bolted from within, with no signs of forced entrance, and all the windows are not only closed, but cannot be opened – the hotel management removes the handles for the winter. Hotel guests who heard sounds coming from the room did not see anyone leave the room. Who killed Laura?
A more urgent question from Adriano’s perspective might be phrased as “how do I get out of this mess?” A powerful man, he has hired a powerful lawyer, who, in turn, has hired the best of the best to prepare Adriano for questioning. Enter Virginia Ferrara (Maria Paiato), a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in the art of crafting a narrative that will hold up to the fiercest interrogation. But she warns Adriano that in order to do so, she must know all, he can’t hold anything back. Elegant, well-coiffed and confident, Virginia is a formidable woman. Much of the film focuses on the tête-à-tête between Virginia and Adriano: intimate, and charged with tension.
The film starts off at a relatively slow pace, but as further layers of the plot unfold, I found myself happily in the grip of suspense. Events leading up to Laura’s murder are shown in flashback sequences, making the action more vivid. Based on a Spanish film by Oriol Paulo, The Invisible Witness is not deep, and does not delve very far into its characters, relying instead on the plot and action to move the narrative. Adriano is a fairly typical entrepreneur, with a lovely wife and child at home, an expensive lawyer he can rely on to get him out of trouble. Why would anyone want to murder Laura, the beautiful, enigmatic photographer who was Adriano’s lover? For those of us who enjoy a mystery, and formidable women, The Invisible Witness offers some nice plot twists and good fun.
The Invisible Witness
Italy/2018/102 minutes/Italian with Hebrew and English subtitles
Director: Stefano Mordini; Original Screenplay: Oriol Paulo; Screenplay: Stefano Mordini, Massimiliano Cantoni; Editing: Massimo Fiocchi; Cinematography: Luigi Martinucci; Music: Fabio Barovero; Cast: Riccardo Scamarcio, Miriam Leone, Maria Paiato, Fabrizio Bentivoglio