The Hidden Face

The Hidden Face photo starrating-3andahalfstars.jpgAdrián, the young orchestra conductor of the Bogota Philharmonic is distraught by the breakup of his girlfriend who has recently left him. Belén has split but not before imparting with a filmed farewell video message for Adrián. “I’m leaving… don’t look for me and don’t hate me.” She resented his flirtations with another woman. They were having relationship problems so perhaps it’s not so surprising. It’s just that she has seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth. Where did she go and was Adrián responsible for her disappearance? His new sweetheart (that didn‘t take long), the local barmaid Fabiana senses an uneasy presence in his dwelling. She becomes convinced that his ex-girlfriend is haunting the residence and possibly trying to make contact.

The Hidden Face unfolds like a typical ghost story in an eerie haunted house. For the first half, it basically is. However there is more to this picture than meets the eye. Director Andrés Baiz, who co-wrote the screenplay, has fashioned a fascinating fable. The modern mansion is photographed with an appreciation for its beauty, but also evokes something sinister. Actor Quim Gutiérrez who portrays our lead protagonist is pretty bland unfortunately. A more dynamic personality would’ve been preferable, but Martina García and especially Clara Lago are attractive support that engage the emotions. The drama plays with expectations and has at least one surprise that is completely unforeseeable. Warning: Don‘t watch the trailer. It spoils everything. It’s a most unusual love triangle built on insecurity, mistrust and jealousy. An enjoyable thriller that entertains with its creepy twists.

Note: Review posted August 17, 2013. This movie was recommended to me by Gary Lee over at With a Friend Like Gary movie reviews. Please check out his blog and his review of this film.

18 Responses to “The Hidden Face”

  1. GaryLee828 Says:

    Great write-up! I’m glad you liked this one, as well; hopefully this will turn on a few more viewers…

    I actually liked Quim Gutierrez’s performance here, and didn’t feel he was dull, but that his character was simply laid-back. I also thought he looked the part and was able to lead with his eyes more than his dialogue. But I became entranced by this film on the opening frame with the video of his girlfriend leaving him. B/c Adrian seems so shocked and clueless it just raises the question “Why did she leave him?” which established the mystery, drew me in, and made me want to keep watching from the very first image. THAT is how you start a film! 🙂

    I have no idea WHY the trailer gives the twist away – and would you believe that when you buy the DVD, the DVD menu also displays the same twist as the trailer? So, if you put on the DVD and have not seen the movie, then the impact of the twist will most likely be softened significantly. I have no idea why the makers of this film seem hellbent on giving the twist away! It’s as if they’re using the twist as a mere marketing ploy instead of allowing the twist to stay far embedded into the story.

    *Thanks for posting the link to my review. 🙂


    • I have a movie recommendation for you now. It’s a 2009 Italian romantic thriller called The Double Hour. If you’re fond of twisty little movies that surprise, you should really enjoy this. The structure is very similar where flashbacks tell the full story.


      • GaryLee828 Says:

        I actually put that movie on right after watching “The Hidden Face” as I started searching for mysteries on netflix; but I couldn’t get into it, and I think I feel asleep. I wasn’t much of a fan – but I may have still been absorbing Hidden Face. I will add it back to my queue and try to watch this week. Maybe I’ll be able to get into it more this time.


      • I loved The Double Hour so much more. The way film noir, melodrama, suspense, even horror elements were intertwined made the drama something special. It was critically acclaimed too. Won awards all over the world. Sorry you didn’t like it.


      • GaryLee828 Says:

        Well, I can’t officially say I didn’t like it. I think I was distracted from still processing Hidden Face, and it was too soon to jump into another movie. I will give it another go with a clear head and see if I feel differently.


      • GaryLee828 Says:

        Sorry man, but I just tried to watch “Double Hour” again and I just find it soooooo dull and boring. I don’t like any of the characters. I just can’t bring myself to sit through this, so I went to read some spoilers on IMDB to see what the twist was and see if that may inspire me to watch, but I saw that they’re doing an American remake with Michelle Williams slated to come out next year, so I skipped the spoilers and will give the remake a chance.

        I believe it has a good twist as you pointed out, but I just don’t care enough for any of these characters to find out what it is. I feel it’s taking too long for the story to get started, where as on “The Hidden Face” the story begins on the opening frame.

        Maybe Michelle Williams can do something with the character to make it more interesting, but unfortunately Joel Edgerton plays the male lead and he is boring as hell, so I may not be able to make it through the remake, either.


      • I suspect it’s the story you don’t care for, so I doubt a remake will help.

        You gave it a chance. Even the most critically acclaimed film is going to have some detractors. By and large this was pretty well received. It currently has an 83% rating on RT.


  2. I see “Don’t watch the trailer” in both reviews, and that’s what has this film sold to me. There’s always been a reason TO watch trailers, and now I’m dying to be fascinated by this movie. Probably means there weren’t two minutes in the movie without surprises. Great review.

    Also – this is a side note, but have you seen What Maisie Knew? It’s such a powerful movie. Saw it yesterday, and it was so difficult watching a marriage fall apart through the eyes of the six year old daughter. It bothers me that that one didn’t earn a wider release.


  3. Who knew a film with such a terrible title and an even worse poster would sound so interesting?


  4. Yup, terrible poster, awful trailer which gives away the twist immediately, yet such a great film. Nice write up Mark, glad you liked it and at least its one more person thats seen it! 🙂


  5. I enjoyed this mystery/horror story a lot. It was very creative. As the story unfolded, I was right there on the the edge of my seat. 3 1/2 stars.


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