The Invisible Guest

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The Invisible Guest
Contratiempo poster.jpg
Spanish theatrical release poster
Directed byOriol Paulo
Produced by
  • Mercedes Gamero
  • Adrián Guerra
  • Sandra Hermida
  • Mikel Lejarza
  • Eneko Lizarraga
  • Núria Valls
Written byOriol Paulo
Music byFernando Velázquez
CinematographyXavi Jiménez
Edited byJaume Martí
  • Think Studio
  • Atresmedia Cine
  • Colosé Producciones
  • Nostromo Pictures
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • 23 September 2016 (2016-09-23) (Fantastic Fest)
  • 6 January 2017 (2017-01-06) (Spain)
Running time
106 minutes
Budget€4 million[1] ($4.5 million)
Box office$30.5 million[1]

The Invisible Guest (Spanish: Contratiempo, lit. 'Setback') is a 2017 Spanish crime thriller film. It is the second feature thriller by director Oriol Paulo, following El Cuerpo (The Body, 2012). The film was released in Spain on 6 January 2017.

The Invisible Guest opened to generally lukewarm critical responses, and highly positive user reviews on a number of platforms.[A] It was a commercial success, grossing $30.5 million against its €4 million budget.

The film has been remade twice: the Italian Il testimone invisibile, released in 2018,[6] and the Hindi-language Indian film Badla, released on 8 March 2019.[7][8]


Spanish businessman Adrián Doria is out on bail after being arrested for the murder of his lover, Laura Vidal. His lawyer, Félix Leiva, hires prestigious defense attorney, Virginia Goodman, who visits him early one morning with the news that the prosecutor has found a witness who will be testifying in front of a judge soon, so he must tell the whole story quickly.

Adrián tells Virginia how he and Laura ended their affair months ago but received a call blackmailing them to come to a rural hotel with €100,000. At the hotel, Adrián was knocked unconscious and awoke to find Laura dead in the bathroom. The police arrive and, finding the room door locked and chained from the inside, break in. The windows are locked and the handles removed during the winter, leaving Adrián the only suspect. After his arrest, his wife leaves him and takes their young daughter. Virginia insists Adrián is not telling her the whole truth.

Adrián then narrates further back, how he claimed to be in Paris but was really in a cabin with Laura. As they drive back to Barcelona through Sierra y Cañones de Guara, Adrián tries to convince her to end their adulterous relationship. Distracted, Adrián swerves into the oncoming lane, clipping another car, which hits a tree. Although they are unhurt, the driver of the other car, a bank employee named Daniel Garrido, 23, is killed. Laura rationalizes that it is not entirely their fault since Daniel was texting and not wearing his seat belt. When another car approaches, Laura pushes Daniel's body down across the passenger's seat, and she and Adrián pretend to exchange insurance information. She answers Daniel's phone when it rings to continue the ruse, and the other driver leaves, convinced. Laura waits for a towtruck in Adrián's SUV, which will not start, while Adrián dumps Daniel's car in a lake with his body in the trunk.

Laura, upset, returns with his car and tells him how his car was repaired. An automotive engineer, Tomás, drove by and offered to help Laura, who claimed she hit a deer. He towed Adrian's car to his house to fix it. While talking to Tomás's wife, Elvira, Laura sees some photographs and realizes Daniel Garrido is their son. Laura, who still has Daniel's phone in her pocket, hides it in their couch as Elvira calls, looking for her son. As Laura leaves in Adrián's car, Tomás Garrido notices her adjusting her seat, proving that she was lying when she claimed she was driving. He notes the car's number plates as Laura leaves. After Adrián sells his car and reports it stolen, he parts ways with Laura, hopefully for good.

Within a few days, Adrián is summoned to the police station, as Tomás has reported his plate number to the police. Félix arranges for a false alibi in Paris and bribes the police to remove Adrián's name from the Garrido case file. When the news reports that Daniel is on the run after embezzling money from the bank. Adrián confronts Laura who admits that she took Daniel's wallet when they put his body in the trunk. Using his information, Laura, whose husband works for the same bank, hacks into his account and steals money to create a fake trail. Adrián tells her that what she is doing is wrong, but Laura threatens to frame him too.

Adrián is named European Businessman of the Year, and Tomás poses as a reporter during the ceremony to confront him. Tomás notices that Adrián pulls out the same cigarette lighter he saw when fixing the car. He begs Adrián to tell him where his son's body is as security removes him. Days later, Adrián receives a photo of a lake with instructions to take Laura to the hotel with €100,000. Adrián thinks the blackmailer may be the driver they saw after the accident, if he followed Adrián as he dumped the car.

Back in the present, Virginia suggests that to save himself, Adrián could claim he saw the face of the man who hit him in the hotel room and that was Tomás. She tells him that there was no surprise witness, and she only told him that to force him to tell the truth. Adrián then reveals he had always known it was Tomás as he did see his face, but was also testing Virginia.

Virginia suggests planting an item of Laura's in the trunk of his car with Daniel's body, and claiming she acted alone. Adrián then confesses that as he was pushing the car into the lake, Daniel woke up, as he was only unconscious; an autopsy would reveal he drowned. Virginia is shocked but states she will not reveal this to the judge.

Virginia says Laura's autopsy shows she was suffering from anxiety, likely from a guilty conscience, and suggests Adrián is lying to make it seem like Laura was the mastermind behind their deceit. However, Virginia says she believes Tomás framed him because Elvira works at that hotel too, and that is why they chose it. Elvira could have easily unlocked the window for her husband to escape after killing Laura, and later locked the window, making it seem like nobody else came in.

Virginia says Tomás has been stalking him, Félix and even herself, and points to an apartment across the street, where Tomás is lurking. She continues to push Adrián who finally admits that he killed Laura and staged the scene.

Félix phones and leaves a message on Adrián's home voicemail machine, urging him to call back as he was unable to reach him on his cellphone. Virginia suggests he return Félix's call as they take a quick 10-minute break. She exits the apartment and begins to quickly walk with great urgency. Adrián meanwhile calls Félix. Félix again says that he could not get a hold of Adrián due to his cellphone being off, so he informs him that the prosecution's witness is indeed the other driver, but that Félix successfully bought his silence. As Félix questions how the meeting with Goodman is going, the call begins to go in and out with high pitched tones, Adrián then realizes the pen explodes and stains his shirt with ink due to a signal interruption caused by the cellphone call, revealing that the pen Goodman had given him was bugged and recording their entire conversation. He recalls Goodman turning off his phone previously, most probably so the cellphone signal would not disrupt the recording. He looks into the other apartment and sees Tomás standing next to Virginia, who reveals herself to be Elvira Garrido in disguise. Using the confession Elvira coerced from Adrián, Tomás calls the police as the real Virginia Goodman arrives at Adrián's apartment.


  • Mario Casas as Adrián Doria, successful businessman, husband and father
  • Bárbara Lennie as Laura Vidal, Adrián's lover
  • Iñigo Gastesi as Daniel Garrido Ávila, 23-year-old banker
  • Francesc Orella as Félix Leiva, Adrián's attorney
  • Blanca Martínez as Virginia Goodman, defense attorney hired by Félix
  • José Coronado as Tomás Garrido, Daniel's father
  • Ana Wagener as Elvira Garrido, Daniel's mother
  • Manel Dueso as Inspector Milán
  • San Yélamos as Sonia, Adrián's wife
  • David Selvas as Bruno, Laura's husband
  • Paco Tous as Conductor


The film was shot in 2015, in Terrassa, a city in Catalonia, Spain, and in other locations in Spain such as the city of Barcelona, the region of Biscay, and Vall de Núria.


The film grossed US$3.9 million in Spain.[9] It has grossed CN¥172.4 million in China.[10] On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 63% based on eight reviews and an average rating of 5.8/10.[11]


Bollywood film Badla was released on 8 March 2019 starring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu is an official remake of this movie.[7][8]


  1. ^


  1. ^ a b "Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest) (2017)". JP's Box-Office. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  2. ^ The Invisible Guest at Rotten Tomatoes
  3. ^ The Invisible Guest on IMDb
  4. ^ "Contratiempo". Czech-Slovak Film Database (in Czech). Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  5. ^ "Contratiempo". Filmweb (in Polish). Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  6. ^ Redazione. "David di Donatello 2019: tutte le nomination".
  7. ^ a b Staff, Scroll. "'Badla' is a remake of a twist-laden Spanish thriller that invites viewers to guess the killer".
  8. ^ a b "Amitabh Bachchan to Star in Bollywood Remake of Spanish Thriller 'The Invisible Guest'". The Hollywood Reporter.
  9. ^ "Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  10. ^ "看不见的客人". Cbooo (in Chinese). Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  11. ^ "THE INVISIBLE GUEST (CONTRATIEMPO)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 10 July 2018.

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