We follow the camera’s quick zoom in to see Laura, one of the film’s protagonists, in shock. Only negative space frames her stunned and wide-eyed expression. Meanwhile, a background buzz akin to an annoying air conditioner’s hum sets an eerie mood. The dimly lit room, where Laura had been chit chatting with an elderly woman, changes quickly from a feeling of coziness to claustrophobia matching the mood change in the plot.
We, like Laura, are terrified.
Laura, whom we learn from the start has met her end, had been part of a hit and run murder. In this scene little did she, or we, know that she was, by happenstance, meeting with the murder victim’s elderly parents. Nor did she know she too would soon be a murder victim.
This electrifying moment is one of many plot twist moments in The Invisible Witness, a film by Stefano Mordini, that tells the story of a murder within a murder, unwrapping the mystery like a knotted ball of yarn. As the yarn untangles, we realize that the many characters in this story are not whom they appear to be.
Our focus right from the start is mainly on Laura’s illicit lover, Adriano, a business mogul with whom she had an affair and who also was part of the hit and run. He is the narrator of this story, told in flashbacks, until the final denouement, when we learn who the title character The Invisible Witness is, in a final shocking scene—no spoilers here!
THE INVISIBLE WITNESS Unveils Characters’ Masks
Other characters we meet in this story are Adriano’s widely respected attorney and the elderly parents of the hit and run victim, who had been so kind to Laura when her car broke down in the forest. Everything we see about these parents shows them as gentle and caring people. They exude maternal and paternal nurturance – both in their reactions to the news of their son going missing, and to Laura as she wanders into their life after her car breaks down. The father smiles warmly at Laura and seems well aware of her state of anxiety. The mother too, serves warm tea and even warmer conversation in their cozy parlor.
Could these gentle people be Laura’s murderer seeking revenge? No spoilers here!
Throughout the story told in flashbacks, there is a waxing and waning of subtle haunting music—mainly soft drum beats and other small sounds that amplify our unease as tension mounts. With this audio signaling, we especially feel the thrill of the mystery unfolding and characters being revealed.
Like this writer, you may notice many references to Macbeth, from Laura’s inability to wash blood from her hands like a Lady Macbeth, to the thick forest setting for much of the film similar to that of the witches who begin the Macbeth story. Like Macbeth, The Invisible Witness is told through foreshadowing. Theatrical masks in the parent’s home seem to prod us in that direction of thinking of Macbeth-type stories of unnatural acts so foul.
Fellow lovers of Shakespeare and all who seek a good whodunit will likely love The Invisible Witness. If you are looking for a happy upbeat movie, take a pass on this one.
Riccardo Scamarcio as Adriano Doria
Miriam Leone as Laura Vitale
Maria Paiato as Virginia Ferrara
Director: Stefano Mordini
To watch the film, visit the OVID.tv page for THE INVISIBLE WITNESS
Images courtesy of OVID.tv
About the Author: Nomin Altansukh
Nomin Altansukh moved to the U.S.A. at the age of nine from Mongolia. For the first two years she couldn't speak English, heavily relying on visual cues to understand what others were trying to communicate. During this time she developed an appreciation and greater desire to study non-verbal communication. Nomin enjoys several forms of art that predominantly use visual rhetoric in its narrative -- paintings, sculptures, film, and theater.
In her free time, Nomin is painting landscapes or watching her favorite hockey team, the Chicago Blackhawks.