SIFF 2019 Review: ‘The Invisible Witness’

Touted as a locked-room mystery á la Agatha Christie, I could not resist watching The Invisible Witness, murder mystery buff that I am.  The movie did not disappoint, but it did prove to be more Hitchcock than Agatha, with a film noir ambience where nothing is as it seems. 

The main actor Riccardo Scamarcio skillfully plays the role of Adriano Doria, a suave entrepreneur playing for high states.  Driving home from a tryst with his mistress Laura (Miriam Leone), also a high-profile woman in the Italian fashion world, Adriano swerves to avoid a deer crossing the road and causes an accident.  The repercussions from this single event spiral downward in a way reminiscent of the 1998 Tom Paxton movie A Simple Plan.  When police later rush into a hotel room to find Adriano with bloodied head, leaning over the body of his mistress Laura, chain on the door and windows locked, they can see no other solution than that Adriano has murdered her.

When Adriano arranges to meet Virginia Ferrara, a top defense attorney, brilliantly played by Maria Paiato, he desperately works to convince her of his innocence and find a strategy to keep him from life imprisonment. At this point we head down the rabbit’s hole as the plot twists and turns and leads to a spine-tingling ending. 

The acting is right-on in this film.  In addition to Scamarcio and Paiato above, I especially thought Fabrizio Bentivoglio who played the victim’s father was exceptional. Director Stefano Mordini did a masterful job of pacing the action, building to a crescendo at the end. This was one of my very favorite films this year at the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). It is also a great movie for students of Italian to practice their language skills as the speaking is quite clear and distinct.

This movie was reviewed as part of our coverage of the 2019 Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF).

By Karen Samdahl
Related categories: SIFF