SFFILM Review: Lo Invisible
There’s a dreamlike quality to Javier Andrade’s Lo Invisible, one that simultaneously entrances and frustrates. Context is gathered piece by piece — Luisa (co-writer Anahí Hoeneisen) has recently returned to her lavish home after a stint in psychiatric care, a result of what appears to be severe postpartum depression following the birth of her second child. At first glance, there’s an ease she seems to be coming back to: a beautiful estate, live-in staff, an attractive family. But as the film progresses, the cracks begin to show more clearly, and the home begins to resemble a prison, complete with security guards that may be there not just to protect the family, but to watch her.
Andrade and Hoeneisen’s script skimps on expository dialogue, leaving the audience to pick up the threads of relationships and prior events where they can. Cinematographer Daniel Andrade weaponizes a cool palette to heighten the feelings of alienation and isolation that become increasingly pervasive as the film progresses. The color scheme complements the overall compositional diversity, which alternates between intimate and removed — a static wide shot might be followed by a tracking shot that follows Luisa from behind so closely that everyone around her immediately falls out of focus.
The key to Lo Invisible is the implication of simmering and unpredictable violence, physical and emotional, hovering in the background just out of sight. Did Luisa try to hurt her child? Is the family involved in some sort of crime or corruption? Can anyone truly be trusted? Andrande leaves many of these questions unanswered, banking on atmospherics and Hoeneisen’s lead performance to carry the film. The latter is particularly worth mentioning: Hoeneisen turns in a nicely restrained portrayal of a woman on the brink of…something…and makes Luisa’s ambiguities and behavior consistently compelling. But the actor isn’t given enough to do, and the amount to which atmosphere alone can keep a film afloat is often overstated — despite the intrigue and the potential of the character study, there’s a tension that feels absent, leaving the film to slowly deflate instead of consistently holding our interest. Lo Invisible has plenty of nice pieces, but at the end it just can’t quite put them all together as satisfyingly as one might hope.