6.9/10
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El habitante incierto (2004)

In the dark corridors of Félix's house, an intruder is hiding. Is he real, or is he a manifestation inside the obscure maze of his mind?

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Claudia / Vera
...
Bruno
Agustí Villaronga ...
Martín
Minnie Marx ...
Sra. Mueller
...
Policía 1
Violeta Llueca ...
Policía 2
Xavier Capdet ...
Policía atestados
Pere Abelló ...
Antonio
Fina Rius ...
Alicia
Xènia Gausa ...
Chica
Gemma Lozano ...
Niña (as Gemma Lozano Bernabéu)
...
Niño (as Daniel Casadella Silva)
Ruben Ametllé ...
Diego
Abel Coll ...
Chico mudanza
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Storyline

What if ... you let a stranger into your house to use your phone, but while you've been patiently waiting in the kitchen, he just disappears ... or does he? Félix, an architect who has just split up with his girl-friend and inhabits a huge mansion in Barcelona, finds out how many hiding places there really are in his house. But are there enough to hide another person, a strange parasite of living space? Or is Félix really going insane? Written by sweet.smartie

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content and violence | See all certifications »
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21 October 2005 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

The Uninvited Guest  »

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User Reviews

a dwarf's vertigo
12 October 2011 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

I like to imagine that money came in for this before the filmmaker had the chance to iron out the creases in the script and he just went ahead while the project was still hot and he could get it made.

It is half-way an interesting film, a more novel take on Hitchcock than we have seen from DePalma in ages; the prowling eye of the camera; the vertigo of assumed identities and deceived points-of-view; the projections in space of an obsessive mind. But a deeply flawed film that left me with a growing sense of dissatisfaction.

Our point-of-view is decidedly with a man who comes to think that someone else is hiding in his own house. The house itself is a spacious labyrinth of modern architecture so it's impossible to make sure; dark corners abound and the mind comes to cast in them its own shadows of doubt. The paranoid situation he's embroiled in becomes worse when he suspects that his ex is involved in some mysterious bargain where he is the victim.

The story has been set in motion long before though. There is a woman who has suffered a crippling accident and whose husband has grown distant from her, we get to find out about this later in the film when he does.

In the first house, physical space is what the mind fills in with its own chimeras. In the second house, it's what the mind fills with emotional pain, with distance as the space between hearts and affections.

It's in this second house that the man seeks refuge - where he comes to fill the space left blank by the missing husband - now by going into hiding himself, and so looking at his situation from the inverse point-of-view. Now we are what we were trying to apprehend in the first half, looking to evade capture from anxious eyes. So if the first house was the setting for a thriller, what was perceived from our end as holding elusive danger, here it's us causing the thriller to happen while from our pov it is recast as this exhilarating game of hide-and-seek. It makes sense to watch this as a dance or performance art; where one partner swings out of view just seconds before the other enters it, with both locked together in a ballet of appearances.

The man obsessively imagines himself as part of a relationship, and the film assumes a whimsical, light-hearted tone. This strangely underscores the fundamental creepiness of what is really going on.

There are two problems in all this. One is that it never makes any sense why our man behaves the way he does. Usually what Hitchcock did was that he would supply the doubt of an unreliable eye or unstable mind; here the guy seems perfectly normal and then acts completely unhinged.

The other is the ending, where the filmmaker stretches to explain for us the missing links of the story. We knew that the two houses were somehow linked, but it turns out that they were quite literally so. So instead of using mirrored space - and persons, there's two of everyone here and one woman seems to be the other's twin sister - as the means of examining abstract reflections, we're give pieces of a puzzle to put together. In doing so, whole swathes of the story collapse and what held elusive power by remaining just out of sight is made to be safely ordinary or, worst, downright stupid.


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