Relationships can be difficult to navigate. Marriage, especially, can be a chore for most people. But what happens when a marriage begins to go stale? Do you and your significant other talk out your problems and work things out? Nope, the obvious answer is you cheat on them! With another married person! Because what can go wrong? Well, a lot.
Phillippe (played by Marcel Dorian) is a wealthy businessman who is a model husband and father. Or so it seems. In truth, he’s been hiding a dark secret: he’s having an affair with another married man’s wife named Camille (played by Gabriela Brinza). One day, as he and Camille finish their meeting, he admits to developing feelings for her. However, Phillippe is later ambushed by her husband, Paul (played by Joseph Steyne). Paul wants Phillippe to confess to his wife about his infidelity. Phillippe refuses, and soon discovers a horrible revelation.
To start off, I really enjoyed Michelle J. Wright’s performance as Phillippe’s wife Susan. She really sold me as a vengeful wife and almost made me despise her, which just shows how good she was in this film. I should add that there are no likable characters in this movie, since everyone does something incredibly shitty, with the exception of Nina (played by Laura Ellen Wilson). Throughout the film, Nina makes it clear that she’s not sexually interested in Phillippe and tries to look out for him when needed. However, she isn’t really present in the film.
One thing the film does well is the cinematography and production design. The camera work not only gives a good view of the action, but also makes the audience feel distant from the characters. This helps as with the cast being anything but likable, it helps to have distance to prevent people from sympathizing with the characters too much. The production design does a good job making the set feel like a nice motel that was mostly empty. It felt very isolated and separate from the rest of the world adding to the tension. At times, I felt the cinematography was similar to that of a Christopher Nolan film, albeit much more unpolished. However, to be compared to Nolan at all speaks volumes about Introspectum Motel’s cinematography.
Even by thriller standards, this film is a slow burn. For about half the runtime, I didn’t know when the thriller part would come into play. When I first saw the poster of the film, I expected that the film would involve a detective or secret agent trying to investigate a series of murders taking place in different motels. After watching the film, I was a bit disappointed at the premise of the story. However, the film does get its message across: cheating is bad and will destroy your marriage. It also is very difficult to predict where the film is going, as it does a good job of implying potentially bad outcomes while not having those outcomes fully come true. While it is a revenge story, it does not get very violent despite the threat of violence being a constant presence.
Overall, despite some pretty good cinematography and decent performances, I felt that Introspectum Motel could have been much more than a simple marital-revenge story. However, for what it was, the film successfully gets its message across to the audience and feels tense especially in its latter half. I would also like to say that this film has a fair share of nudity and sex scenes, so be warned. All-in-all, would I say this is a good film? Not really, I’d say it's average at best. However, it does have good cinematography and mostly solid performances with a somewhat unpredictable story at many points.
Co-Written by: Owen Gonzalez