By Emanuel Ortiz
The Invitation is a mystery thriller directed by Karyn Kusama. The Invitation is an original movie with some familiar elements to it. Director Kusama does a very well job in creating tension even through very small quiet moments in the film.
The film opens up with Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his girlfriend Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi) driving to attend a gathering of friends hosted by Will’s ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard). While there, Will begins to suspect that his ex-wife might have brought the friends back together for more than just a dinner.
The best thing about this film is the tension and mystery that is created as the film progresses. These group of friends haven’t seen each other for some time but get along well when reunited, except for Will and Eden. The two have a past I will not spoil, but it is because of this past, that they separated. Will isn’t over this past and is surprised to see that Eden has completely erased it from her memory. This bothers Will and as a result, he suspects that something else is going on. The mystery and tension is very well done and has the audience questioning what is really going on in the movie. Is Will just overreacting or is there something more? This tension would have been a waste if the film didn’t deliver on its reveal, but thankfully it does. The movie has a lot of hidden meanings and symbolisms in it as well which was a treat and showed how much thought went into the movie.
The film has many things going for it, but there are a lot of glaring issues as well. These issues seem to revolve around the character Will. The dinner gathering was incredibly awkward at many moments because of Will. He questions how Eden could be fine and throws accusations at her. It was clear that he was uncomfortable throughout the film. His girlfriend said they could just leave but for whatever reason he doesn’t. It takes away a sense of realism that the movie was creating so well. Even the proudest of characters would have left after continuously embarrassing themselves in front of their friends and loved ones.
Another issue I found with Will’s character is his apparent sixth sense in the film. I tried to understand how Will arrived at some conclusions. There are moments that make sense and are easy to follow, but Will has thrown out many accusations towards Eden and her husband in the film because he “suspects” something is going on. WHY does he suspect these things? There are moments where Will just knows something is wrong but gives no reason. It’s lazy writing and is there with no other reason other than to progress the story and keep him on his toes.
The Invitation does many things right but not without leaving some glaring issues. Despite these issues that makes the audience suspend belief, the movie is an enjoyable watch that could be looked at deeper to enrich the viewer’s experience. The tension and mystery created in this film manages to overshadow some but not all of these problems.