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THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020) (Read 1625 times)
Mar 6th, 2020 at 3:55pm

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INVISIBLE MAN (2020). Review.
The best way to approach Leigh Whannell's THE INVISIBLE MAN is to forget about H.G. Wells' novel and most of the prior film adaptations from James Whale's 1933 masterpiece on down. The one exception is 2000's HOLLOW MAN which, aside from its Oscar nominated SFX is most remembered for Director Paul Verhoeven's perceived misogyny (a charge which has followed much of his career). Here, writer-director Whannell has reversed the POV and he imagines it all from the perspective of the invisible antagonist's female victim.

Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) escapes from Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen; the character name being one of the few things carried over from the Wells novel). She hides out at the home of a friend James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid). But, as he had promised/threatened - Griffin tracks her down. Structurally, the screenplay follows the spousal abuse/stalker/revenge playbook to a T. In many ways it doesn't matter if Griffin is 'visible' or not.

What makes it work is Whannell's Direction, Moss' fine performance and the controlled creepy camerawork of Cinematographer Stefan Duscio. To their credit, the filmmakers don't overtly cheat. We see what the characters see (credit also to editor Andy Canny). The one miscalculation is Benjamin Wallfisch's loud over-the-top score which is far too overwhelming for what is essentially a low key melodrama. The special effects are relatively minimal, but well handled.

THE INVISIBLE MAN is a moderately effective thriller. Layering on a sci-fi horror angle on what is a serious theme of domestic abuse is more questionable (indeed, a version where The Invisible Man doesn't even exist except in Cecilia's mind could easily be created with fairly minimal editing). That is something for each viewer to evaluate. Setting that aside for now, the movie works.
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