“The Invisible Man” Movie Review

Story posted March 5, 2020 in CommRadio, Arts & Entertainment by David Myers

Everybody enjoys the sense of security that they receive within their own home. But “The Invisible Man” film takes you out of your comfort zone by portraying that feeling of an invisible person watching you 24/7.

“The Invisible Man” has been adapted from H.G. Wells’ 1897 novel of the same name. Previous portrayals in film include the 1933 movie (also titled “The Invisible Man”), starring Claude Rains as the title character, and “The Hollow Man,” released in 2000. Both films focus on a scientist going insane as a result of an experiment turning him invisible. There were also multiple television shows that did not gain ground and only lasted two seasons at most. The 2020 version was directed and written by Leigh Whannell, who also directed the “Saw” movie series, and as such, “The Invisible Man” falls under the horror and science fiction genres.

It begins with Cecilia Kass, portrayed by Elizabeth Moss, fleeing from her partner Adrian Griffin, depicted by Oliver Jackson-Cohen. In this scene, she scales the wall of his property in a manner reminiscent of a prisoner escaping a jail. She then hops into a car driven by her sister Emily, played by Harriet Dyer, and they drive off into the night.

The film jumps ahead two weeks, and we learn that Adrian was an abusive control freak that left an impact on Cecilia that she could never escape. This is exemplified when she is terrified to leave the house and covers the camera on her computer. She then learns that Adrian committed suicide, but unexplained events begin to occur that make her suspicious that he is still alive.  Cecilia’s life falls into a downward spiral as she struggles to convince those around her that Adrian is not dead.

The pacing for the film is slow for the first and second acts, but the pacing in the final one feels rushed. In the first act, we are introduced to the main cast as well as the supporting characters and their traits and relationships to Cecilia. An example is a family friend that Cecilia stays with because she is afraid that Adrian will find her. With the second act, the film becomes a guessing game for the viewer to determine if the invisible man is in the room with the characters, and if so, where? The camera stays put in scenes to clarify that there is something the viewer should be paying attention to, thus making him or her question whether or not the invisible man is there. The third act is unlike the others in that the pace of the film is faster. Other characters in the film discover that Cecilia was telling the truth, and the premise changes from a suspenseful game of hide-and-seek to a quick conclusion. But if the audience misses one key detail, the ending can be interpreted differently.

“The Invisible Man” succeeds in creating suspense. Since the viewers are unsure whether the title character is in the same room as the main cast, they are never certain of how the scene will play out. On top of that, the twists that the movie introduces are successful in making situations that appear bad seem even worse for the main character.

But there are smaller issues that raise questions, especially with continuity. When the invisible man picks up an object in one scene, it disappears completely, but later, when we find out how he becomes invisible, there is no way that he could have hidden the object on his body as quickly as the film depicts. The same object reappears almost out of thin air in a later scene, bringing the same issue back into question: Where did the invisible man hide it?

For the most part, the music, or lack thereof at times, added to the mystery of each scene, and matching the theme of whatever is happening. The soundtrack picks up when a reveal occurs and becomes deafening during moments when one character feels more powerful than another. It makes for a very satisfying contrast. But unfortunately, there are instances when the noise is too much. The volume is raised on two occasions to the point where it distracts from what is happening on screen: once during a fight sequence and again at the end.

The acting was solid for the most part. Elizabeth Moss successfully depicts the victim of a stalker and the hopelessness of not being able to fight back. Although we do not actually see Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s character for most of the movie, he is believable in the few scenes he is in. Alternatively, there is one moment where more involvement is needed. During one scene, Cecilia supposedly strikes someone when in fact it was the invisible man’s doing. The problem here is that the person whom she struck had a full view of Cecilia’s arms and saw that they did not move, yet she blames Cecilia for hitting her anyway. This once again brings up the film’s issue of continuity.

Overall, the film’s pacing, acting and music help create suspense, but the conclusion can confuse the viewer if he or she is not observant. Be prepared for the slow start and pay attention to the details at the end for a complete experience. Otherwise, “The Invisible Man” is an interesting spin on the original story since it does not really focus on the invisible man himself.

Rating: 3/5


David Myers is a sophomore majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email d12amyers@gmail.com.