Author Topic: The Invisible Man (mild spoilers)  (Read 628 times)

Offline perc2100

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The Invisible Man (mild spoilers)
« on: March 02, 2020, 07:11:40 PM »
INVISIBLE MAN is a taut, tense thriller that kicks off with a tense scene and never really lets up to give the audience a moment to breathe: a film that messes with expectations right down to the final climax. A lot of folks have been quick to describe this as a #MeToo film narrative, but it's not exactly that; INVISIBLE MAN isn't exactly a horror movie, or a female empowerment movie, or a revenge movie. But it does have flavors of all of those, and writer/director Leigh Whannell (co-creator/writer of the first 3 SAW films, also the other victim in the 'world's 2nd worst bathroom' w/Cary Elwes; he also wrote the INSIDIOUS films, while directing the 3rd) has crafted a story that pays tribute to the original, nefarious actions of the HG Wells novel, while updating with modern flare.

The film centers on Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) leaving her boyfriend in the middle of the night. She drugs him to knock him out, sneaks out of bed, packs her most necessary items in a bag, climbs a wall, and waits for her sister to pick her up on the side of the road. The 10 minute opening scene is a rather brilliant horror short-film in its own right, and within about 5 minutes my Apple Watch was telling me to breathe. We see a very modern house on a cliff overlooking the Pacific; a huge, glass box with a wide-open floor plan and huge warehouse-looking rooms full of computers and other technical-looking lab gear. We don't know why Cecilia is terrified in-the-moment, or why she is so in need of leaving her boyfriend that she went to the lengths of drugging him & turning off the surveillance cams throughout the house. But we get the impression almost immediately (via the home layout that seems perfect for a controlling narcissist) that time is of the essence, the guy _can't_ wake up and catch her, and she NEEDS to get the hell out. Of course, as she's getting in her sister, Emily (Harriet Dyer)'s car, boyfriend Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) catches up, smashes a car window trying to get Cecilia out, and flat-out telling her that she's not leaving.

She moves in with a friend, San Francisco PD officer James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid) where it's clear she is incredibly, psychologically distressed: having not left James' house in two weeks, going only so far as the mailbox. Emily makes an unannounced visit, much to terrified Cecilia's dismay, to deliver the news that Adrian is dead and Cecilia is home free. Adrian's brother, Tom (Michael Dorman) is the executer lawyer of Adrian's fortune, and tells Cecilia she is inheriting millions in tax-free money. So Cecilia gets $100k a month, she decides to put $10k a month aside for Sydney's college tuition, and they all live happily ever after!

Lol, of course not. Oddities happen almost immediately, with a fire in the kitchen, a blanket being pulled off while sleeping, and other unexplained (in Cecilia's mind) events. She deduces quickly that Adrian, identified in newspapers as "the worlds top expert of optics," has faked his death and is somehow completely messing with him because of his massive control issues. There's never really a plausible explanation as to why Adrian would do such a thing, but sadly I suspect most audience members will know at least one 'dude' who is similarly controlling.

Most people who have ever seen a horror film or a thriller know how the rest of this plays out. While the cat-and-mouse game of these types of movies occurs, Elizabeth Moss's acting keeps the audience engaged, and the direction keeps us gripping the armrests. Whannell does a remarkable job of using many camera angles that feel exceptionally voyeuristic: we feel like poor Cecilia is almost always being watched, whether Adrian is around messing with her or not. Moss carries the movie ably, not necessarily a damsel-in-distress type, not exactly a mentally disturbed type, but encompassing all of those aspects and more in a nuanced turn that easily could've been cliched in less capable hands. Most of the other actors don't get a lot to do, but they're serviceable at least; Storm Reid in particular feels incredibly believable and compelling in what could've been a throw-away role.

The special FX are compelling, and mostly convincing. There will always be an inherent silliness about movies with invisible people engaging non-invisible characters; the "person-fighting-with-someone-you-can't-see" trope always feels at least a little comical, watching an actor flail around - swinging or kicking at air. But the directing and editing are done well, with minimum goofiness. The effects are generally splendid, with a third act cat-and-mouse between Cecilia and the Invisible Man pretty cool. The film is wise not to get too deep into the 'how' of the science of the invisible suit, and when the suit gets a bit 'glitchy' it makes for a fairly simplistic yet cool effect.

The thing that made me smile about this movie is the seemingly lame 3rd act. The first 2 acts are a great exercise in ratcheting up the tension. We get to a point where Cecilia's nerves are shot, and it's looking like Adrian has just about broken her: she's in a psych ward after being arrested for murder, her best friend James doesn't trust her, and everyone thinks she's crazy. This leads to her hatching a plan to reveal and then foil the Invisible Man, and the 3rd act feels like a cliched horror/slasher movie chase. Somehow the audience realizes the antagonist has great fighting skills, our hero has become incredible adept at finding the invisible bad guy, and it all resolves with Cecilia finishing off the bad guy and getting off the hook completely.

Or does she? At what felt like a let down of an ending, I realized there was still quite a bit of time left for a _real_ ending, and the audience remembers that Whannell has proven he's the king of twisty endings time-and-time again! I love a movie when I get near the finish line and I don't know exactly what is going to happen: when I'm "forced" to sit back and just take it all in, not quite able to guess what comes next and resigning myself to the moment. INVISIBLE MAN delivers!

It's a common trope that movie trailers can give away a movie: it's not uncommon for trailers to show the set-up, development, & climactic set-pieces and one can walk into a film with a decent, generalized idea of how the film will unfold. For awhile I thought that was the case with THE INVISIBLE MAN, but this film subverts that trope and delivers an exciting horror movie worthy a revisit to a classic Universal Monster

Offline darkron9

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Re: The Invisible Man (mild spoilers)
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2020, 08:22:33 AM »
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INVISIBLE MAN is a taut, tense thriller that kicks off with a tense scene and never really lets up to give the audience a moment to breathe: a film that messes with expectations right down to the final climax....

...It's a common trope that movie trailers can give away a movie: it's not uncommon for trailers to show the set-up, development, & climactic set-pieces and one can walk into a film with a decent, generalized idea of how the film will unfold. For awhile I thought that was the case with THE INVISIBLE MAN, but this film subverts that trope and delivers an exciting horror movie worthy a revisit to a classic Universal Monster

Excellent review.  I went to see this film last Friday and thought of all the other films and TV shows I've seen with an invisible man character before the feature started.  I was pleasantly surprised.  This one was the best I-Man thriller that I have seen so far. 

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Re: The Invisible Man (mild spoilers)
« Reply #2 on: Today at 12:36:32 PM »

Offline marcia29

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Re: The Invisible Man (mild spoilers)
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2020, 08:59:14 AM »
I might even see this film. Yet my heart protests. I am simply tired of folk trying to capitalize on prior films in name only --those have little or no relation to the original/classic....other than the title. Arrrrrgggh! :(
It is 2021 and I am still asking...where's my flyin' car??!!

Offline perc2100

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Re: The Invisible Man (mild spoilers)
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2020, 10:42:28 AM »
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I might even see this film. Yet my heart protests. I am simply tired of folk trying to capitalize on prior films in name only --those have little or no relation to the original/classic....other than the title. Arrrrrgggh! :(
For all intents and purposes this is a 100% original story.  The only commonality is someone figures out how to make themselves "invisible" and does nefarious things.  HG Wells' version is, of course, over 120 years old and it makes sense to me to take an incredibly broad concept and 'spin' it for modern relevancy.  I think one can probably say this film is true to the original spirit of the original (I read the original novel in middle school and that was a loooooooong time ago).  This film _almost_ feels like a variation of GONE GIRL: rich and famous person fakes their death in order to plot an incredibly complex revenge plot against their lover whom they've grown distant from.  Now that I think about it, GONE GIRL is probably more graphic in the violence & language department (that Neil Patrick Harris scene in GONE GIRL = yowzers!!).

IMO if Universal wants to revive their classic 'Universal Monsters' characters, this is a _MUCH_ better way to go than that Tom Cruise THE MUMMY debacle.  I'd be 100% fine with Blumhouse continuing with the Universal Monsters characters for more revisits.  These classics, IMO, are ripe for reimaginings

Offline marcia29

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Re: The Invisible Man (mild spoilers)
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2020, 10:53:52 AM »
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For all intents and purposes this is a 100% original story.  The only commonality is someone figures out how to make themselves "invisible" and does nefarious things.  HG Wells' version is, of course, over 120 years old and it makes sense to me to take an incredibly broad concept and 'spin' it for modern relevancy.  I think one can probably say this film is true to the original spirit of the original (I read the original novel in middle school and that was a loooooooong time ago).  This film _almost_ feels like a variation of GONE GIRL: rich and famous person fakes their death in order to plot an incredibly complex revenge plot against their lover whom they've grown distant from.  Now that I think about it, GONE GIRL is probably more graphic in the violence & language department (that Neil Patrick Harris scene in GONE GIRL = yowzers!!).

IMO if Universal wants to revive their classic 'Universal Monsters' characters, this is a _MUCH_ better way to go than that Tom Cruise THE MUMMY debacle.  I'd be 100% fine with Blumhouse continuing with the Universal Monsters characters for more revisits.  These classics, IMO, are ripe for reimaginings

TOTALLY agree on THE MUMMY disaster, oh, puhleeze, kill that with fire.  :)

I will revisit this movie...hmmmmm...good points.  ;)
TOTALLY
It is 2021 and I am still asking...where's my flyin' car??!!

Offline darkron9

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Re: The Invisible Man (mild spoilers)
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2020, 07:21:44 AM »
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For all intents and purposes this is a 100% original story.  The only commonality is someone figures out how to make themselves "invisible" and does nefarious things.  HG Wells' version is, of course, over 120 years old and it makes sense to me to take an incredibly broad concept and 'spin' it for modern relevancy.  I think one can probably say this film is true to the original spirit of the original (I read the original novel in middle school and that was a loooooooong time ago).  This film _almost_ feels like a variation of GONE GIRL: rich and famous person fakes their death in order to plot an incredibly complex revenge plot against their lover whom they've grown distant from.  Now that I think about it, GONE GIRL is probably more graphic in the violence & language department (that Neil Patrick Harris scene in GONE GIRL = yowzers!!).

IMO if Universal wants to revive their classic 'Universal Monsters' characters, this is a _MUCH_ better way to go than that Tom Cruise THE MUMMY debacle.  I'd be 100% fine with Blumhouse continuing with the Universal Monsters characters for more revisits.  These classics, IMO, are ripe for reimaginings

100% agree with you thoughts about INVISIBLE MAN.  Gosh, I'd almost forgotten about GONE GIRL and the Neil Patrick Harris nude scene.

Yes, marcia29.  Do give this one another chance.

Offline marcia29

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Re: The Invisible Man (mild spoilers)
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2020, 08:02:06 AM »
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100% agree with you thoughts about INVISIBLE MAN.  Gosh, I'd almost forgotten about GONE GIRL and the Neil Patrick Harris nude scene.

Yes, marcia29.  Do give this one another chance.

Will do! :)
It is 2021 and I am still asking...where's my flyin' car??!!

Offline Chris

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Re: The Invisible Man (mild spoilers)
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2021, 09:35:55 PM »
Just saw this too.  Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this movie as I am too high string for jump scares.  Random thoughts:

--Elizabeth Moss is great
--I'm man enough to admit that I wet myself when she threw the paint when he was on the ladder.  ::Shivers::
--I want that house
--It felt like a live action remake of See No Evil from Batman The Animated Series minus Batman.  If you haven't seen it, I shall stare at you judgingly until you do.