Current Issue #488

Film Review:
The Invisible Man

Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man
Elisabeth Moss in The Invisible Man

Melbourne-born Leigh Whannell wrote and directed this intense, psychodramatic horror outing that has nothing much to do with H.G. Wells’ 1897 original novel of the same name except, well, invisibility.

Whannell, a key player in the Saw and Insidious movies with his bestie James Wan (and solo creator of last year’s sci-fi action film Upgrade), elicits a fine, freaked-out performance from star Elisabeth Moss while also making sure that this works (like the recent radical rethink of Black Christmas) as a post-#MeToo terror epic.

A lengthy, suspenseful sequence introduces Moss’ Cecelia Kass as she stealthily leaves her violently abusive tech-wiz husband Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) in the middle of the night with help from her deadpan sister Emily (Harriet Dyer). Cecelia stays with her cop friend James (Aldis Hodge) and his teen daughter Sydney (Storm Reid) and, two weeks later, hears of Adrian’s suicide, but she’s so fearful and suspicious of him that she refuses to believe he’s truly dead.

It’s no spoiler to reveal that he isn’t, and Cecelia takes a while to realise that Adrian appears to have contrived a method to become invisible and that he’s stalking and screwing with her, but when she begins to tell others of this improbable idea she’s, of course, thought of as crazy. And Whannell does try, at first, to suggest that, as a victim of domestic violence, she really IS imagining it, but we’ve seen this one’s title (and probably the trailer) so we don’t buy it.

Naturally the whole method of filmmaking requires it, and yet, nonetheless, Moss is very impressive here considering that she spends so much time staring at, reacting to or running from… nothing. Her committed performance and Whannell’s cool handling ensure that this is surely the best movie about the whole goofy notion of invisibility in decades, and far superior to The Invisible BoyThe Invisible KidInvisible SisterInvisible MomInvisible Mom 2Invisible StranglerThe Invisible Maniac and a huge and dubious run of films that might make you wish this whole transparent canon would disappear entirely.

Reviewer Rating

The Invisible Man (MA) is in cinemas now

DM Bradley

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