The Invisible Man
Director: Leigh Whannell
Writer: Leigh Whannell
Based on: H. G. Wells‘ novel
Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Aldis Hodge, Storm Reid, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Harriet Dyer, Michael Dorman
Seen on: 5.3.2020
Content Note: domestic violence, psychological abuse, stalking
Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) finally manages to leave her abusive partner Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) in the middle of the night with the help of her sister Emily (Harriet Dyer). Now she’s staying with her friend James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid), but she’s still terrified that Adrian will find her. That’s when the news reaches her that Adrian killed himself and left her some money. Relieved at first, Cecilia soon notices strange things going on around her and is certain that Adrian is back in her life even if she can’t see him.
The Invisible Man is a really strong film that effectively uses its central and by now much-explored idea to make something completely new of it. I was very impressed and creeped out.
When the trailer started dropping for The Invisible Man, I was a little pissed: it looked so good, but at the same time, it seemed to tell the entire story of the film in like two minutes, giving way too much away. Having seen the film now, I must say in hindsight the trailer is very clever, showing scenes that set the mood for the film and fit perfectly with it – but many of them aren’t actually in the film, so they didn’t give that much away after all. And while the general direction of the story is very clear, the way it goes down does play out differently from what the trailer suggested. So, if you had the same problem with the trailer that I did, ignore it and go see the film anyway.
Because it is really good. Taking the concept of the Invisible Man to tackle domestic violence and abusive relationships was brilliant and they work it so very well, really showing what it means to be gaslit, and the paranoia that comes with abuse, even when it is (apparently) over. The film really gets the dynamic and makes it – no pun intended – visible.
Elisabeth Moss is absolutely fantastic. I mean, she usually is, but she gets to showcase everything here. It was glorious to watch. Plus, it’s always a pleasure to see Aldis Hodge (why is he not in every film ever? He definitely could be) and Jackson-Cohen does a great job of straddling the line of charming and creepy in the short time we get to see him.
It was a very clever choice of the film not to try and hide the fact that there really is an invisible man here. There is no traipsing around, no “maybe she’s imagining it all”. It would have felt weird if it had, and it’s not necessary at all, because the film is definitely tense enough without it. There were a couple of moments where I jumped (without it being actual jump scares), but overall, there’s this sense of unease that really makes the film. And it makes it really good.