geezer cinema: the invisible man (leigh whannell, 2020)
Wednesday, March 04, 2020
The Invisible Man starts with an escape. We know nothing of the situation, except that a woman, Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss), is terrified, and she is sneaking out of her house. She succeeds, and we gradually learn the story of her life with an abusive husband. By focusing on her escape, Leigh Whannell puts us on Cecilia's side from the beginning. When her husband is found dead of a suicide, it seems like a happy ending, although Cecilia is still paranoid, not wanting to go outside. At this point, we are rooting for Cecilia to move on with her life.
All of the subsequent plot twists grow out of this. We feel empathy for Cecilia, but she starts noticing things that don't make sense, and for a moment we might question Cecilia's grasp of reality. She concludes that her husband is somehow still alive, and that he has figured out a way to be invisible.
Whannell doesn't keep us in suspense ... we "see" the evidence of the invisible man's presence, as does Cecilia. Our empathy returns, twofold, for Cecilia has to deal not only with her apparently living, invisible husband, but with a world that thinks she is deluded.
Whannell relies heavily on Moss. His plot has more than a few holes that are best ignored until after the movie, but meanwhile, Moss is up to everything asked of her. Over the course of the movie she has to portray a variety of emotions, sometimes hiding her true emotions behind a mask. It's an award-worthy performance that will likely be forgotten by next year's Oscars.
Whannell reportedly brought the movie in for only $7 million. The "Invisible" effects are good ... you don't notice how it is done. The sound carries a lot of impact ... you hear every punch (granted, I was watching in a Dolby Cinema theater, where loud sounds can make your seat rumble). It's not clear who to credit for the sound ... the IMDB lists 20 people under "Sound Department" ... my best guess is Chris Terhune and P.K. Hooker, who are credited as "sound designers".
The Invisible Man provides enough thrills to satisfy, and Moss in particular makes it worth watching. I wouldn't go any further than that, though ... it's no Babadook.