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Movie Review | The Invisible Man (2020)

Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) is framed for a crime and imprisoned in The Invisible Man

Movie summary: When Cecilia's abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see. (IMDb)

I can't actually remember seeing any adverts or trailers for The Invisible Man - I honestly still haven't watched the one attached at the bottom of this post! - although they're apparently very good and got many people interested in seeing the movie. Hell, going to see this movie was a friend's choice, not mine, although I'm very glad to have seen it despite knowing effectively nothing about it going in.

The biggest problem I've got in writing this review is to try and figure out how to talk about it without spoiling it, because even discussing The Invisible Man's genre could give away details - and that's not a joke. What I will say is that I don't think this really counts as horror. There are a couple of jump scares, but I'd definitely say this movie is more of a thriller than anything else.

It's a thriller with a twist that you'll probably figure out pretty quickly, but is still so well done that you won't care. The twist itself isn't really the important thing here - it's how the characters, and especially Elisabeth Moss' Cecilia deal with it that really matter. The nature of the titular character's abilities is far less interesting than the reaction to them.

As for Elisabeth Moss, this is absolutely her movie and proof that she can easily carry a story by herself, especially as she's on-screen for what feels like the almost the entire movie. Moss is so engaging and gives such a believable performance in reaction to a fantastical situation that you'll never get bored of seeing her.

The cinematography helps immensely, often panning away from her to show an empty room, or pulling back to reveal how much space there is around her for the unseen antagonist to hide in. It's using 'film language' to aid the story, which is very impressive work on the parts of Leigh Whannell as writer/director and Stefan Duscio as the cinematographer.

They know full well that if the camera is moving to point at something, then it's something the audience should really be seeing. Thanks to the nature of the bad guy, this results in audience's minds filling in the blanks as we shots of ostensibly empty rooms - and what imaginations can conjure up is almost always more scary than anything that could be put on-screen.

The (almost) invisible man in... The Invisible Man

Speaking of the villain of the piece, who I can't really talk about in too much detail without spoiling the finale, it does lead to an interesting conundrum: just how good of an antagonist can they be if they're rarely (visible) on-screen? How can you judge the performance? It's a bit of a thankless role as a result, but still effective in providing a constant level of tension and anxiety throughout.

The biggest problem I had with The Invisible Man was that it did start to feel a little repetitive around the two-thirds mark. It felt like there was very little difference between a number of sequences other than the locations they were set in - there would be some invisibility-based shenanigans, Cecilia would get away and the loop would restart at the next location she ended up.

How the movie ends isn't particularly strong either, although I don't know if it's really a weakness other than lacking in genuine catharsis, because I do think it's actually pretty clever in how it shows Cecilia finally overcoming the title character and the manner in which she does so. It's just lacking a certain something to make up for what we've seen throughout the movie.

The Invisible Man does also set up a potential sequel, which could prove to very interesting indeed if done well enough. After all, this is a movie that is really about a woman trying to escape an abusive relationship and the trauma that persists afterwards, and how this movie ends could see that message taken one step further and really ruffle some feathers.

The Invisible Man is a great movie, only let down by a nagging sense of repetition as the ending draws near, which isn't helped by a finale that doesn't match the rest of the movie. Elisabeth Moss excels as Cecilia, easily proving that she can carry a movie on the back of her own considerable talents - aided by some excellent camerawork that will have you second-guessing every background sight and sound.


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