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The Invisible Man


The Invisible Man (2020)
The 2020 re-imagining of the cinematic classic The Invisible Man is a taut and consistently suspenseful psychological thriller that I suspect looks at the original story from a different point of view that kept this reviewer riveted to the screen for most of the running time, despite some dangling plot points that I have still been unable to legitimize, but had to let them go in favor of the big picture.

Two weeks after escaping the home of her very wealthy and very abusive husband, Adrian, Cecelia learns that her husband has committed suicide. She learns that her husband left his $5,000,000 estate to Cecelia, but some bizarre events begin to occur that have only one explanation: that Adrian is still alive but has found a way to make himself invisible.

The original story upon which this film was based has a long and distinguished history. The original novel, written by HG Wells, was published in 1897 and first came to the screen in 1933 with Claude Rains in the title role. I've never read the novel or seen the story onscreen before, but research revealed that the original story centered on a scientist whose ability to become invisible has him spiral into insanity, but in this film, the focus is not on the scientist, who we learn is an expert in the field of optics, but on his wife, a logical shift of focus in our current "Me too" society, but most likely changes the tone of the original story.

Director and screenwriter Leigh Whannell has crafted a tricky psychological thriller that concentrates a little more on the psychological than the thrills, but there's certain things that happen here that confused this reviewer: Adrian is supposedly invisible and should have had complete control of his wife. Trapping her in one spot shouldn't have been an issue but she escapes from him at least half a dozen times. And with complete control of Cecelia, why was it necessary for so many innocent bystanders to die? He could have grabbed her once, thrown her in a basement and that would have been it. Not to mention the fact that why he does all this doesn't begin to justify his terror spree. And on Cecelia's side, why would she accept the $5,000,000 after her carefully executed escape during the opening scenes?

There are some effective red herrings thrown in to confuse us, primarily the character of Adrian's brother. His agenda changes from scene to scene and we never believe anything that comes out of his mouth, especiallhy his confession to Cecelia that he was as afraid of Adrian as Cecelia was. Every appearance the character makes keeps the viewers on his toes.

Whannell has employed first rate production values to bring this story to fruition, with special nods to art direction, film editing, and some dandy visual effects. Elisabeth Moss is extremely effective in the physically and emotionally demanding role of Cecelia, though I kept picturing Toni Collette in the role and Benjamin Wallfisch's brooding music score effectively frames the story. The movie definitely supplies its share of scares, but a few too many lapses in logic dilute its power.