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].
Director & Writer: Leigh Whannell
Elizabeth Moss – Cecelia (Wife) [The Handmaids Tale, Mad Men, The West Wing]
Oliver Jackson-Cohen – Adrian (Husband) [The Haunting of Hill House, The Healer, Dracula (TV)]
Aldis Hodge – James (Sisters boyfriend) [Straight Outta Compton, Hidden Figures, What Men Want]
Harriet Dyer – Emily (Sister) [The Inbetween]
I’ve never seen any other ‘Invisible Man’ films, but there are a few from as early as 1933, so I won’t be comparing this to any previous versions. What I can tell you though, is it is not a man walking around with a hanky on his head! Also, I try to avoid reading too many reviews before watching a film (especially if it is one I want to see), therefore this review is purely based on my own opinions.
Love it or Hate it? How I decide…
I’ll start by briefly explaining how my ‘5-star’ rating guide works:
- Storyline: This must be plausible. I prefer something that could possibly happen, opposed to something so far fetched that it is ridiculous.
- Acting: Quality of the acting is important for me to enjoy a film. I need to believe what is happening to be fully engrossed, especially in the horror/thriller genres.
- Characters: I must engage with them from the beginning, either in a good or bad way. They can’t be plain and boring. I like characters with personality.
- Visual effects: I like realistic visuals. I’ve never been a fan of overly aminated CGI.
- Audio effects: the music must set the scene. I get more engrossed in a film when the sound is on point.
Ok, now let’s get on to the film!
The storyline is fantastic, hard hitting, and realistic (ok, so the invisibility aspect is debatable but not completely unbelievable). It is especially relevant at this current time and will hopefully raise much needed awareness to domestic abuse (in case you are unaware, calls to domestic abuse helplines in the UK have increased during COVID, some charities reporting a 700% increase in calls!).
Right from the very first scenes, the story begins, it is not one of those films where you watch 70 minutes of back story for 20 minutes of action at the end! You instantly get drawn in and start feeling anxious, despair, anger, frustration, desperation… You get the sighs of relief, as well as the pangs of doubt. You feel the emotions of all the characters; the desperation of Cecelia, the disbelief of James, the anger of Emily. The cast isn’t huge, which helps in keeping track of who is who, and what is going on. What this film does extremely well, is the portrayal of gaslighting. I’ve never really known what it was before, it is something that has crept into my vocabulary over the past 6 months or so. But now I really understand what it means, and I think a lot of people will watch this film and have a lightbulb moment. Some people may recognise signs of it either in their own life, or someone they know. I loved the strong message about domestic abuse/violence this film conveys, highlighting that it isn’t always in plain sight, and for outsiders it can be very hard to believe the victim.
The characters are very well executed and have depth of personality. I was engrossed by them from the word go and felt myself getting attached to them. The actors themselves do a great job in portraying this story. I’ve seen domestic abuse many times in TV or film and sometimes they feel over egged, and they don’t quite get the seriousness of the situation across. I believed the story more because the actors are relatively unknown. If you watch a lot of tv/films, you may get the ‘I recognise that person’ sense but there are certainly no ‘A’ listers here to detract from the main story. I really felt the frustrations Cecilia was experiencing, and the shear determination in her to get to the bottom of what was going on.
The film is shot in a very life like manner. Not quite documentary style like The Blair Witch Project, but it is shot in a way you feel like you could be watching something in real life. There aren’t any noticeable fancy graphics or lots of CGI, which adds to the natural feel. The ‘invisible’ action scenes sometimes look a bit laboured but it doesn’t detract too much from the point of the film. I believe the reason behind the ‘invisibility’ (I won’t spoil it) and it seems like a plausible idea which adds to the realism this film does so well. The audio effects make this film AMAZING! All the way through the film you’ll be jumping just because the music makes you. You’ll be on the edge of your seat. You’ll be listening intently for that noise you thought you’d heard. Your heart will be racing with anxiety! This film has a good balance between action, suspense, and thrill.
The Invisible Man (2020) has many layers. It can be watched just for what it is, or you could find meanings in the individual element. Is the ‘invisible man’ signifying the unseen affects abuse has on a person? Is he the shadows of Cecilia’s memories haunting her? Is he highlighting how easy and undetectable gaslighting can be? Is he the mental aspects left with a victim after experiencing abuse? Is he the negative self-talk Cecilia has in her head? I, for one, think it is all these things. Like an onion, you peel back a layer and you find another, until you get to the core.
Overall, I must give this film 4.5/5 just because the ending isn’t ‘wow’. But at least it has an ending. Hands up who else is fed up of films that just seem to finish without any conclusion or explanation!?
Go and watch it, you won’t be disappointed. I would say it is one of the better horror/thriller films I’ve seen in a long time.
Let me know what you think 😊 ❤