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An Unseen Predator: The Invisible Man

Updated on July 28, 2020


Adrian Griffin is a rich and possessive man. He is an expert in optics, and he's used to getting everything he wants. He has kept his partner, Cecilia Kass, in his mansion, and dictates virtually every move in her life. In The Invisible Man, Cecilia (Elisabeth Moss) slips away from Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) and leaves the property almost undetected. Cecilia had arranged for her sister Emily (Harriet Dyer) to get her away from there, which they do just in time. As a safety measure, Harriet takes her sister to the home of their friend James Lanier (Aldis Hodge), a police detective raising teen daughter Sydney (Storm Reid) on his own. Cecilia never leaves the Lanier home until Emily brings word that Adrian has committed suicide. Cecilia soon hears from Adrian's lawyer brother, Tom (Michael Dorman), regarding Adrian's will. She has been left $5 million, which Adrian has stipulated be paid over time and contingent on her staying out of legal trouble.

After that, Cecilia becomes the target of some odd occurrences. As she attempts to restart her career as an architect, she finds her sketch samples missing during a job interview. She also loses consciousness as a result of a drug she did not willingly take. She knew that Adrian had experimented with an invisibility suit. and these incidents make her think that he not only succeeded, but he also might not be dead. More things happen that make those closest to Cecilia distance herself from her. Adrian finally reveals himself in a way during a reconciliation dinner between Emily and Cecilia. At that dinner, Adrian, clad in his invisibility suit, kills Emily and makes the death look like the work of Cecilia. She's arrested and sent to a mental facility, insistent in her claims that Adrian is still alive. The staff there think she's crazy until strange things start to happen and overpower them.


The Invisible Man film has very little connection to the H. G. Wells book, though the use of the name Griffin comes from Wells's work. The film that writer-director Leigh Whannell presents is not so much science fiction as Fatal Attraction-style drama with a sci-fi element. Someone seems to know every detail Cecilia experiences, including something Cecilia learns while in custody. Whannell succeeds at making Cecilia a sympathetic character, but some of the elements of her plight don't make sense. in one scene, Cecilia finds James's cell phone in the attic when some viewers might think that the detective would miss it. Knowing the ordeal of Cecilia, I find it hard to believe that Emily would receive an angry e-mail from her sister's address and accept it as the measure of Cecilia's true feelings. Griffin is also, at times, nimble and stealth beyond belief. He navigates his way through the Lanier home, a crowded restaurant, and a mental facility without making noise, making contact with anyone, or setting off alarms.

Moss does well in a film that is decidedly thin on character. Cecilia has been heavily damaged as a result of her confinement. She doesn't even leave James's house until she gets word that Adrian has died. After that, she notices things out of place, but she has determined not to let these incidents get the better of her. She no longer wants to be the victim of her circumstances, but aims to be the hero of her story. Jackson-Cohen does not make the obsessed Griffin distinctive. He simply concocts a plot to try and make Cecilia his again while dealing with anybody in the way of achieving his goal. Adrian is a run-of-the-mill creep who somehow cannot be satisfied with his scientific achievement. As bland as their characters are, I also liked Hodge and Reid as a father and daughter who are very kind and generous to a woman who's known little kindness or real love.


The Invisible Man, on its surface, tells the tale of a gifted scientist who has created a suit which gives its user invisibility. Adrian Griffin may have discovered a way to become unseen, but Cecilia Kass is, in another way, the real invisible one. This feeling is one Cecilia neither deserved nor sought. She came around to shedding her invisibility to deal with a man who saw her more as a possession and less as a human. The Invisible Man is neither great sci-fi nor great drama, but it compensates with an engaging lead performance and the message that there is more than one way to be unseen.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give The Invisible Man three stars. A new way to hide from the world.

The Invisible Man trailer

© 2020 Pat Mills


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