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Movie Review: “The Invisible Man”

Updated on March 6, 2020
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There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

The Invisible Man

Theatrical Release: 2/28/2020
Theatrical Release: 2/28/2020 | Source

Synopsis

Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) was in an abusive relationship with a man named Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). She ran away, but Adrian Griffin is not one to let go so easily. He is a genius who specializes in optical science and technology. He is at the top of his field, and is extremely wealthy, but he is also violent and extremely controlling. Adrian Griffin could have almost any women he could want. That is, however, except for Cecilia Kass. Cecilia Kass has been in a relationship with Adrian Griffin for too long and decided that she needed to run away.

Once she gets out, she fears greatly that Adrian Griffin will come after her, and she fears what he will do when he finds her. Thus, she is relieved to discover that Adrian committed suicide not long after she ran away. However, as she tries to finally move on, she begins to suspect that Adrian has not only found a way to fake his own death, but that he has also figured out a way to become invisible. She knows that Adrian is very much alive, that he is stalking her, and that he intends to harm Cecilia and those around her. Unfortunately, everyone else thinks Cecilia is crazy, so she is very much on her own.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The Pros
The Cons
Elisabeth Moss (+5pts)
The Plan & The Relationship (-3pts)
The Invisible Man (+8pts)
Strength (-1pts)
Not Crazy (+5pts)
Invisible Fights (-1pts)
All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.
Source

Pro: Elisabeth Moss (+5pts)

This movie had a pretty unrealistic premise, so the lead actress had to play it convincingly. We needed to believe that she was truly terrified of Adrian, and we needed to believe that her theory of him being invisible was feasible. She also needed to seem crazy enough for us to believe that no other characters would believe her. I cannot imagine that this was an easy role to play, but Elisabeth Moss did a great job with it. She also needed to do a lot of acting by herself on screen, pretending there was an invisible presence in the room with her, and Elisabeth Moss did that effectively as well.

The character just worked on every level. I bought her terror, and I bought that she seemed crazy to others while believing her myself. It was also easy to relate to her character, and she really effectively sold the story's ridiculous premise. This movie would not have worked if the lead actress could not sell the idea to the audience. Fortunately, Elisabeth Moss delivered in a big way.

Source

Con: The Plan & The Relationship (-3pts)

Okay, right off the bat there were two issues that I had with this movie. The first was that Cecilia very clearly planned her escape from Adrian's home, but it seemed to be very poorly thought out. She was going back and forth between rooms, could have dressed more practically before going to bed, and could have prepped certain things to make executing her escape plan more efficient. This was a very minor issue if I am being completely honest. I liked that she was at lease somewhat prepared and had a plan, but it felt like she did not think her plan through at all, and it was obvious that her poorly planned plan was a means for the filmmakers to make her escape more suspenseful.

Then there was the relationship itself. The movie started and the audience was dropped into the story right when Cecilia began her escape. I certainly did not need a long, drawn out setup, but I think the movie would have benefited from showing some of Cecilia and Adrian's relationship before she tried to get away from him. The reason for this was that we pretty quickly believed that Cecilia was terrified of Adrian, but we had no reason as to why until a decent amount of time later. This made it hard to connect with Cecilia's desperation during her escape, because I did not know why she was trying to get out. Again, I definitely do not think there needed to be a long, drawn out setup, but showing something regarding why Cecilia felt she needed to leave would have gone a long way in getting me invested in her escape.

Source

Pro: The Invisible Man (+8pts)

I initially saw the trailer for this movie and I thought it looked like a dumb, ridiculous idea. Then I started to think about it, and thought of all the different ways an invisible person could torment you. This peaked my interest, so I saw the movie and am glad I did. I ended up really enjoying watching how the filmmakers played with this idea.

An invisible person could absolutely destroy your life. I really enjoyed seeing how the filmmakers used that concept, and I really enjoyed seeing how Cecilia tried to fight back. How would you catch someone you cannot see or defend yourself against them—someone that everyone else believes is dead? Cecilia was on her own, and—as much as I enjoyed seeing the various and creative ways in which the invisible man tormented Cecilia—I really enjoyed seeing the various ways in which Cecilia tried to defend herself and tried to out-smart her tormenter.

Source

Con: Strength (-1pts)

One minor thing, which felt like an oversight by the filmmakers, was Adrian’s strength while he was invisible. Now the guy certainly looked in shape, but he was doing things that he simply should not have been able to do while he was invisible. Whether it was picking people up using one arm—with ease—or flipping over massive dining tables with more power than a man his size could have had, it just seemed like the filmmakers unrealistically exaggerated the character’s strength to make him seem more supernatural and threatening. It definitely was not a major issue, but Adrian did feats of strength in this movie that he should not have physically been able to do and it just seemed exaggerated to make for more exciting moments.

Source

Pro: Not Crazy (+5pts)

I appreciated that the filmmakers did not spend half of the movie making me wonder if Cecilia was crazy of not. That type of storyline can be interesting and all, but it was the expected direction for this story, so I appreciated that the filmmakers of this movie went another way. They pretty quickly established that she was not crazy, so we spent the rest of the movie on her side when no one else was. It made it really easy to put myself in her shoes, as I knew she was being wrongfully accused for things that she did not do, while also being wrongfully labeled as crazy. She was not crazy, but her being crazy was certainly more plausible to other characters than the alternative explanation that she was giving them. In that regard, this was a pretty interesting character story all around. It was interesting to see Cecilia confiding in those closest to her, and to see her reaction to those closest to her shooting her down and justifiably thinking that she was crazy.

It was also interesting to explore what it would take to convince these people that Cecilia was telling the truth. It was an interesting enough premise, but I really enjoyed the character story that came with the filmmakers taking this story in a direction that I did not expect them to. Although there was a line made by Cecilia that reminded me of a scene from The Office where Michael Scott got yelled at by Ryan Howard, only for Michael Scott to explain the camera that there was a look in Ryan's eye that somehow told him a ton of information—explaining that him and Ryan were friends and that Ryan loved him. There was a scene in this movie that was like that, with Cecilia "knowing" a lot of information from Adrian based on a look. It was a ridiculous scene that reminded me of a ridiculous scene from The Office, but I fortunately thought that everything else regarding Cecilia's potential craziness worked well.

Source

Con: Invisible Fights (-1pts)

This was another minor issue, but some of the fights in this movie were ridiculous. They almost suggested that Adrian being invisible meant that other characters could not hit him. He would literally be holding onto a character, and that character would desperately lash out to hit the invisible thing holding them. Yet their strike attempts seemed to pass right through him. Sure, Adrian could have dodged some, but there were others that definitely should not have missed. It just felt like he was an physical—albeit invisible—man when it was convenient for the filmmakers, but he was also ghost-like when it was inconvenient for other characters to be able to interact with him. It just seemed like the rules regarding this character‘s invisibility were pretty inconsistent and varied depending on what the filmmakers needed in each scene.

Grading Scale

Grade
Category
Points
A+
Amazing
95-100
A-
Great
90-94
B+
Good
85-89
B-
Decent
80-84
C+
Average
75-79
C-
Watchable
70-74
D+
Bad
65-69
D-
Terrible
60-64
F
Garbage
45-59
Source

Grade: B+ (88pts)

When I saw the trailer for this movie, I honestly was not expecting much. I thought the premise seemed a little too silly for a horror-thriller, but I am glad that I checked this movie out anyway. I really liked that the filmmakers did not pretend that Cecilia could be crazy. They went full into the idea that Cecilia was right, but that no one believed her. I liked the character story that this gave the character, and I thought Elisabeth Moss did a great job in this role—playing a character that the audience needed to believe, that other characters would think was crazy, and all while convincingly playing someone who was being terrorized by an invisible man.

I also really liked the various ways that the filmmakers explored how an invisible person could mess with you, and the different ways that you could try to defend yourself against such a person. I thought the premise would be too silly to take seriously, but the filmmakers used the premise in a compelling way. I did have a few minor issues with the movie, however. There was the unrealistic strength of the invisible man, and there was the way he interacted with other characters in fights—as a ghost that could not be physically touched. Then there was Cecilia's poor escape plan and the lack of setup that her relationship with Adrian got in the beginning of the story. Fortunately, these were all minor issues, and I actually ended up enjoying this movie quite a bit. It was more thriller than horror, but it was exciting, suspenseful, thought-provoking, compelling, and was a movie that I just really enjoyed watching.

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