The Invisible Man (2020)
Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Moss) escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister, Emily (Harriet Dyer, NBC’s The InBetween), their childhood friend, James (Aldis Hodge, Straight Outta Compton) and his teenage daughter, Sydney (Storm Reid, HBO’s Euphoria). But when Cecilia’s abusive ex, Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House) commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turn lethal, threatening the lives of those she loves, Cecilia’s sanity begins to unravel as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
In the past, the Invisible Man has always been a character who underwent some kind of experiment that made him invisible. No matter how much he or others tried to reverse the process, they could never make him visible again. During his time as an invisible person, he started playing pranks on others, as would any person who could move around unseen. However, over time his pranks became deadly. He started losing his grip on reality. A sort of megalomaniacal attitude came over him because he could go almost anywhere he wanted to, hear or see things and no one would know he was there.
This Invisible Man was a slightly different character. There was no slow descent into madness for him. He has and always was an abusive, controlling sociopathic man (who probably could teach a Ph.D. level course is gaslighting) who then invents a suit that allows him to be invisible. In the era of the current #MeToo movement, Leigh Wannell’s version of The Invisible Man is a chilling look into the life of an abused woman whose boyfriend controlled everything she did, ate, thought, & even who her friends were, which it seems were none. The difference is now he could become invisible and affect others around her. This kind of obsessive torment once again forces her into isolation, as her grip on reality begins to unravel. It causes her to question, “Did he really committed suicide or had he found a new way to torment her?”.
Elizabeth Moss’s portrayal of an abused woman was gritty, yet empowering. From her beginnings as a frightened woman, whose only desire is to escape her abusive relationship, to the final confrontation where she is literally facing her greatest fear, an abusive ex bound on destroying her life if he can’t have her. The other characters were also good in the fact that they helped to push the narrative of what happens when a woman in that situation has her abuser in their ear. Through his quiet manipulation, they became the Invisible Man’s mouthpiece, saying to Kass “oh you’re just crazy”, “he’s dead he can’t hurt you anymore.”, or “ You need help.”. It was a masterclass in gaslighting, unlike anything I’ve seen before in film.
As great as the movie was there was one minor thing that got to me, after a while. At various parts of the movie, there’s almost a dead silence as Cecilia is staring into nothingness and I’m sitting there thinking “come on, do something or move on!”. Yeah, I get that they are trying to build some suspense in those moments, but they went a touch too long in those scenes. Again this is just a minor gripe for me and doesn’t really detract from the movie at all. Of course in usual Blumhouse fashion, there’s a twist at the end, but you’re just gonna have to check it out to see what happens.