The Invisible Man (2020)

Written by msbreviews on March 3, 2020

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As you should know by now, I avoid trailers at all costs, especially for highly anticipated movies. I'm careful enough already, but once I heard the massive complaints about the trailer for The Invisible Man, I made sure to not even listen to it, let alone see something from it. My expectations got higher as the release date approached, and the overwhelmingly positive reactions reached my attention, so obviously, I couldn't help but get excited. I love The Handmaid's Tale, and I always thought it was a matter of time until Elisabeth Moss brought her phenomenal acting skills to the big screen. She just needed a big film to do it...

And this is the one. Elisabeth's performance is yet another horror display for The Academy to ignore when the year comes to a close. In comparison to Hereditary's Toni Colette or Us' Lupita Nyong' o, I admit that I would give an Oscar to one of these two over Moss. However, this is one of the main issues I have when people compare things from different years: it's extremely unfair and a bit irrational. Something "great" in a specific year can be just "okay" in the next one. It depends on each year's quality regarding movies and their cast's performances.

If Moss truly ends up delivering the best interpretation of the year, she should receive recognition independently of other year's injustices. With that said, based on my experience, I firmly believe Elisabeth Moss should be one of the contenders for the respective category during the awards season. I'm not saying she should be nominated or not, I'm saying that she should be one to think of when it's time to fill the ballot with the nominees. She is relentlessly exceptional during the whole runtime. There isn't a single moment where she drops her level. Impressive!

Regarding the story, it's probably the best adaptation of The Invisible Man to the actual world that they could have done. Of all the meaningful and sensitive real-world themes, Leigh Whannell chose the very best to insert in his film. Domestic violence and abuse is a tremendously serious topic, and Whannell addresses it perfectly. It's a remarkably clever screenplay, with tons of tiny little details that relate in some shape or form to the real-life situations a lot of people (women AND men, let's not pretend this is an exclusively female problem) go through.

It's one of the best horror movies I've seen lately when it comes to creating a suspenseful, scary environment, mostly based on something that feels incredibly realistic. Taking the sci-fi aspect of, well, dealing with an invisible person, the menacing silence and haunting score work as well as they do because I'm able to feel the protagonist's fear. Stefan Duscio's cinematography is one of the main reasons why this film is filled with so much efficient suspense. The camera constantly pauses on one side of the room the character's in, lingering on for some seconds, creating a certain doubt if something's moving or if someone's there.

This point-of-view (POV) shot works exceptionally well for the whole movie. Being able to see what the main character is seeing, it's also possible to think what she's thinking and feel what she's feeling. That awkward, frustrating, unnerving, uneasy feeling that something's not right. Then, Whannell proves he knows his film's own weaknesses. When it starts to lose a bit of its entertainment value, and when the audience begins to get used to the long, suspenseful sequences (of which probably half, nothing happens), he hits the narrative with an unexpected, shocking turn of events in the most jaw-dropping way possible.

This particular decision got the blood heavily pumping again, and it delivered the energy I needed to be at the edge of my seat until the very end. However, the ending is a tad underwhelming, and maybe a bit over-the-top concerning some character's decisions. I can't really get into spoiler territory, so I'll just write I don't really think that the last scene is very coherent with everything the movie showed until that point. Even though I understand and respect this narrative decision, I don't believe its message is the one the film wanted to transmit. Good performances from the rest of the cast, a few character's decisions are a bit hard to believe, but I don't want to be nitpicky.

In the end, The Invisible Man deserves all the hype it's been getting. Leigh Whannell crafted a genuinely scary and extremely suspenseful horror movie, based on a traumatic real-life situation that a lot of people, unfortunately, go through. Elisabeth Moss delivers an emotionally powerful performance, demonstrating all of her impressive acting abilities which are probably going to be ignored when the awards season comes around (the usual horror genre bias). Incredibly well-written, intelligent screenplay, supported by some terrific camera work by Stefan Duscio. The haunting score from Benjamin Wallfisch is also a standout, especially when it chooses to be completely silent. I'm not a fan of the slightly incoherent ending since some character/narrative decisions seem hard to believe, and the final message didn't really have the meaning it should. Nevertheless, it's one of the best films of the year so far, so don't miss it!

Rating: A-