Review Date: July 31, 2000
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writer: Andrew M. Marlowe, Gary Scott Thompson
Producers: Douglas Wick
Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Cane
Elisabeth Shue as Linda Foster
Josh Brolin as Matt Kensington
A cocky scientist who just came up with a way to return his invisible subjects back to world of visibility, decides to take a shot at the realm of invisibility himself. Once deleted from everyone visual perception, the man quickly realizes that his newfound indiscernibility has given way to a greater freedom to do whatever the heck he wants to do. Needless to say, he wants to do some really nasty things!
The awesome special effects in this film are what allow it to rise above your average thriller and graduate into a creepier and thoroughly more convincing psychological spectacle. And believe you me, if the remarkable effects of Kevin Bacon's character turning invisible and/or returning to visibility don't impress you in this film, dare I say that you simply cannot be impressed. Add that to the great performance put forth by Bacon himself, who is slowly coming into his own as one solid actor, the cool voyeuristic theme throughout and the all-out bloody fun of the last half hour, and I turn my thumb up to another great Verhoeven popcorn adventure. But don't get me wrong, this is not a fluff piece by any stretch of visibility. In fact, the film probably spends more time developing the psychological profile of Bacon's character and dealing with the day-to-day scientific mumbo-jumbo of his transformation (which could definitely have been trimmed by about 15 minutes or so), then allowing Bacon's invisible man to go hog-wild with his newfound powers. But with the effects ruling the screen during the film's first hour, it wasn't difficult to sit through some of the more unhurried material (read: the buildup of the film is a little slow and claustrophobic, but I didn't mind so much since the effects were just way cool and the development of the main character, engaging).
The one thing that did run through my mind a couple of times during the film's "introduction phase", was how things might have been cooler if only there were more scenes "on the outside". You see, most of the film takes place underground, in their laboratories, and despite most of it being entertaining, I was admittedly more aroused when the invisible man took his see-throughness and a stroll through everyday life. But maybe that could wait for part two: HOLLOW MAN HITS MANHATTAN! But quips aside, the film's finale is jolting, with much blood flowing as per Verhoeven's usual style, thrills-a-plenty and the continued astonishing work in special imagery. Bacon burning to a crisp, Bacon engaged underwater, Bacon barely visible in smoke, all very well presented. And despite a little bit of disappointment in the lack of insight into the "invisible rape" scene (MPAA perhaps?), I am glad to report that Verhoeven does slap enough T&A in the film to complete the voyeuristic voyage. Oh, one thing I will say is that the opening "rat" scene is just very, very cool and a nice way to start things off. This film has great effects, Bacon in top form, psychological backbone, an interesting story, and plenty of blood and thrills to satisfy the masses.
(c) 2015 Berge Garabedian