The Invisible Man (MA) - 124 minutes
Leigh Whannell has breathed fresh, contemporary air into a century-old story and distinguished himself in the process.
I am delighted to be able to say he has crafted a highly creative new Australian movie (it was shot here), set in America, using an ostensibly Australian cast (admittedly with overseas leads).
The Invisible Man was first a book by HG Wells, published in 1897. It was subsequently (1933) turned into a film starring Claude Rains and Gloria Stuart.
Both the book and the movie focused on a scientist who loses control.
Whannell’s film also concerns a man who has invented a cloak of invisibility, but the concentration is squarely on a woman in an abusive relationship who can’t escape his reach even when she escapes from him.
Trapped in a violent, controlling union with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale) has plotted for some time to leave him.
She chooses to do so in the middle of the night, aided by her sister (Harriet Dyer), who has no idea what has been going on.
Kass seeks refuge with a childhood friend James (Aldis Hodge – Straight Outta Compton) and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid).
Still jittery as heck, Kass is reluctant to leave James’ home to even collect the mail.
Then comes the news that her abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) has died and left her a fortune.
She breathes easily for a moment, but quickly comes to realise that nothing is what it purports to be.
Suddenly more than one life is on the line.
No question the story is fanciful and pushes believability, but it is also highly engaging and entertaining, with thrills aplenty.
We keep waiting for something to happen ... and when it does, something more ... and then still more.
Indeed, when incident occur the film often surprises and sometimes shocks.
Moss is excellent in the lead role – her expressions and demeanour consistent with a woman who is traumatised and terrorised.
The score by Benjamin Wallfisch is exceptional – adding much fear and anticipation to a rich screenplay.
The cinematography by Stefan Duscio (Judy & Punch) is another feature, with the camera often capturing blank space where The Invisible Man may be lurking.
The movie is the mark of a director – Leigh Whannell – who is familiar with the horror medium and is well and truly in control – more than that ... at the top of his game.
Rated MA, The Invisible Man scores an 8 out of 10.