Hollow Man (2000)- Paul Verhoeven

Rape and murder are the results of another invisible man experiment, and my next stop in DK Canada’s Monsters in the Movies book by director John Landis. The film features a fairly solid and recognizable cast led by Kevin Bacon and Elizabeth Shue. Joining them are Josh Brolin, Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg, Joey Slotnick and Mary Randle.

The special effects are (for the time)  pretty great, as we watch the work of the selfish, driven, and obsessed work of the egotistical Sebastian Crane (Bacon). Working on a government project he and his team have perfected a technique that can render someone invisible.

Lying to the oversight committee about his success, Crane is determined to be the first human trial. But when the cure fails to bring him back, he descends into madness, and perversion and when he realizes that Linda (Shue) and Matthew (Brolin) are not only working with him on the project but have a romantic relationship together, his anger grows.

When the team learns he’s been sneaking out of the lab at night, and has committed acts of violence, they realize it’s time to put a stop to things. But if Crane kills them all and destroys the lab, there will be no one who knows about him…

The effects are great, and occasionally subtle which lends a reality to the film, but there is a sticking point for me storywise that bothers me and hangs over my enjoyment of the film…

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Crane, while invisible, sneaks into his neighbor’s (Rhona Mitra) apartment, and rapes her. Then that is the last we see of her, she’s simply there to show how violent and out of control he is. She doesn’t get any resolution or justice. She’s simply a prop for the film… and that bothers me a lot.

Yes, there are some pretty cool things happening in this film, the most significant being the effects of the injection spreading through the body as we see veins of blood, layers of muscle, skeletal structure… it looks awesome.

But knowing Crane is a violent rapist (he even assaults Dickens’ character, the lab veterinarian Sarah). hangs over everything, and even the climax of the film doesn’t leave one comfortable with what has happened.

Verhoeven has always depicted sexual and violent material in his films, and this one is no different, but that one sequence was a step too far I think.

Bacon, Shue and Brolin make a good team, and it’s always fun to see Grunberg. The effects are great, but not everything works in the film. But that’s ok, as we leave the invisible man section of the mad scientist chapter behind.

I can’t wait to see what comes next from DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies, pick up one today and find something macabre to watch tonight!

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