Retro Review: Hollow Man

Has Hollywood explored the “invisible man” enough or is there a new hidden depth in the theory?

Hollow Man’s” story brings us deep into the mind of a frustrated scientist Sebastian Caine and his abused team who are on the verge of uncovering the secrets of invisibility. Caine is ego driven and often drives his co-workers insane by his stunts. Caine oversteps his bounds when he decides to turn his experiments on himself and become the world’s first man to step into the invisible world.

Hollow Man” is directed by Paul Verhoeven who brought us “Total Recall“, “Starship Troopers” and “Basic Instinct“. In a lot of Verhoeven films there is always an exploration into the world of eroticism from a twisted angle. Some of those twisted angles include the co-ed showers in “Troopers”, the three breasted woman in “Recall” and the heavy lesbianism in “Instinct”. All of them push the envelope and were all controversial. In “Hollow Man” this tradition continues.

Another tradition associated with Verhoeven is his amazing special effects. “Hollow Man” does pave a new road for invisibility and the effects here are truly amazing. The idea of watching a man disappear a vein at a time was breathtaking.

See-thru Bacon… just like his performance!

I liked the questions “Hollow Man” asks but under its shiny special effects surface we have a pretty mind numbing B monster movie without a beast. Some films that achieved monster movie status and were enjoyable include “Leviathan“, “The Relic“, “Predator” and “Watchers” but “Hollow Man” for me really never broke free of its B-movie script.

The creature unleashed in the lab always seems to have its final battle within the walls of that same lab. Why is that? And as for Bacon being a creature well his portrayal is believable about half the time. The more and more he loses his humanity the more the film sinks into creature feature mode. I wish the film would have dealt more with the subject matter on a human level.

My biggest disappointment is that this film doesn’t really explain or answer the question I asked Kevin Bacon last week, “Why do all invisible men eventually go insane?” Caine is insane from start to finish in this film. “Hollow Man” to put it plainly is quite hollow.

3 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer.

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