Hollow Man

Hollow Man

***

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Kevin Bacon does not look like a scientist. He's too neat and never seems to grow old. Perhaps he's not of this world.

He plays Sebastian, the boss of a Pentagon-funded lab project, that operates from a secret bunker deep in the bowels of a government building, where invisibility tests on animals are being carried out. They have cracked the first stage, making the creatures disappear. What they can't do yet is bring them back.

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Late one night, working from home, Sebastian discovers the formula. Next day they try it out on Isabelle, an invisible gorilla, and with difficulty and much pain, she returns. The next stage is human. His colleagues remind him that they should not contemplate such a step without informing the high-ups.

"You can't make history by following rules," Sebastian says. "You do it by seizing the moment."

He does just that, tells the board members that they are not quite ready and persuades his team, which includes ex-girlfriend, Linda (Elisabeth Shue), to make him invisible.

As usual with big budget sci-fi movies, what is missing are characters that live and breathe. Neither the scriptwriter (Andrew W Marlowe), nor the actors can be blamed. The problem lies with the effects, which are too good.

What has been achieved by Scott Anderson and his FX crew is truly eye-boggling. As a freak magic show, Hollow Man is out there on its own.

The thriller element is pretty silly, as the not-there Sebastian goes off his rocker, accompanied by huge music. Shue is little more than roomfill until the end when she comes into her own.

With Dutch director, Paul Verhoeven, a sexual subtext is never far away. What Sebastian likes best about being invisible ("It's amazing what you can do when you don't have to look at yourself in the mirror") is sneaking up on girls after their shower.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Hollow Man packshot
Modern take on the Invisible Man sees Kevin Bacon do a disappearing act.
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Read more Hollow Man reviews:

Keith Hennessey Brown ***
Symon Parsons **

Director: Paul Verhoeven

Writer: Andrew W Marlowe

Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Kevin Bacon, Josh Brolin, Kim Dickens, Greg Grunberg, Joey Slotnick, Mary Randle, William Devane, Rhona Mitra, Pablo Espinosa, Margot Rose

Year: 2000

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

Festivals:

EIFF 2000

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