This psychological thriller compellingly portrays the reality of toxic relationships and doesn’t let up from start to end.
Elizabeth Moss is Cecilia and from the first moment, as we see her painstakingly extricate herself from the home she shares with wealthy, controlling husband Adrian (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), we can see that she is a woman who has survived abuse. Seeking refuge with burly cop friend James (Aldis Hodge) and his daughter Sydney (Storm Reid), Cecilia knows that Adrian will find her and is only momentarily relieved when she is told he has committed suicide. No one believes her when she insists Adrian is still stalking her, even though she can’t see him.
We know by the title that Adrian has found a way to make himself invisible and it’s a chilling take on the persona of the Invisible Man created by HG Wells in 1897, shifting the focus of the story from the villain to his victims. Anyone who has experienced a narcissist sociopath at work will identify with Cecilias’s plight. All those around her can’t understand the lengths Adrian will go to to punish her, the latitude that a lack of empathy gives him to transcend what anyone else would believe is reasonable and the power that a wealthy white man might have.
It works also as a metaphor for any person in a violent relationship, where the abuse goes unseen by those around you. Australian director Leigh Whannell does a great job keeping us on the edge of our seats throughout – an invisible, evil antagonist is the perfect monster. I was surprised to find out that this was intended to be a part of the Dark Universe, non-family friendly spin-offs of the monsters from Universal Studios. It has no sense of being of that genre, instead grounded firmly in an oppressive reality, albeit with some sci-fi overtones.
The CGI is minimal and well handled. Moss is brilliant as usual, showing us the vulnerability and strength of her character. There are some twists and turns that are unexpected and, although it ends neatly, it seems real and is satisfying. There are a few plot holes and conveniences but I was happy to look past them.
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