Synopsis: An ‘invisible man’ terrorizes a woman.
In the middle of the night, a woman escapes her psycho tech bro boyfriend. Later we learn that he terrorized her and exerted control over her, but the details are too terrible for her to reveal. The horror; a regular tech bro boyfriend would be bad enough. Being subjected to mansplaining about “ideological diversity” and boasts about intermittent fasting would be enough to drive any woman away.
The woman in question is Cecelia. We later gather that she is an architect, but that her bf Adrian (future invisible man) had kept her isolated in his high tech modern fortress with a killer view of the Pacific. Just so you know, the actual San Francisco is too expensive to film in, so the movie was made in Australia. But there are lots of pretty B rolls shots of San Francisco.
Anyway… the movie poster shows us that Cecelia is very scared of the titular character, with a closeup of actress Elisabeth Moss looking like her character just got word that her bf is insisting they take another ice bath together. That is when tech bros get their best ideas.
I was convinced that Ms. Moss was up to the task of escaping her abusive bf because she has had a lot of practice in previous screen forays as a resourceful survivor in a man’s world. As Peggy in Mad Men, she had to contend with non-stop misogyny at a 1960’s ad agency while she tried to pivot from secretary to copywriter. As Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale, she must prevail against a fascist patriarchal theocracy where she is a forced surrogate. To add insult to injury, she is forced to change her name from June to Offred because her rapist “owner” is named Fred. Blech.
But running away doesn’t put a stop to Cecelia’s torment. Her sister secrets her away at a mutual friend’s house, James. He’s a super nice guy who happens to be a cop and a single father of a super nice teen daughter. Cecelia struggles to recover; she’s afraid that her ex will find her. Maybe he will rant to her about her disloyalty and how the homeless make parts of San Francisco such an eye sore.
Weird things begin to happen: appliances turn on, closed doors open on their own. Or do they? Cecelia feels that someone is watching her, maybe even present in the room. A ghost perhaps? No! Worse. An angry ex tech bro who is now an invisible man bro too. Everyone tells her she must be crazy. But we know she’s not. We also know that a tech bro who is an invisible man will do many bad things to his ex, like beating her when no one is around.
Elisabeth Moss really commits to her role as she bellows, twitches, screams, and bugs out her eyes. She is good at staggering around in a daze too. And crying. You will think: She can’t get anymore hysterical. She will. And you will root for her to get that bastard tech-invisible-man-bro.
At one point, awake in the middle of the night in her bedroom, scared out of her wits, she gets an idea to unmask the invisible man. She pours coffee grounds all around her and sits in the middle of the coffee circle, clutching a vegetable peeler to defend herself. She has been awake for like, seventy-two hours, so her eyes are ringed like a raccoon and, poor thing, the stress is really doing a number on her complexion and hair. Hoping to goad him into revealing himself by making footprints on the precious Arabica roast, Cecelia taunts him in a tremulous whisper: You’re no Jeff Bezos. Or even a Zuckerberg.
Movie Loon thinks she should’ve bought a super soaker and filled it with paint – there he is! Now get him with that vegetable peeler. Cecelia keeps trying to catch him while he sabotages her job search and hacks her email. She hatches a plan to elude the invisible man and sneak into his jillion-dollar fortress to look for clues that will help her defeat him. But she’ll have to go to elaborate lengths to elude him. Maybe she could wait until he goes to Burning Man to meet up with other bros.
Writer-director Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man is a suspenseful update of the original material, H.G. Wells’ book of the same name. Hollywood’s first crack at the story was in 1933, with further updates including the comedic Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951) and the mess that is The Hollow Man starring Kevin Bacon. But none of them include a formidable woman opponent to an invisible man run amok. Let this movie send a message: Toxic Tech Bro Culture Cancelled… Or at least the invisible man who stalked Elis. Moss’ Cecelia better watch out.