‘Hollow Man’

Released on video Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2001

Rated R     113 minutes     Columbia Tristar

Directed by Paul Verhoeven


Kevin Bacon

Elisabeth Shue

Josh Brolin

William Devane


Some bad language, partial nudity, sexual situations. Not appropriate for young children under the age of 15. Needs adult supervision and an adequate debrief afterwards.

[JAN. 3, 2001]  There is a direct link between being invisible and being naughty, and "Hollow Man" revisits that classic theme which is prevalent in every TV show, every book and every movie in which the characters are unseen.

Dr. Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) is the lead scientist in a military project which has already succeeded in making lab animals invisible. The military’s aim, of course, is to put invisible soldiers and spies on the battlefield. In the opening scenes of the movie, the team, headed by Caine, is searching for the cure for invisibility, in order to return once-invisible soldiers to a state of visibility when their mission is finished.


Aided by his ex-girlfriend (Elisabeth Shue), Caine discovers the correct formula to return a gorilla to visibility. Delusions of godhood dance in his head as Caine plots to try the invisibility formula on himself, and then the real story begins.

The special effects in this movie are in short, amazing. Visions of Caine covered in water, mist and blood are striking. The images of Caine vanishing and partly reappearing — along with the similar re-materialization of an invisible gorilla — absolutely dazzle. Other movies about invisibility include corny scenes where invisibility is portrayed in some lame way or invisibility is used in some cute prank. Not this film: "Hollow Man" is serious, right out of the box.


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Interestingly, this is another Verhoeven film about the rise of technology. His messages seem to imply that mankind is powerless or unable to assume a comfortable place in the face of changing times and power beyond imagination.

The plot of this story exploits this classic theme well but panders to sexual deviancy. There is nothing uplifting about this film, and in the end it left me cold.

Director Paul Verhoeven ("Robocop," "Starship Troopers") is at his best in this movie. Actors Bacon and Shue are dynamic (Bacon dynamically evil, Shue dynamically heroic). The set, the animations and the story work together beautifully.

The best line from the movie: "It's amazing what you can do when you don't have to look at yourself in the mirror." Even with witty lines and excellent acting, you won’t see this movie for its intelligence. See it for the special effects.

The notion to do good deeds while invisible never seems to be a theme in invisible-man movies. What does that say about us? Think about it.

I give this movie a rating of 3˝ stars out of 5.




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