Movie Review

Hollow Man

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language, and some sexuality/nudity

Reviewed by: Brett Willis
STAFF WRITER

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Thriller
Length:
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Relevant Issues
Kevin Bacon is invisible in “Hollow Man” Is there a way to overcome excessive lust for sex? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

How can I tell if I’m getting addicted to pornography or sex? Answer

Are we living in a moral Stone Age? Answer

Featuring: Elisabeth Shue, Kim Dickens, Kevin Bacon, Greg Grunberg, Josh Brolin
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Producer: Douglas Wick, Alan Marshall
Distributor: Columbia Tristar

A major test of a person’s inner makeup is: What would you do if no one could see you do it? The title character in this film, based loosely on H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, fails that test and meets a fate similar to that of the character in the original novel. The film title may be more a reference to his nature than to his invisibility.

Dr. Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon), a brilliant, but arrogant and self-centered scientist, heads up a research team pursuing the secrets of invisibility. As the film opens, we see (graphically, as a rat is eaten by an invisible lab animal) that they’ve already perfected an invisibility serum; what they still need is a stable antidote. After Caine—in a flash of genius—has apparently found one, he hides that fact from the military researchers funding the project because he wants more time to do research his own way. He also lies to his team, telling them that they’ve been given clearance to do human testing, and volunteers himself for the test. The rest is standard formula Sci-Fi; and with modern Computer-Generated graphics plus direction by Paul Verhoeven, it won’t be pretty.

Elisabeth Shue and Kevin Bacon in “Hollow Man”

Content warnings

The profanity and sexual language are extreme. There’s a reference to God being displeased with the team’s research, which would probably be correct although they’re joking when they say it. After Caine becomes invisible and the antidote fails, he begins to act erratically (that is, more erratic than he did before). He’d previously been fascinated by a woman in the apartment across from his, who’d begin to undress and then pull her blinds at the last moment. Once he’s invisible and witnesses this same spectacle, he argues with himself: “Don’t even think about it.” “Who’s gonna know?” After sneaking into her apartment, he doesn’t just watch—he assaults her. Using his invisibility, he commits other sexual assaults as well as several murders. And of course there’s the crowning mark of a movie villain: cruelty to animals. Caine explains: “It’s amazing what you can do when you don’t have to look at yourself in the mirror anymore.” There’s partial female nudity in some of the assaults. Caine and his CG double are sometimes shown frontal nude (including when he’s only partially visible, or is seen through infrared goggles). The last section of the film is scary and filled with graphic violence. Although the subject matter is completely different, it manages to borrow heavily from “Aliens”, with Caine’s former girlfriend Linda McKay (Elisabeth Shue) taking the part of Ripley.

We can’t tell how much of Caine’s behavior is something he always would have done if he’d thought he could get away with it, and how much is a side-effect of the serum. But based on his actions and inappropriate comments earlier in the film, it seems that he was always an accident waiting to happen. Bacon combines in this role the renegade scientist character from “Flatliners” and the on-edge criminal as seen in “The River Wild” and in some of his more recent films.

There are perhaps three pluses to this film. One is the amazing show of CG animation: as the invisibility serum or its antidote are injected, we see the test subjects disappear or reappear one blood vessel and one layer of tissue at a time; there are also the various ways in which Caine’s invisibility can be compromised, such as motion trackers, infrared goggles, leaving footprints, or being coated with water (or blood). The second is the point that someone like Caine is not a good role model, and the kind of research he’s doing is dangerous (as if we needed to be told that). The third is that the more films Bacon makes, the easier it is to play the “Three Steps Removed from Kevin Bacon” game. My primary reason for seeing it was the animation graphics as shown in the previews. Was that a good reason? Looking back, I’d say it wasn’t good enough. I didn’t really need to see an invisible hand unbuttoning a woman’s blouse, and neither does anyone else.

The answer to Caine’s rhetorical question “Who’s gonna know?” is of course that he would know and God would know. What we do today affects what we are tomorrow. And in the last judgment, God will be able to replay anything from our lives—even our thoughts. Jesus (Matt. 5:28) said that when a man lusts after a woman, he’s already committed adultery in his heart. Caine should have kept his own blinds shut; and those thinking of seeing this film need to ask what it might do to their own hearts.


Viewer Comments
“Hollow Man” is about a perverted invisible genius who goes crazy when they can’t bring him back to visible again. Violence, sex, nudity, and profanity is very much a part of this movie… This movie is filled with so much “trash” that it is just annoying after a while. There are several scenes of more-than-brief nudity, and several scenes of sex are shown (while no nudity is shown at this point). Profanity is just too much, and is just plain distracting from the plot. The plot is entirely predictable. The special effects is the only fulfilling part of this movie, although there is nothing extraordinary to see. They’re “cool” to say the best of them, and little is shown beyond the preview trailers. This is not a movie to see. I can personally say that the “special effects” are nothing more than the previews. The profanity is very distracting, the nudity disturbing, and the perverted nature of the movie is just plain horrible. My Ratings: [1/2½]
—Doug Stuart, age 19
This movie was really a waste of my money. What’s even worse was seeing all the gratuituous nude scenes and hearing all the profanities and sexual references made by most of the characters. I lost count of the times women’s breasts were exposed in a rather vulgar way. Please, don’t waste your time and money on this flick. There’s nothing positive in it, and you might regret wasting 2 hours of your life watching this poor excuse for a movie. My Ratings: [1½/3]
—Veronica Narvaez, age 25
My mother always told me to try and find the good in everything… This movie has good special effects. Ok. I started counting profanity from the first few minutes of the film… OVER 50 counts of needless obscene words. Of which 15 or so took our Lord’s name in vain. And if that wasn’t enough, the blatent showing of nudity pushed it over the top. Nudity is shown from the first few minutes of the film throughout… among which are a rape scene (not shown in its’ entirety, but implied), another “rape” dream sequence… ugh, it appeared that the movie was short in length, so the added unneeded sex scenes to add length to film, and not depth to the story… Why did I stay… well, to see how it ended… I should’ve left, the ending was horrible, as was the entire movie. Stay away from this film, it’s poorly scripted / shot / acted… [0/½]
—Heath Crumbacker, age 29
This movie was hollow, man! I really enjoyed the last 30 minutes, but that was about it. I could have walked in late and seen the better, more intense and dramatic part then. I don’t recommend this one because it was just “trashy.” It almost rates up there with “American Pie.” And that’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back! My Ratings: [1/2½]
—Doug S, age 19
Don’t waste your money on this movie! The plot is much like the title, hollow. What the movie lacks in plot, it attempts to make up for with sexual subplots, been there, done that special effects and excess gore. The movie has no unique twists or positive elements. The profanity in the film also makes it one of the worst films I have seen in a long time. If you want to see a good invisible man movie, try “Memoirs of an Invisible Man.” If you want a really good invisible man story, read the classic novel “The Invisible Man” by H.G. Wells. My Ratings: [1/2]
—Michael Rhudy, age 22
This movie was really disappointing. There was a lot of bad language and several scenes that contained nudity. The special effects were the only interesting thing about this movie, and they were not enough to make me overlook the bad script and poor acting. Don’t go see it. My Ratings: [2/2]
—Leslie, age 25
My wife and I went to see this and were shocked at the number of instances of nudity, mostly of women’s breasts and vulgar comments about intercourse. It was so offensive, we had to leave the movie. The concept for the movie started out to be intriguing, but turned into basically a smut film as it progressed. Strongly urge Christians to not see the movie. My Ratings: [1/2]
—Eric and Jennifer, age 34
Comments from young people
I am a 17 year old male and this movie, that Hollywood made for me and my species of over-active, hormone-driven teenagers, was horrible. I am a movie-aholic and there have only been a few movies in my entire life that I actually don’t like. There is a new film to add to that list. I hardly ever go to a movie depending on its rating, because that really doesn’t mean anything anymore (thank you “Titanic”) and if there is something that I shouldn’t watch I will hide my eyes. Through “Hollow Man,” however, my eyes had to be hidden most of the film and when they weren’t, my ears should have been. This film was offensive in every aspect from nudity (excessive nudity, I might add) to language to a bad story line (which, if you noticed, closely resembles “Deep Blue Sea”—yep, the shark movie… think about it). DO NOT GO SEE THIS MOVIE IF YOU ARE A GOD FEARING CHRISTIAN! My Ratings: [1/1]
—Brandon Young, age 17
I must say, I was excited to see this movie. …the action was pretty poor, for such cool technology. It was worse than a B horror movie. Heck, it was worse than a C horror movie… I have 3 major complaints about “Hollow Man.” 1. Writing: About as bad as it comes. Whoever wrote it went with the “If I can’t explain it, I’ll use big, hi-tech, science words that no one will understand. Or swearing.” plan. No character was developed much, not even Kevin Bacon. Oh yeah, thanks a bunch for the droll dialogue, too. 2. The Acting—Let’s just say this. Worse than the writing. 3. Directing—Paul Verhoeven, who also directed those two great family films, [You know, “Showgirls” and “Starship Troopers.” ] is at the helm again here. Can this guy make a movie without naked women [And men]? I don’t think he can. There was no reason whatsoever for ANY of the nudity. I don’t need to see a girl’s [breasts] while she brushes her hair.… The nudity only proves that Paul Verhoeven is a pervert, too. And while I didn’t notice 50 uses of the F word, it doesn’t really matter. Please don’t waste your time with this piece of junk. My Ratings: [1/1½]
—Jason Eaken, age 16
Movie Critics
…Gratuitous nudity, sexual content, frequent vulgar language and gory violence …
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…Profanity extreme due to nearly 50 uses of the “f” word…
—ScreenIt!
…a low-rent imitation of “Alien,” claustrophobic and oddly static in spite of all the running around…
—Dr. Frank Swietek, One Guys Opinion
…The concept of Paul Verhoeven directing a sick little flick about an invisible man gone mentally and morally wacko was way more intriguiging and interesting than the final product…
—Trent Haaga, Tapehead