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Hollywood Spotlight - Reviews [Hollow Man]
ORIGINAL FULL FILM REVIEW
Release Date: 1/2/2001
Run Time: 113 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Kim Dickens , Kevin Bacon , Greg Grunberg and Josh Brolin
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Produced by: Douglas Wick and Alan Marshall
Written by: Andrew Marlowe
Movie Summary: [Thriller]
At a top secret military lab, a group of brilliant young scientists have just unlocked the secret of invisibility. The team's arrogant leader, Sebastian Caine, ingores the risks and decides to test the dangerous procedure on himself- only to discover his fellow scientists are unable to reverse the effect. Working around the clock, Caine's colleagues struggle to devise an antidote. But Sebastian's intoxication with his new-found power is growing, and he's come to believe his colleagues may be a threat to his very existence.
Widescreen (anamorphic), DD 5.1and DD 2.0, CC, Region 1
Audio Commentary by Director Paul Verhoeven, Kevin Bacon and Andrew Marlowe / Composer Jerry Goldsmith Audio Commentary with Isolated Music Score / HBO Making-of Special: "Anatomy of a Thriller" / Fleshing out the Hollow Man: 15 Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes / Three Deleted Scenes / X Picture in Picture Comparisons / Weblinks to www.sony.com/movies/hollowman and www.cthv.com / Talent Files / Theatrical trailers: "Hollow Man" Teaser, "Hollow Man" Trailer, "A Few Good Men" and "Starship Troopers"
hough the terms imply a different physical existence, there is an obscure similarity between invisibility and hollowness. One would indicate a complete lack of tangible mass while the other would suggest a material body that encompasses an empty expanse. Where then does Hollow Man fit into these parameters? Within this movie, the concept of this special ability of invisibility is delivered with a scientific basis for possibility and the notion of being hollow is merely a side-note amongst the fluff within this film’s script to provide a greater level of creepiness. In theme with the line of events that may occur when a superhero abuses his or her powers, Hollow Man uncovers the evil potential one might have if they were blessed (if not - cursed) with the aptitude to just… disappear.
Kevin Bacon stars in this boxoffice contender that delivers state-of-the-art visual effects above and beyond any film like it before. Paul Vorhoeven’s Hollow Man plays with the idea of a crew of scientists brought together by the United States government with one mission in mind. Develop a means for creating controllable physical visibility such that a human being can be moved from one physical plane to another affecting our interpretation of their actual existence. In other words, without saying so - it’s likely the U.S. military would like to develop the means for creating an entire army of invisible soldiers that can be conveniently brought in and out of this state of actuality therefore giving our country a severe upper hand during military conflict. Sebastian Caine [Kevin Bacon], an eccentric and egocentric genius, leads a core group of scientists as they close in on the key to invisibility or as they might term it - a shift in the subject’s quantum structure. This sort of human advance would seem destined for tragedy and in this case, the concept of invisibility goes to the head of Caine who takes it upon himself to bypass the pentagon’s approval and test their invisibility drug on a human subject. Caine, thinking more of becoming history than making safe history, decides he would make a perfect guinea pig for the next step in their project. It is after Caine’s turn to the world of invisibility and his inability to return to the physical living that a common side effect of the drug that the team wisely seemed to be wary of up until their tests on humans (where did the wisdom go?) begins to take effect on Caine. His mind begins slipping and evil in the hands of a genius creates bad, bad things.
Paul Verhoeven [RoboCop] is known for the congestion of graphic violence he seeps into his films, but while this film isn’t as bad as what you’ll find in his translation of Starship Troopers, within minutes of the close of the opening credits, Verhoeven’s tastes make themselves clear. I recall briefly leaning over to my girlfriend after seeing his name in the directorial credits and saying, “This might be a bit violent sometimes,” only to be cut-off by the sight of a rat being torn in two by the fangs of some unseen beast. Ah, a taste of things to come. Otherwise, his film here reeks of his typical style interlacing the script with human competitive nature and inner personal conflict. Verhoeven does take a large part of his budget here and apply it the technical cast member - visual effects. And I’d have to admit that the visual effects here are quite stunning. The effects crew involved with this production has painstakingly created imagery of what it might be like to see an invisible presence affect the physical world around us - including such materials as water, vapors, blankets, blood, fire, and latex. Very cool stuff.
Jerry Goldsmith sets the mood with another excellent piece of music that menacingly winds itself through the dreary canals of the research laboratories with a veteran’s touch. The surround sound presentation was average and quite typical of a suspense thriller and no particular scene stuck out as being audibly exceptional.
I’d like to think that Kevin Bacon [Footloose, Tremors, My Dog Skip] is an under appreciated actor as I believe he’s capable of a lot of range with his skills when he commits himself. The script here allows him to portray a character with overemphasized egotistical constitution - someone who, given the necessary influence, would walk right over the edge. The surrounding cast, including Elisabeth Shue [Leaving Las Vegas, The Saint], fill their roles adequately, but the depth of each is limited. There will be no tears if and when a character might speak their last line.
The film is a real treat to watch in terms of the onscreen effects, the rest of the film is average at best as the script tends to fall apart in places towards the latter half. The concept of invisibility is approached and utilized in a manner that is original enough to provide a generally good movie-going experience. The real entertainment will arrive with the release of this title to DVD. It contains all the little details that make up a good experience in the home theater.