The Invisible Man

The Invisible Man ★★★★½

A black comedy disguised as a horror movie, The Invisible Man remains a classic not just of any single genre but of genre filmmaking as an artform, effortlessly fusing various tones into a dense but quaint movie adventure. Whales reignites his favorite thematic throughline of egotists violating the ethics of science in an attempt to transcend the natural order for their own selfish visions of grandeur, this time with the invisible man, a perfectly realized character who is enemy to all but his most maniacal schemes and aspirations, including himself. Claude Rains's performance in the lead role is commanding in the character's very physical absence, almost as frightening when he is present as when he is not. Whales' control of atmosphere is stronger than ever, and he seems to cast doubts and fears with every dark shadow and patch of light alike; but more than ever the atmosphere is just the backdrop for what occurs within it, which is a really great time at the movies. Even 90 years later and at only 71 minutes long, this somehow feels like an event film.

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