After years of experimentation, Dr. Sebastian Caine has successfully transformed mammals to an invisible state and brought them back to their original physical form. Caine instructs his team to move on to phase III: human experimentation; and Dr. Caine decides to use himself as the first subject.
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Truffaut said: "There are no good and bad movies, only good and bad directors". Paul Verhoeven, always the iconoclast, has admitted that HOLLOW MAN is the only film he didn't feel a "personal connection" to. Whoa, must be a complicated confession (it was a $100million bomb). Well—I'm here to tell you that, despite its many problems, HOLLOW MAN is the kind of trashy, kinetic film that only Verhoeven could make.
After a rewatch I feel this is Verhoeven's most underrated film (it calls for an appreciation à la Showgirls). This is B styled sci-fi with Verhoeven's characteristic violence and social commentary. An exploration of the impact of technology on the individual, voyeurism and human identity. As Sebastian loses his physical presence he is also detached from any kind of social obligations, and the horror is unleashed.
Despite being a big fan of Verhoeven's Hollywood work, "Hollow Man" left me cold. As ever, Verhoeven has a gift for filming stylized violence but the screenplay for "Hollow Man" is both populated by unlikeable characters and limited in scope, taking place as it does in a bland underground lab. The film maintains a cruel streak for objectifying women and harming animals, leaving me in need of a cold shower by the end.
Falls short of greatness due to the lazy ending. Really does fall apart to pieces. Lame. Still, Verhoeven's weakest film is still mostly pretty good and the effects hold up well. I wish the film was shown from Bacon's perspective more. The scenes with an invisible Bacon out in the city are incredibly disturbing. Now imagine if the whole film was mostly just that. Could have been the creepiest film ever made
It ultimately devolves into a horror chase vehicle, but everything we love and expect from Verhoeven is here: the ethics of the body, its plasticity and vulnerability, and an inquisitive and playful exploration of space.