Monday, April 20, 2020


Let me be clear - The Invisible Man is a solid movie. It’s a fun entertaining retelling of a horror classic that mixes elements of everything from Psycho & Hollow Man to The Predator & Lost Highway.

My kind of movie...

Psycho / The Invisible Man

Hollow Man /
The Invisible Man

Lost Highway/
The Invisible Man

Predator /
The Invisible Man

And I know everyone has made the Sleeping With The Enemy connection but it takes on a whole other meaning when you actually see the spot-on comparisons versus just saying a movie inspired another...
Sleeping With The Enemy /
The Invisible Man
Sleeping With The Enemy / The Invisible Man
Sleeping With The Enemy /
The Invisible Man
Sleeping With The Enemy /
The Invisible Man

Outside of the obvious (and maybe the not-so obvious) cinematic references, The Invisible Man is also a timely & topical story in terms of subject matter. Outside of the basic horror elements, this is also a movie about surviving domestic abuse. Throughout the film Moss is terrorized by her husband yet no one believes her which definitely does translate to real life. Men love calling women "crazy" or dismissing their claims for weak reasons and this movie highlights that. Yes, this movie wears its politics on its sleeve but I’m not really bothered by that. In my opinion it works overall. I was also really impressed with the editing & camera work and how it conveyed that someone was in a room even when they couldn't be seen.

What does bother me is some of the misguided hype & praise surrounding the movie. Not the actual movie itself. Often times the majority doesn’t stop to think about the thoughts & perspectives of other demographics and smaller groups of people outside of who a movie is geared towards (and I’m not saying it’s the job of the director or storyteller to consider every single person’s thoughts & feelings. But just know some folks are going to view & receive things differently than intended). It’s common knowledge that the default perspective of just about anything is White. That’s just how it is. I’m not breaking any new ground or saying something you didn’t already know. Sometimes the default setting is white even in places where they aren’t the majority. And often times the default is white men. In the case of The Invisible Man it’s white women. That's not to say others can’t enjoy this or relate to the deeper issues the film touches on (again - as I eluded to at the start of this piece, I did enjoy this). I just hope that when folks leave this movie they don't only associate white women with domestic abuse or make them the poster children when women of every race are affected by it.

I wasn’t even going to say anything about The Invisible Man but a few weeks ago a lot of (mostly white women) were misguidedly praising the movie by “thirsting” over Invisible Man co-star “Aldis Hodge” to the point where it was trending. This kind of opened up a can of worms in my (Black male) brain..

As I just stated seconds ago, I'm a Black male (with a white wife), so naturally stuff like this is going to catch my attention. These types of tweets set all of this off and got me to thinking - this kind of "thirsting" could have got Aldis Hodge killed if we were in a different era. Making Aldis Hodge the "ally" in the film felt a little cheap and safe to me (it kind of felt like a coded new age flip on the helpful “magical negro” trope which can be found in characters portrayed by everyone from Whoopi Goldberg to Morgan Freeman). I find it a bit problematic that the protagonist’s friend in the film is a person who looks like/represents a group of people that were lynched decades ago off of the strength of believing women in a movie that is partially a play on the phrase "believe women" (I'm aware the current movement of believe women is different from believing the false accusations of a woman decades ago in the deep south).
I just thought it was odd that people found the time to find this guy sexy & attractive in a movie that is far from either sexy or attractive (this is an issue that's much bigger than The Invisible Man). Without spoiling too much, The Invisible Man features scenes of various women (not just Moss) being beaten (and worse). Where do you find the time to think someone is sexy or hot in a movie like this? Naturally this could branch off in to a discussion or topic about the sometimes objectification that White woman have towards Black men and the dark history between them in America...

Emmett Till


And for folks thinking that the examples I am using are "dated" and/or old, less than two years ago we had a somewhat high profile case that echoed the aforementioned examples from the past...
I'm fully aware that headlines like this are exploitive but no matter how you cut it - the racial dynamic is there and people need to understand that pointing the finger at and/or calling the cops on Black people (Black males specifically) can be potentially dangerous and sometimes fatal (and they sometimes are).

As you can see the thoughts surrounding this movie open up a larger can of worms for a bigger discussion but I don't want to downplay or steal the spotlight from what the film is about which is abuse towards women. But as a socially conscious young-ish Black male, my take on the thirsting, reviews & thoughts surrounding The Invisible Man are slightly different from someone else's. And before you go any further I completely understand that the views & thoughts here are from the perspective of a man, so my opinions on the deeper issues in The Invisible Man are secondary to women who have actually experienced and/or survived domestic violence or have some kind of experience on the matter. I’m no men’s rights activist that likes to contradict women's rights. I think those guys are the worst (and a lot of men's rights activists have a direct connection to racist organizations & ideologies that no Black person should be remotely close to). And I have plenty experience of outsiders/other people trying to co-opt and/or ride the coattails of a Black civil rights movement or Black struggle for their own benefit. From people suddenly shouting “all lives matter” only after people started saying “black lives matter”, to every possible subgroup of people trying to claim reparations only after Black people started pushing for reparations. So the last thing I want to do is steer the conversation somewhere else.
But if we're going to have a deep conversation on the issues in this film and the sub-categories that spawn from it (which many critics are already doing), we should look at it from a broader lens (something I plan on doing on my own podcast very soon).

This “review” is essentially based off of the views & opinions I see on twitter, Facebook & Instagram. If you get caught up in the social media bubble (which I definitely do from time to time) you can start to think it’s a representation of what the rest of the world believes which just isn’t true. So I am aware that my own views & opinions on the praise & criticisms of The Invisible Man are based on a potentially small group of people.

And I don’t mean to get all Armond White/Brett Easton Ellis about my thoughts on The Invisible Women (who essentially felt Moss needed to "pretty up" and wear more make-up). There’s nothing worse than a mindless contrarian or someone that goes; “well, what about these people??!” when the focus is on someone/something else. And I know there isn’t a lot of nuance and/or middle ground left for potentially “spicy” conversations & opinions these days, but I think my views (which I plan to expand upon on my podcast soon) holds a little bit of weight.


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