Hollow Man

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For other uses, see The Hollow Man (disambiguation).
Hollow Man
Poster Hollow Man.jpg
Film poster for Hollow Man
Directed by Paul Verhoeven
Produced by Douglas Wick
Alan Marshall
Stacy Lumbrezer (co-producer)
Marion Rosenberg (executive producer)
Screenplay by Andrew W. Marlowe
Story by Gary Scott Thompson
Andrew W. Marlowe
Starring Elisabeth Shue
Kevin Bacon
Josh Brolin
Kim Dickens
Greg Grunberg
Joey Slotnick
Mary Randle
William Devane
Music by Jerry Goldsmith
Cinematography Jost Vacano
Edited by Mark Goldblatt
Ron Vignone (extended version)
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s)
  • August 4, 2000 (2000-08-04)
Running time 119 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $95 million
Box office $190,213,455[1]

Hollow Man is a 2000 American science fiction-thriller-horror film directed by Paul Verhoeven and starring Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue, and Josh Brolin. The film is about a scientist who renders himself invisible, a story inspired by H. G. Wells' novel The Invisible Man. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects in 2001, but lost to Gladiator. A direct-to-video sequel called Hollow Man 2 starring Christian Slater and Peter Facinelli was released in 2006.

The film is Verhoeven's most recent American production to date. In 2013, Verhoeven remarked to The Hollywood Reporter: "I decided after Hollow Man, this is a movie, the first movie that I made that I thought I should not have made. It made money and this and that, but it really is not me anymore. I think many other people could have done that. I don't think many people could have made RoboCop that way, or either Starship Troopers. But Hollow Man, I thought there might have been 20 directors in Hollywood who could have done that. I felt depressed with myself after 2002."[2] It partly contributed in his return to his home country, where he made Black Book in 2006, which was considered a return to form.[3]

Plot[edit]

Scientist Sebastian Caine (Kevin Bacon) has developed a serum that can make a subject invisible. His team of scientists, which includes ex-girlfriend Dr. Linda McKay (Elisabeth Shue) and Dr. Matt Kensington (Josh Brolin), eventually enable the serum to work on a gorilla and restore it to visibility. Sebastian becomes obsessed with Linda while unbeknownst to him, she has become involved with Matt.

Instead of reporting his success to the military, Sebastian lies to the oversight committee which includes his mentor Dr. Howard Kramer (William Devane), convincing his team to go right into human testing. The procedure is successfully performed on Sebastian, but three days later, the reversion fails.

Sebastian is quarantined in the laboratory due to his condition and the researchers construct a latex mask for him to wear around the lab. Unable to cope with the isolation, he heads to his apartment to bring some things back to the lab. There, he spies on his neighbor (Rhona Mitra) and rapes her while fully invisible.

Linda warns him that if he leaves again, she and Matt will tell the committee about the experiment. Ignoring their threat, Sebastian assembles a device that runs a video loop of his heat signature in his quarters. He leaves the lab again and spies on Linda and Matt, becoming enraged when he sees them having sex.

The team soon discover that they have been watching a recording and that Sebastian has been escaping without their knowledge. Linda and Matt go to Dr. Kramer's house and confess their experiments. After they leave, Kramer attempts to warn the military, but Sebastian, who followed Linda and Matt to the house, cuts off Kramer's phone connection before drowning him in his own swimming pool.

The next day, Sebastian waits until all of the team is in the lab and then disables the phones and all of the elevator codes except for his own. He removes his clothing and latex mask and, invisible, begins to hunt them all down.

Linda and the others hide in the lab while Matt and another technician take tranquilizer guns to hunt for Sebastian using thermal imaging goggles. While on top of a pipe, Sebastian throws the technician toward a steel bar, which hits his carotid artery. Matt tries to shoot Sebastian, but is instead almost killed by Sebastian until Linda drags him to safety.

One of the researchers heads to the freezer to get blood for a transfusion but is killed by Sebastian. He then attacks the others with a crowbar and locks Linda and Matt in the freezer, leaving them to freeze to death.

Linda constructs an electromagnet using a defibrillator and uses it to open the freezer door. She then gathers parts to assemble a flamethrower. Sebastian goes to the lab and creates nitroglycerin and puts it in a centrifuge with a timer to destroy the facility.

Just as he enters the elevator to leave, Linda appears and fires the flamethrower at him. Sebastian barely manages to escape the flames and the two fight. Just as she is about to lose, Matt appears and hits Sebastian with the crowbar. Sebastian recovers and approaches Matt and Linda from behind with the crowbar, but Matt deflects the blow, throwing Sebastian into a nearby circuit box, apparently electrocuting him.

Linda and Matt find the nitroglycerin about to explode, and decide to climb up the elevator shaft to escape. The two are almost out when an injured and partially visible Sebastian appears. He fights with Linda before she grabs the elevator cable and knocks the car loose, sending Sebastian falling to his death. Linda and Matt emerge from the burning laboratory, and medics take them away in an ambulance.

Cast[edit]

Sebastian with latex mask

Production[edit]

Following the multi-layered and controversial Starship Troopers (1997), Verhoeven wanted to tone down the levels of sex and violence in his next film, aiming to make a more "conventionally commercial blockbuster".[4] Approximately $50 million of the film's $95 million budget was reserved for visual effects work,[4] which was primarily worked on by Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI)[5] and Tippett Studio.[6] Of the 560 visual effects shots in the film, approximately two-thirds were worked on by SPI and the remaining third by Tippett Studio.[5] Verhoeven also storyboarded most of the film, as he had done with all of his American films after experiencing trouble coordinating the action of Flesh+Blood (1985).[4] He maintains that over 90% of the film is how he storyboarded it,[5] as it was expensive (costing up to $300,000) if he decided to change a camera movement.[5]

The film was shot in chronological order, partially due to the fact that the laboratory set would be physically blown up near the end of the story, a sequence that was captured by 14 cameras at various different angles.[5] Principal photography began on April 16, 1999.[7] Six weeks into filming, Elisabeth Shue tore her Achilles tendon, which shut down production on June 25 for over seven weeks.[8] At one point, producers considered replacing her;[9] however, shooting resumed on August 18, 1999 and ran until February 4, 2000.[7]

Hollow Man was one of very few films allowed to shoot directly in front of The Pentagon building, with Verhoeven expressing surprise that the script was approved after being read because of the themes of the United States Government commissioning scientific experiments into making living beings invisible.[5] Many of the location scenes were shot in and around Washington, D.C., with a restaurant set also being constructed in a building overlooking the U.S. Capitol.[5] The laboratory scenes were shot at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California; the elevator shaft used in the film's climax was built onto the side of the studio's parking garage.[5]

A thermal imaging camera was employed for scenes showing "invisible" animals (most notably Isabelle the gorilla) or Sebastian following his transformation and the unsuccessful attempt to restore him back to visibility; the same technique was used for characters when they look through thermal goggles.[5] As Isabelle was played in part by a man in a gorilla suit, crew members had to stand by and warm the suit with hair dryers in order for the thermal camera to accurately emulate an actual gorilla's warmth.[5]

Despite initial assumptions that Kevin Bacon would not be needed on set except when his character Sebastian is actually visible, Verhoeven and the crew realized after test footage was shot that he would need to be present to interact with the cast, as "the other actors were stranded in empty space, and the scenes looked stiff, inorganic and unconvincing" without his presence.[4] Guy Pearce and Edward Norton were also considered for the role of Sebastian before Bacon was chosen, in part for his "ability to be both charming and diabolical".[10]

To achieve the effects of Sebastian being invisible, Bacon was digitally removed from the footage, and each scene was shot twice: once with the actors and once without for the background to be able seen through Sebastian's body.[4] The crew utilized a motion-control camera to ensure the same movements were achieved and the shots were then composited in post-production.[4] For scenes where Sebastian was outlined in smoke, water and blood, Bacon wore a latex body suit, face mask, contact lenses and a dental plate all of one color; green was used for blood, blue for smoke, and black for water.[4] Visual effects supervisor Craig Hayes then replaced Bacon with a digital clone to form an outline of his performance.[4] To make the clone appear more like Bacon, information about "every aspect" of his body was recorded, and the entirety of his body, including his genitals, were scanned into a computer.[4]

"In Hollow Man we really tried to link the special effect shots with the actors as much as possible. That's why we were constantly sliding, panning and moving the camera, so the audience would feel that the actor was in the special effect shot or that the special effect shot was tied to the actor. We wanted coherence between the special effects and the actors so people would accept the effects as part of the actor's scene rather than as a special effect."
— Paul Verhoeven on the film's effects.[11]

Inspired after his daughter bought him books on the subject of écorchés at La Specola in Florence, Verhoeven enlisted special effects supervisor Scott Anderson to create a three-dimensional digital model of the inside of Bacon's body to create the "transformation scene" where Sebastian becomes invisible.[4] New volume-rendering software was required just to replicate the inside of Bacon's body.[4] The scene depicts Sebastian disappearing in stages; first, his skin, followed by his muscles, organs (including his lungs and heart) and finally, his skeleton.[4] Bacon detailed the complications of his role in a diary he kept while filming, and believed the "sense of isolation, anger and suffering" he felt while wearing the mask and body suit helped his performance.[10]

The scene of an invisible Sebastian raping a woman in a neighbouring apartment was shot in two versions, with the second showing her screaming as she is raped. However, the first was used when preview audiences reacted with disdain, deeming it "painful" and feeling it alienated them from Sebastian too early.[10][11] Although excising certain shots from the version he called "stronger[,] harsher and at the same time more relevant [for Sebastian Caine]", Verhoeven did not actually intend to show the rape itself, claiming "a woman being raped by an invisible man would look silly and that's the last thing we'd want to do. [...] It wouldn't express in any way the severity of the violence happening at that moment."[10] Regardless, it was Verhoeven's first film he did not have to recut and resubmit to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in order to achieve an R rating.[4]

Themes[edit]

Professor of film and literature at California Polytechnic State University Douglas Keesey wrote in his illustrated book on the life and films of Verhoeven that the camera often adopts Sebastian's point of view, "tempting us to become voyeurs along with him, to get off on our ability to see without being seen".[10] Elisabeth Shue categorized the film as a "story of the dark, seductive nature of evil", and also pointed out its voyeuristic qualities.[8] Verhoeven commented: "Hollow Man leads you by the hand and takes you with Sebastian into teasing behaviour, naughty behaviour and then really bad and ultimately evil behaviour. At what point do you abandon him? I'm thinking when he rapes the woman would probably be the moment that people decide, 'This is not exactly my type of hero', though I must say a lot of viewers follow him further than you would expect."[10]

Soundtrack[edit]

Hollow Man (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Jerry Goldsmith
Released July 25, 2000
Recorded Abbey Road Studios, London[12]
Genre Orchestral film score
Length 51:22
Label Varèse Sarabande
Producer Jerry Goldsmith, Paul Verhoeven
Jerry Goldsmith soundtrack chronology
The 13th Warrior
(1999)
Hollow Man
(2000)
Along Came a Spider
(2001)

The soundtrack for Hollow Man was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, his third collaboration with Verhoeven after Total Recall (1990) and Basic Instinct (1992). Varèse Sarabande released it on CD on July 25, 2000.[13]

Filmtracks.com found there to be two distinct motifs: the "transitional motif" of "bass thumping and [an] array of prickling electronic effects that slowly increase their pace and volume as the scenes [of invisibility] progress", heard in "Isabelle Comes Back" and "This Is Science"; and the "rambling piano and bass-element ostinato heard for the violent chasing" in both "The Elevator" and "The Big Climb".[14] The site pointed out "the pulsating piano, woodwind, and electronic rhythm from [Basic Instinct] underneath a meandering, disembodied theme for high strings not much unlike [The Haunting]", and judged that the "action bursts, especially with the drum pad and synthesizer combos" were akin to Goldsmith's use of those elements in Total Recall.[14] Overall, the site felt the score was "over the top", calling it "pieced together from other Goldsmith scores" and derivative while citing the first and second tracks as highlights.[14]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Hollow Man" – 2:59
  2. "Isabelle Comes Back" – 6:03
  3. "Linda & Sebastian" – 2:58
  4. "This Is Science" – 6:19
  5. "Not Right" – 2:42
  6. "What Went Wrong?" – 1:44
  7. "Broken Window" – 3:00
  8. "False Image" – 1:59
  9. "Hi Boss" – 2:50
  10. "Find Him" – 4:40
  11. "Bloody Floor" – 10:02
  12. "The Elevator" – 3:00
  13. "The Big Climb" – 3:06

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

The film received negative reviews. As of 2013, Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 27% based on 113 reviews. The site's consensus states: "Despite awesome special effects, Hollow Man falls short of other films directed by Paul Verhoeven. This flick over time degenerates into a typical horror film."[15] At Metacritic, the film maintains a score of 24 out of 100 from 35 reviews.[16] Most critics praised the visual effects employed on making Kevin Bacon invisible, which earned the film a nomination at the 2001 Academy Awards. Some critics criticized the plot and acting, with some claiming it contains hallmarks of slasher films[17] and misogynistic undertones.[18]

Roger Ebert gave the film 2 stars out of 4, and complained that Verhoeven wasted potential by taking an invisible man and doing nothing more than having him go berserk. Ebert praised the special effects, calling them "intriguing" and "astonishing" but felt that the film is merely a slasher film with a science gimmick.[17]

A fake review attributed to David Manning was revealed in late 2001 as a hoax, created by Sony to fake publicity for the film.[19]

Box office[edit]

Despite a poor response from critics, the film debuted at #1 with $26.4 million in its opening weekend. After 15 weeks of release, Hollow Man had grossed in excess of $73 million in North America and just over $117 million elsewhere, making a total of $190 million worldwide and doubling its $95 million production budget.[1] It was Verhoeven's biggest hit since Basic Instinct (1992).[4]

Home media[edit]

Hollow Man was released on DVD and VHS in North America by Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment on January 2, 2001. It was released with its widescreen theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and included various special features, including two audio commentaries—one with Verhoeven, writer Andrew W. Marlowe and Kevin Bacon, and another with composer Jerry Goldsmith and the isolated score of the film; the HBO making-of featurette "Hollow Man: Anatomy of a Thriller"; 15 mini-featurettes on the making of the film, several detailing storyboards of progress shots with commentary; three deleted scenes with commentary by Verhoeven; visual effects picture-in-picture comparisons of the raw footage with the final scene; cast and crew biographies; a teaser and a theatrical trailer.[20] In the years that followed, both a deluxe Superbit edition was made, as well as a director's cut of the film, which restored nearly seven minutes of footage—primarily extended cuts of existing scenes including Linda and Matthew in bed, the rape scene, Sebastian killing the dog and the aftermath of Sarah being suspicious of Sebastian.[21]

The only available version of the film on Blu-ray is the director's cut, which was released on October 16, 2007 with a 1080p resolution.[22] Although lacking any commentaries, it restores most other special features.[22] A two-disc DVD double pack including the sequel Hollow Man 2 was also released in 2007.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hollow Man (2000) - Box Office Mojo, Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 August 2012.
  2. ^ Zakarin, Jordan (April 23, 2013). "Tribeca: Paul Verhoeven on 'Tricked' and Hollywood - Hollywood Reporter". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ Lambie, Ryan (April 24, 2013). "Paul Verhoeven on remakes, RoboCop and crowdsourced movies". Den of Geek. Retrieved April 10, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Keesey, Douglas (2005). Paul Verhoeven. pp. 166–169. ISBN 3-8228-3101-8. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Verhoeven, Paul, Marlowe, Andrew and Bacon, Kevin. Audio commentary. Hollow Man DVD. Sony Pictures, 2001.
  6. ^ "Hollow Man | Tippett Studio". Tippett Studio. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Hollow Man (2000) - Misc Notes - TCM.com". Turner Entertainment. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Hobson, Louis B. (August 8, 2000). "CANOE -- JAM! Movies - Artists - Shue, Elisabeth : Wrong-footed Shue". Jam!. Canoe.ca. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Elisabeth Shue Injured | Movie News". Empire. Bauer Media Group. June 16, 1999. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f Keesey, Douglas (2005). Paul Verhoeven. pp. 170–171. ISBN 3-8228-3101-8. 
  11. ^ a b Kleinman, Geoffrey. "Paul Verhoeven - Hollow Man". DVD Talk. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Jerry Goldsmith - Hollow Man (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (CD, Album) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Hollow Man - Jerry Goldsmith". AllMusic. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c "Filmtracks: Hollow Man (Jerry Goldsmith)". Filmtracks.com. August 3, 2000. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  15. ^ Hollow Man. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster.
  16. ^ "Hollow Man Reviews - Metacritic". CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Roger Ebert (August 4, 2000). "Hollow Man". Archived from the original on 2013-06-02. 
  18. ^ Marsh, Calum (May 24, 2013). "Flesh & Blood: On Showgirls, Hollow Man, and Paul Verhoeven’s Legacy | Hazlitt". Random House Canada. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Sony admits using fake reviewer". BBC News. June 4, 2001. Archived from the original on 2003-07-27. 
  20. ^ "Rewind @ www.dvdcompare.net - Hollow Man (2000)". The Rewind Network. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Hollow Man (Comparison: Theatrical Version - Director's Cut)". Movie-Censorship.com. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  22. ^ a b "Hollow Man Blu-ray: Director's Cut". Blu-ray.com. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 

External links[edit]