Hollow Man: Director's Cut Paul Verhoeven

Hollow Man: Director's Cut Paul Verhoeven
Hollow Man is a triumph of technology that isn’t itself a triumph. A scientist with a God complex (Kevin Bacon) is certainly an interesting jumping-off point, and the gimmick - that his experiments with invisibility give him free range for his murderous antisocial urges - has potential as well. But made on the downswing of director Paul Verhoeven’s post-Showgirls career, it incorporates his familiar themes of corruption and cynicism without exploring them. Where his best films are effervescent in their exposure of and revelling in base human behaviour, he seems on autopilot here, plopping unpleasant dialogue and hedonistic nastiness down without much glee or personal interest. Elizabeth Shue does what she can with her role as Bacon’s colleague, ex-girfriend and moral counterpoint, but she’s left standing without solid material. And while the film has been praised for its barrage of impressive special effects - including various internal organs coming in and out of visibility with absurd complexity - they’re feats of engineering that aren’t integrated into a larger sense of design. The professionalism and budget make this a decent enough time killer, and there’s more nasty juice here than in the average mealy-mouthed Hollywood movie. But it leaves you unmoved and unscandalised despite its director’s unsavoury reputation and despite its inclusion of nine more minutes of jaundiced footage. Still, FX fans won’t want to miss the extensive special features, which include a 15-part making-of doc that goes soup to nuts in detailing the tortuous process of digitally-imaging invisible men. There’s more here than most special features give you, probably because there are more facets to the production; each segment is fascinating in its own right. Also included are three raw-footage-to-full-effects scene comparisons and a shallow promotional featurette. (Columbia)