When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I remember a film that was often shown on BBC One late at night. Because of my age I was gobsmacked by a man which appeared invisible, clothes seemingly running around without a body in them, a head without a body etc. Over the years that followed I found out this film was titled `Memoirs Of An Invisible Man'.
'Memoirs' centres on lax stock analyst Nick Halloway (Chevy Chase) who has become invisible as the result of being the sole person left inside a nuclear laboratory during a freak accident. Nick, even though was a smooth-talker and a generally likable character didn't really properly connect with his friends nor would he if he could. He also has no family meaning he has quite literally vanished, almost without a trace. Now, crooked CIA Agent David Jenkins (Sam Neill) is the only person who knows of Nick's current state of transparency and is trying to track him down to work as a spy and the only person Nick can turn to for help is Alice (Daryl Hannah) with whom Nick is romantically involved. Nick guides us through the story by telling his tale in narrator fashion. Hence `memoirs'.
I re-watched the film recently, years after I had first seen or even heard anything about it and I was pleased to discover that it was just as I remember. It has retained its quirky style, odd bits of humour and surprisingly the illusions of invisibility. For a special-effects heavy film that is coming up to two decades old and to remain almost entirely unfazed by time is a great achievement. Nowadays everything is full to the brim with overdone and overused CGI, it really takes out the magic of special-effects. My case being when I was watching `Memoirs' recently, I was wondering `how the hell did they do this stuff back in 1992?' E.g. the painted face sequence or when Nick is in the rain or even the simple stuff when Nick is smoking and we see the smoke form the shape of lungs. This sort of novelty effects seen older films possess a physicality which I don't think CGI could ever replicate, or hasn't managed yet at least.
As far as acting and narrative goes, it's a good affair. Obviously we're not talking stand-out performances from the cast and the story is a fairly simple one (taken from a book I believe) but it doesn't detract from the quality of the film. Chase shows diversity in a more serious role and conveys the sense of loneliness in quite a believable way and being Chevy Chase he also has the natural comedy tactility to provide the odd laugh. Hannah and Neil play the love interest role and main antagonist respectively to satisfaction. People often criticize the film for it not knowing whether to be a comedy or a thriller which I can understand. However, I believe the film isn't necessarily serious enough to get that confused over, it's not junk food for the brain, it's just a very entertaining film so it should simply be taken as it is. Surprisingly the film was directed by none other than horror/thriller maestro John Carpenter (The Thing, Halloween, Assault On Precinct 13) and remains one of his lesser known films. Like Chase in the acting role, this film may have been a change of pace for Carpenter as director in a more light-hearted film but it worked and remains good viewing complete with cheesy one-liners. "It's not what it is sir, [pause] it's what it `isn't'".
Overall, this is a thoroughly enjoyable film that gives me nostalgic feelings as it reminds me of my childhood so I may enjoy the film slightly more than others. It's not genre-defining it's just entertainment that is also a visual treat. It's sad that it isn't at least remembered as a cult favourite because it deserves it.
Finally, the DVD comes with a few extras - deleted scenes and a short special effects feature but nothing major, it could definitely do with a better release but I doubt it would happen. Also, it seems to be quite a rare film, it took me a while to get the DVD relatively cheap. If you're looking for the film and see it for sale in the £10 range then BUY IT! I've seen it sell for up to £40! 4.5 out of 5 Stars.