GRIFF THE INVISIBLE Review

     August 19, 2011

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No matter how strange you may think your interests are, there are likely other like-minded people out there. Griff The Invisible explores this notion in one of the quirkiest ways possible, focusing on how we can perceive our own world differently until we are snapped back to reality. Although the film might be called a superhero film by some, it really defies that description. Griff, played by Ryan Kwanten, may run around in spandex here and there, but this film is really about his personal journey and not his crime-fighting at night. Griff has to come to grips with the world when he is confronted with Melody, an equally odd spirit that doesn’t mind standing out against the mundane. As their lives mix, it is up to them to lean on each other for support against a world that only wants them to conform. For the rest of my review, hit the jump.

Griff (Kwanten) fights crime at night by monitoring his neighborhood for criminal activity from his high-tech equipment at his apartment. However, during the day he is a weak-willed and bullied desk-job employee. His brother Tim (Patrick Brammall) wants him to break away from his quirks, and even quite crime-fighting all together. When Griff meets Melody (Maeve Dermody), a woman trying to figure out her place in life, both of their lives are irreversible changed and they set off on a path of self-discovery that leads them in an exciting direction.

Writer/director Leon Ford has quirk in spades, apparently. The film is infused with it and for some that might be extremely off-putting. Thankfully, the chemistry between the leads works well enough on screen that it isn’t hard to wade through the mountains of quirk surrounding it. There is also a distinctive flair to the movie that comes from the Australian-centric cast and crew. That flair never becomes quite British, but it is somewhere close. The plot itself may seem redundant halfway through, rehashing specific scenes to make a statement, but everything is done in such a goodhearted way it is hard to deny its charms. Also lending help is a toe-tapping score that helps move the film along.

One of the best tricks that Ford utilizes in Griff The Invisible is the tweaking of our own perceptions. We feel nothing is wrong with Griff until we are told otherwise. There are a handful of key moments that kept changing what I thought. Maybe I’m a sucker at times. Maybe I wanted certain things to actually work out for Griff, but Ford kept pulling the rug out from under me. Another great moment is the friendship between Griff and Melody, two outcasts from society. Dermody and Kwanten find a sweet innocence in their chemistry that fits the film perfectly and helps explore different themes.

Finding someone to get along with, flaws and all, is no small feat and the film treats the situation with respect and humor. Griff The Invisible is also unafraid to tweak the superhero conventions. What makes someone want to take off into the night and fight crime? Many of us have day jobs and moonlight in some other fashion. In the end, it’s an escape, and for Griff, it is a way of releasing his pent up heroics and finally feeling confident. Of course, superhero flicks wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without the costume, and Griff goes through many different stages of his own. He also finds himself in some hilariously awkward moments where his suits sometimes don’t pan out, and it is pulled off with that quirky charm that Ford utilizes throughout.

Unfortunately, the film has a tendency to wear out its welcome at times. Retreading plot points already played out 30 minutes before doesn’t help, and the film needs an arc that actually goes somewhere. Things change for Melody and Griff, sure, but it never feels significant enough to satisfy the buildup. The film just plods along at times and is saved by the fact that it is thankfully short at 93 minutes. Yet, with all of the flaws and quirks, Griff The Invisible is a delightful little film that may speak directly to a select audience. For the rest of us, we can relish in the quiet chemistry of two people that get each other, even if their social awkwardness keeps them at a distance.

Score: B-

Ryan Kwanten Griff the Invisible poster

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