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Griff the Invisible - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
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Griff the Invisible
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Directing: B+
Acting: B+
Writing: B+
Cinematography: B
Editing: B



There's been a rash of "clever-twist-on-superheroes" movies as of late, and it became tired a year or two ago. But there are two things that helps Griff the Invisible rise above them. First, it has a good firm foot in reality -- no ridiculous Kick-Ass-like shootouts involving preteen girls here. Second, and perhaps more importantly, this is an Australian film, giving it a decidedly non-American sensibility. And it never hurts to see the world through someone else's eyes.

And Griff is someone else, all right. He's something else -- convinced his calling is to fight crime and defend justice on the streets of his city. By day, he works in a cubicle where a coworker bullies him constantly; by night, he changes into a tight rubber suit with a yellow G on the chest, prowling the streets for crimes to stop or prevent.

Much of the story goes by without quite making it clear how real Griff's experiences are. He hears baking powder is a key ingredient for making invisible ink, then uses it to mix with stomped oranges in his bathtub and then make an invisibility suit. He puts it on, and we see what he sees: he becomes invisible. Then he goes to his office to sneak around and set boobie traps for his bullying coworker.

I spent much of the movie hoping that Griff would prove to have some real powers -- and perhaps that’s partly the point. It does seem as though he might. The same goes for Melody, Griff's brother's girlfriend who immediately takes to Griff as soon as they meet. Melody has her own metaphysical issues: she's convinced that if she can just crack the code, she can figure out how to walk through walls. Naturally this makes the pair perfectly matched, although it takes them some time to realize it.

Ryan Kwanten, in real life a native of Sydney, Australia, practically disappears in the role of Griff, a guy so socially awkward and withdrawn that he couldn't be any more different from Jason Stackhouse of True Blood, the role for which he is easily best known. (Here is blond hair is even turned dark brown.) Maeve Dermody, as Melody, is an Australian actress completely unknown to the U.S. but perfectly matched with Kwanten, effortlessly managing her own mousy awkwardness that belies her clear beauty.

Griff's brother, Tim (Patrick Brammall), has moved back from Adelaide to be closer to Griff but is increasingly exasperated by Griff's apparent delusions. He is almost pointedly normal except when it comes to Melody, whose own awkwardness makes him rather awkward as well. The way these relationships develop -- with Melody dating Tim and then falling for Griff -- takes an unusual route, which lends to the film's intrigue and unpredictability.

In the end, Griff the Invisible seems to be about a struggle between being a stickler for reality and surrendering yourself to imagination -- or, at least, finding a healthy balance between the two. It's a worthy theme, and writer-director Leon Ford executes it well, particularly for a debut feature film. What he offers here is less a snarky commentary on the trappings of the superhero genre than it is an observation of the nature of delusion and how it affects relationships. It has its comical moments, but is at its core a love story with its own special kind of magic. Sometimes the magic doesn't quite work, but most of the time, thanks to its unique perspective, it's lovely.

Ryan Kwanten is a deluded 'Griff the Invisible'.


Overall: B+
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