DVD Review - Griff the Invisible

The past decade has been dominated with big budget films adapted from comic books depicting super heroes and crime fighters. Because of the monstrous success of the recent Batman movies by Christopher Nolan, a series of low budget films have emerged that have either mimicked or parodied the Batman movies or even films such as Spider-Man.

Typically, it's been a regular person putting on a costume and patrolling the streets often as a vigilante. We look at a character like Bruce Wayne and we generally don't question his state of mind. Yes, he has demons, but he's rational and always in control of his faculties. Wayne can compartmentalize and create a public persona that's charming and relatable.

Writer-director Leon Ford's character of Griff is quite possibly the opposite of Bruce Wayne. Griff, played by Australian actor Ryan Kwanten (True Blood), does dress up in a costume, made of leather, and runs around the streets at night like he's Batman. Yet, when he's not a crusader, he's not the charming and relatable public persona.

Griff is shy and introverted. He doesn't necessarily have demons, but he does have an almost insidious sense of righteousness. We are given no other reason than to believe that this sense comes from a kind of arrested development that has left an innocent and naive view of justice in his head that is stubbornly fixed. Yet, unlike Wayne, we do begin to question Griff's state of mind. We question if he's rational and always in control of his faculties.

Things change for Griff when his brother, Tim, played by Patrick Brammall, introduces Griff to Melody, played by Maeve Dermody. Melody starts out as Tim's girlfriend, but, an instant attraction forms between her and Griff. Griff, being the eternal good guy, refuses to pursue her. Therefore, it's Melody who has to do the pursuing.

Ford makes good fun of this conceit. Griff's shyness contrasts comedically with Melody's forward quirkiness, and Melody is quirky. At first, we're led to believe she's clumsy, but eventually we learn of her eccentric ideas. Not knowing how lucrative a job it is, she's an experimentalist. She conducts surveys about surveys and she protests protests just to get reactions from people.

She's definitely trying to get a reaction out of Griff. It's awkward because he's unsure about sharing his world with anyone. For the most part, he literally wants to be invisible. Nothing signifies that more than a chameleon-shot that Ford utilizes, which blends Griff perfectly into the background using nothing but a yellow jacket and a blue hat.

The ending of this movie is clearly dividing critics. What ends up happening, and this is spoiler alert, but what ends up happening is a folie à deux situation or A Beautiful Mind type of scenario. It may have many scratching their heads, but I was swept up by the magical spirit of it all. Even with its limited locations, Ford's direction is imaginative. Dermody is simply wondrous and Kwanten, along with Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman, is more proof that they certainly know how to grow actors in Australia.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for some language and violence.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 33 mins.


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