Sunday, August 21, 2011

Movie with Abe: Griff the Invisible

Griff the Invisible
Directed by Leon Ford
Released August 19, 2011

It’s not hard to make a superhero movie when it finds its basis in a comic book, has a notable star attached, and has access to a budget of well over one hundred million dollars. While the film can still fall flat, as some certainly have, it’s hardly as much of a hurdle to get it made. It’s considerably more challenging, however, to craft a moving and exciting superhero piece with a measly budget of less than three million dollars and an Australian actor best known for a role in the ensemble of a television series. Yet “Griff the Invisible” succeeds with flying colors, offering a heartfelt, endearing portrait of a man living in his own world, determined to see justice served.

“Griff the Invisible” avoids the errors of this past April’s horrendous “Super” starring Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page by trading brutal, almost comical violence, for (slightly) more realistic combat that’s only used when absolutely necessary. Griff is a kind soul and isn’t keen on using force if it won’t accomplish anything, and doesn’t seek any kind of fame or glory for his good deeds. Fortunately, Griff also isn’t subject to any divine hallucinations, which greatly simplifies his delusions and makes them all the more enjoyable.

“Griff the Invisible” manages a fantastic balance between reality and the supernatural, thanks mostly to the presence of Maeve Dermody as Melody, the quirky girlfriend of Griff’s brother Tim. Upon her first appearance, Melody enlivens the film with her signature energy and spirit. She talks endlessly about how she loves to survey people about their favorite surveys, protest protests, and google the word google. Her imagination knows no bounds, and she’s exactly the right person to have around Griff. Dermody delivers a magnificent and captivating performance in a truly stellar part.

Inhabiting the lead role is Ryan Kwanten, most famous for his part as Jason Stackhouse on “True Blood.” Here, Kwanten abandons all Southern stupidity and dons his native Australian accent to play Griff, an entirely well-meaning, white-collar worker with an invented secret double life. Kwanten is a master at wearing doe eyes and looking shocked at nearly everything that comes his way, and he makes for one unconventional hero for whom it’s impossible not to root. The film has an indelible sense of itself, containing dialogue such as “Life is inevitable, just like gymnastics, perched in the middle on a balance beam.” The film boasts a strong soundtrack, and ends with a theme of “Take Me As I Am,” perfectly summarizing the film’s sensibility. “Griff the Invisible” is a unique, wonderful, and wholly worthwhile film.Link


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