Movie Reviews

Griff the Invisible: Believe the Impossible (SIFF)

By Wang DexianMovies - 14 September 2011 11:02 AM | Updated 11:17 AM

Griff the Invisible: Believe the Impossible (SIFF)

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The Stars: Ryan Kwanten, Maeve Dermody, Marshall Napier

The Buzz: Griff had its world premiere at the 2010 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival as well as this year's Berlin International Film Festival. It was well received at both of them with reports of audiences being enamoured with film, in particular teenage viewers.

The Story: Our protagonist is Griff, a socially awkward office employee who gets jerked around quite a bit. By night, he is Griff the Invisible, protector of his neighbourhood. Or is he? When he meets Melody, his brother’s girlfriend, things take an ever sharper turn for the impossible. thinks:Griff the Invisible seems to be yet another indie film about superheroes that have cropped up in recent times—similar to Super or Kick-Ass, other films about ordinary men taking up mantles to fight crime on the streets. Call it Superhero-lite if you must. However, Griff is unique in that it isn't primarily about crime fighting or justice. The film uses the superhero as a metaphor. Like most costumed heroes, there's always a debate about which is the real person. Is it the costumed vigilante? Or is it the civilian disguise? The film uses this to expound on issues like alienation, existentialism and the idea of soul mates.

Griff The Invisible

Ryan Kwanten in Griff The Invisible

Leading man Ryan Kwanten (known as Jason Stackhouse on HBO's True Blood) gives Griff a sense of vulnerability and excitability, seemingly able to switch from weak and timid to a playful scheming boy. He really brings a charm to the movie, you'll think he's crazy but still, you support him and you'll want to see what kooky idea he comes up with next. His other half is Maeve Dermody's Melody, a clumsy, slightly neurotic science geek who's dating Tim, Griff's brother. It's obvious that Melody shares a lot more in common with Griff than with Tim, and we can all guess what happens next. Let's just say it happens in a really unconventional way. They reside in their own fantasies but we're also shown how realities eventually catch up to them both. We're invited into their everyday lives and we start to care for their quirky characters.

The story's fantastical and science-techno-geek leanings lend itself to an incredible visual and audio experience. Simple shots with simple effects look extremely good and make you believe the illusion that Griff is a superhero. The soundtrack is a rather hip affair, with electro-pop tunes complementing the film in a great way, with its appeal entrenched in the same young alternative crowd the movie seems geared for.

Although the film and cast have lots of charm, we couldn't help but feel the movie was somewhat lost during the middle. The pace lagged and it got a little muddled in the middle of the second act, with the character seemingly headed in no direction. It’s a pity as some of viewers might have gotten the impression that the film is trying to be a little too eccentric for its own good. We certainly got a tinge of that, but we’ll let it slide due to the great performances from the cast. It's obvious that something is clicking here and it's shown by the chemistry between the two leads which is quite remarkable. In a summer of movies filled with sequels and known properties, it was refreshing to see such a pleasant surprise. 

Catch Griff The Invisible on September 16, 7pm at Lido 1. As part of the 24th Singapore International Film Festival.