The Film Dump is just 1 day removed from being a year old as of the posting of this review and in that year I have reviewed my fair share of super hero themed movies. In fact later this week I’ll be reviewing the ultimate super hero movie, The Avengers. The last few years though have brought us an influx of post modern super hero movies. I’ve reviewed 3 that would fit into that category over the last year (Super, Defendor and Chronicle) so what’s one more before The Avengers shaped juggernaut comes rolling through? Click the link for my review of Griff The Invisible.
Griff The Invisible is one of those films that to describe too much would ruin elements of the films story. It’s premise is quite familiar though. It follows a man named Griff (Ryan Kwanten) who is a quiet officer worker by day and a super hero by night. He operates out of his small Sydney based apartment scanning the local streets for crime for him to make shut up. His brother Tim (Patrick Brammell) has moved to Sydney from Adelaide to help keep an eye on Griff who has apparently been struggling to get on with the normal day to day grind. Tim has recently started dating a girl named Melody (The quite pretty, and quite good, Maeve Dermody) who isn’t a normal girl. She believes that if she approaches a wall at just the right angle she’d be able to pass through it by moving between the molecules that make up it’s atomic structure. Not normal see. When she and Griff meet there’s, well not sparks because that doesn’t happen in indie movies, but they almost smile at each other and that constitutes instant attraction in these sorts of films.
Sounds like I’m belittling it a little there. Didn’t intend to but this is one of those indie films that has a lot of the elements that are getting a little too near the world of parody these days. Characters that mumble. Characters that don’t make eye contact. Characters with odd ideas. Handheld camera. It even has one of THOSE soundtracks. The thing is that whilst they’re all typical of so many similar films Griff The Invisible has enough charm to rise above those potential detractions.
The film does a lot of pondering on the mental state and personality of the sort of person who would dress up in a costume in order to fight crime. Those are themes that have been explored plenty of times recently, none better than Super though. What Griff does well is that it takes that and gives you tiny little hints that there may be more to it than what we see. To say more would ruin the film but suffice to say there’s an element of reality that is pondered over the course of the film in a way that neither Defendor or Super tackled. It’s a different take on the home made hero theme.
The film was shot on 16mm film, and whilst it shows, it never manages to look outdated as the film format can sometimes end up looking. There’s some clever shots that manage to give the film a little idiosyncratic edge that can raise a few smiles as it moves along. As it was shot on a low budget and quite quickly ($2.7 million AUD, which is about £7.50 I think, and over the course of 5 weeks) it can look a little restricted at times. Most of the film takes place in 5 locations with little others shown. Griff’s apartment becomes the centre for a lot of the films scenes of character interaction with drama just showing up on his door quite often.
Griff himself is an interesting character. He’s socially inept, although not mentally challenged like Woody Harrelson’s character in Defendor, and doesn’t exactly have life all figured out. He’s bullied at work which leads him to try to find ways to exact a level of justice/revenge on his bully. Griff’s development over the course of film isn’t a smooth one, he seems to gain and lose confidence every other scene, but Ryan Kwanten does a good job of keeping him relatable and interesting to watch. Maeve Dermody is the typical indie love interest here, being all shy and confused about life as she is, but she’s also very strong as an actress and manages to bring the drama as and when it is needed.
Griff The Invisible may not be a ground breaking film in the genre but it is enjoyable and fairly unique in it’s execution. Everything moves a long at a brisk pace and no welcomes are outstayed. It could have perhaps done with being a little more daring but on the budget and time director Leon Ford had to work with there was likely not the breathing room to do so. It may not stand out against a film like Super, but then again not many films can, but it’s a perfectly enjoyable film that could easily gain itself a decent level of cult interest if only because it’s about the only Australian super hero flick. At least that I am aware of.