Griff, a 20-something social misfit, claims a haven from a wider world, where he’s a nerd. “Griff the Invisible,” an Australian film, directed by Leon Ford, is a story of 20-something and left over teen angst burst to life, on-screen.
When most people don’t get or appreciate you, it makes for a small life. You might question your sanity or at least stability. You’re often isolated, and bullied.
The last time you felt like a misfit, how’d you try to fix that? Did you reach out, strain yourself to become social, more sociable? In 1986′s “Lucas,” the title character tried, but that fell flat. In 1953′s “From Here to Eternity” after his girl wonders if he takes her seriously, Pvt. Pruitt tells her, “No. No one lies about being lonely.”
But you try to fix the misfitness, quash it. Did you reach into your imagination, into a comic book-like mental tool kit?
The movies’ opening title: Oscar Wilde “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth,” lays out how we’re to take reality.
Griff (Ryan Kwanten) takes this to heart. What if you were a hero with super powers, which made you special, interesting to others (if they knew) and provided a sense of self and power that you don’t have in real life? Would you take that? Griff did at least according to his imagination’s eye. As real as the John Nash’s delusions in 2001′s “A Beautiful Mind.”
This highly stylized film opens at the Lagoon Cinema on September 9th.
Griff has a banal job with a banal company, where he’s bullied and misunderstood, as he was throughout school. He finds an outlet in acting out like a small town Batman, after work, wearing a costume. Small ones; he wants to help vulnerable women. He sees himself as a hero, but only neighborhood-bound – within a few bus stops from his apartment!
Soon we’re introduced to Griff’s brother, Tim (Patrick Brammall), who feels responsible to Griff as his one sympathetic anchor to “normalcy.” Tim visits Griff with his introverted girlfriend, Melody (Maeve Dermody), in tow. Soon it’s clear that she clicks with Griff, while not with his brother. They exchange glances while big brother is oblivious.
What! The introvert might just get the girl? Each starts to bump into the other, and trying to avoid Tim, and inevitably awkward questions. After a while Melody tells Griff: “I live in a bubble that no one gets in! Griff. You get into my bubble.”
Then we have a dramatic wrinkle: we see that Griff’s powers, his alternative world, is closed to the known world; it’s solely a figment of his imagination. The super suit we see is seen through his mind’s eyes only. And then doubly powered by his and Melody’s. That’s an interesting crack in the fourth wall of movie “reality” and imagination! Comic book movies, such as “Spiderman” or any of the “Batman” or “X-Men” franchises and others omit the possibility of those questions.
Griff contrasts a reality of social isolation with one of a comic book reality and Griff’s need for release.
Late in the movie harsh reality seems to intrude. Melody joins Griff as his back up on a mission to save the mayor, with Tim in tow. Here Tim insists on talking reality with her. Breaking down the pieces of their “mission” and “special equipment.” She tells Tim: “He’s a freak. He’d never fit in at dinner with my family. But so am I!” A crisis: Griff overhears this, but only until the signal was dropped.
He wants her. He’ll change! But then there’s a grand, tragic irony: after he has decided to grow-up, has thrown away all his hero crap and tried normalcy, Melody turns cold. I would have loved you forever.” Separated by his apartment door, they both cry over an opportunity gone.
“Griff the Invisible” is brief, fun, smart and semi-innovative.