December 11, 2011

Blu-ray Review: Griff the Invisible

What a quirky little movie. It is a movie that seems to be born completely out of quirk. Without quirk there would be no movie. Granted, there is not anything explicitly wrong with quirk, the question is how much quirk is too much quirk? Fortunately, this movie does not take it overboard. With that said, it probably could have used a more even distribution of its total quirk amount, as it seems to have bunched up in a few areas throughout, leaving some parts a little on the dull side. The movie is called Griff the Invisible and brings together two quirky individuals in the name of potential love. I will now attempt to avoid the use of "quirk."

Griff the Invisible joins the burgeoning sub-genre of the superhero film that is not a parody of the genre but a look at the idea of regular people wearing the costume and fighting evil when they aren't working their day jobs. It joins such movies as Kick Ass, Defendor, and Super and combines it with quirky character movies such as Eagle vs. Shark and Napoleon Dynamite. I even detect touches of Observe and Report, but without the medication.

Griff (True Blood's Ryan Kwanten) is an office worker by day and costumed hero by night. When he is at the office, he is quiet, unassuming, seemingly lacking in social skills, and the target of office jerk Tony (Toby Schmitz). Once the work day ends, he spends his free time using a bunch of high tech gear to monitor the neighborhood. When danger is spotted, Griff leaps into action and appears on the streets in a rubber suit. He sees himself something of a cross between Batman and Spider-Man, taking a great deal of responsibility upon himself for what he is doing.

The other half of the equation is Melody (Maeve Dermody). She is a socially awkward girl who is obsessed with the space between atoms and the possibility of walking through walls. When we meet her, she is dating Tim, Griff's older brother who recently moved back to town seemingly to keep an eye on him. However, it is plainly clear that Melody is meant to be with Griff. In the socially awkward office worker Griff, she sees a kindred spirit.

Both of these characters are not quite there and they seem to feed each other's delusions, just check out the results of the invisibility suit they develop together. You will learn that a lot of the way they perceive the world around them is not reality. In another movie we would be concerned about their mental stability and thinking they should be on some form of medication. So, instead of worrying about their mental state and the possibility that it could lead them to harm themselves or others, we are meant to concern ourselves with their budding, tentative love.

Griff the Invisible is an interesting movie with a great level of sweetness to it. The plot is rather nondescript and the focus seems to be more on the characters and their perceptions and outlooks. It is a movie that is easy to get involved in, even during the multiple slow segments. I liked these characters and they have pretty good chemistry. Also, while their may be some mental health issues here, it is nice to focus on the fact they are finding ways of dealing with the world around the, and not hurting anyone without the use of medication. Just like Melody states, they are happy and not hurting anyone.

This is the debut feature from writer/director Leon Ford and it is a good one. He shows a good grasp of character and the ability to present odd characters with unique outlooks and allow them to sill exist in a reasonably believable reality. With Griff the Invisible he has made a movie that is enjoyable and does not get sucked into cynicism. This is a rather cheerful film that has a nicely optimistic bend. It is not perfect, there are definite issues with pacing, but it is more enjoyable than not.

Audio/Video. The film is presented in a ratio of 1.85:1 and is a solid looking transfer. There is very good detail, particularly in close up. I cannot say it is the very best I have ever seen, but it is quite slid. What makes the movie look as good as it does is the execution of the color palette. The color saturation shifts depending on the reality were are meant to be in, the real world is a bit muted, while the hyper-real world of Griff the hero is a bit more super saturated and bright. Both ends look quite good. I would say my favorite looking scenes are the sequences in the alley with Griff as the hero taking care of business.

The soundtrack is presented with a DTS-HD Master 5.1 track. It is a good track that makes nice balanced use of surrounds, particularly with the use of songs. They are not overly active as this is  relatively quiet movie with a heavy focus on the dialogue. Still, it is a solid track and nothing to be disappointed with.

Extras. There are a few extras included.
  • Commentary with Writer/Director Leon Ford, Producer Nicole O'Donohue and Actor Patrick Brammall. The track is pretty good as they talk about the origin of the story, the shoot, and other aspects of production.
  • Behind the Scenes. This is a short look at the film filled with a lot of clips from the film.
  • Anatomy of a Scene. A look at three scenes with storyboards and actual shots from the film.
  • Deleted Scenes. About seven minutes worth of cut bits.
  • Appear Calm: Diary of a First Time Director. A look inside the mind and stresses of a man doing something for the first time.
  • Rain Stops Play. An interview on set during the rain.
  • Patrick's Set Tour. A look around the set, duh!
  • Music Video by The Shadow Bureau.
Bottomline. Good not great is the best way to describe this film. It is sweet and avoids cynicism. It gives us some interesting characters who have chosen to take the world on their terms. 


Article first published as Blu-ray Review: Griff the Invisible on Blogcritics.

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