|release date||April 27 2007|
|starring||Marcia Gay Harden, Justin Chatwin, Margarita Levieva and Chris Marquette|
|trailer 1||Trailer #1|
April means two things in the realm of cinema. It signals the last month of what I like to call “Drought Season”, where the studios push out whatever left over garbage they have onto the screen in hopes they can milk them for all they’re worth. It also tells us that blockbuster season is around the corner and there is hope! After being pushed back a few months, THE INVISIBLE squeaks in at the last minute, hoping to make some money. The question is, is it worth yours?
THE INVISIBLE tells us the story of Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin), who has a very bright future ahead of him. He has just booked a flight to London for a writer’s seminar and has only told his best friend, Pete (Chris Marquette), that he is leaving. Unfortunately, Nick’s mother finds out and is vehemently against it, so he opts not to go. When Pete is blamed by local hooligan Annie Newton (Margarita Levieva) for her arrest, he decides to throw the blame on Nick, since he is suppose to be on a flight to London. Big mistake. Annie, with Pete and her two cronies in tow, finds Nick wandering the streets drunk and decides to rough him up a bit. The beating goes too far and she ends up killing him on accident and hides his body in the woods. Nick isn’t really dead though. He is in limbo and determined to help those in the land of the living solve his murder and find his body, even if no one can see or hear him.
What I really enjoyed about this movie is the way the plot revolves around the similarities and differences between Annie and Nick. Nick is well liked, going places and lives the privileged life. Annie, on the other hand, is going nowhere, lives in the slums and is feared by her peers. On the surface, Annie is Nick’s foil. However, as the movie progresses, we see that their lives are very similar. Both go virtually unnoticed in life by those who supposedly care about them, which is the films underlying theme. Nick’s father is dead and his mother pays almost no attention to him (Which is plainly illustrated during the opening scenes) and seems to have no interest in his life at all. Annie’s father has seemingly disowned her and her step mother despises her. Her only connection at home is her younger brother, who is the only person who truly loves her. It is through these relationships that we discover the true meaning of the films title.
I was pleasantly surprised with the first act of the film. The setup for Nick’s death is great. However, the film goes drastically downhill from here.
What we are treated to once the film’s first act is over is nothing short of being dreadfully dull. A good amount of the second and third act is spent watching Nick yell, scream and jump up and down for people who can’t see or hear him. He throws books across the room, breaks windows, purposefully bumps into people and jumps into traffic, all to no avail. While I was indifferent with this particular aspect of the film the first or second time it occurred, it got old real fast.
Nick is also the most emotionally vapid character in the film. I cared very little about whether he lived or died, simply because his journey was boring. He had some scenes which I felt called for emotion and Chatwin simply could not pull it off. He had the acting range of a small step stool in the film. The character of Annie outshines him in every way and was the only character I felt invested in.
The writing felt very uneven. You can tell that the writers wanted to keep the story rooted in reality as much as possible (Aside from Nick wandering around after being dead) and they fail. A good example of this is when one character is shot in the stomach and walks what seems like several miles over the course of a few hours. Could that really happen? I know that it is the slowest way to die, but there is no way someone can do all that. Another instance is Pete not reporting his friend’s death to the police. When he finally breaks down and says that he is going to the police, Annie tells him that he will go down too. Now, who are the police going to believe? A straight laced student or a thief and her merry band of misfits? There was nothing keeping him from reporting the murder, except that movie would have ended half an hour earlier.
Something that many people seeing the film based on the trailer should know is that many of the scenes from the trailer that set the mood aren’t even in the final product. Most noticeably, a scene between Nick and an old man (Presumably a ghost), where it is explained to Nick what has happened to him and that he needs to solve the murder of his own death to live. There is nothing to solve! The trailer sets the film up as a mystery but the audience and Nick know who the culprit is the whole film. It also makes it seem like there is a whole ghost world present in the film, which I believe many people were hoping for. I can’t fault the film for being improperly represented by marketing but I can’t help wondering what happened to that particular storyline. I felt that it would have made the film much more entertaining.
THE INVISIBLE was definitely pushed back all these months for a reason. Even with what I can assume was re-shoots (Since the tone in the trailer and film are totally different), the film is a disaster. Very uneven with few saving graces, this film should have been DTV. David Goyer should stick with working on reviving the Batman franchise instead of making films like Blade: Trinity and THE INVISIBLE.