When the first couple of trailers for “The invisible” came out, they didn’t sit well with me. They looked a little too much like they were ripping off Sixth Sense and Ghost, only in a sort of “O.C.” feel to it. Not to mention the film was being directed by David Goyer… the man who is a decent enough writer for certain, but the last film he actually directed was that horrible shit stain of a film “Blade Trinity”.
The basic idea for The Invisible goes something like this:
“THE INVISIBLE is a supernatural thriller about a writer who finds himself trapped between the world of the living and the dead-completely invisible to the living. Nick (JUSTIN CHATWIN) has a bright future until he is brutally attacked and left for dead. Now in limbo, his only chance to live again is to figure out the mystery of what happened to him and why, before his time runs out. But how do you solve a murder, when the victim is you?”
The first thing that jumped out to me about this film was how good Justin Chatwin did as the lead character “Nick”. I’ve seen Chatwin in a couple of other things… smaller roles… he’s never impressed me really. But kudos go out to him here. His character wasn’t the easiest to play. I saw some good complexity in him, and Justin conveyed it all very well. Nothing really ever went over the top, nor did he ever come off as forced. There was a subtle strength to him that came off really well. I’m suddenly interested in seeing him do more. Good for him.
While the criticism of the film being a little bit of a “Ghost” rip off is valid… it should be mentioned that there is one MAJOR departure. (Warning, some people may consider this next part a LITTLE bit of a spoiler, but I don’t really consider it to be… be warned). The whole idea that the only person that can help Nick, is the person who “killed” Nick in the first place (The female lead in the film Margarita Levieva who plays “Annie”). It forces the film to avoid being just black and white. The Annie character is the “bad guy” yes… but she’s more than that. She’s a confused kid who has had a horrible life. She’s lost, angry, bitter and yet at the same time vulnerable, frightened, lost… and as Nick says to her early in the movie: “You are so broken”. Broken. A girl who has found a way to feel some sense of security and identity, it’s just not the right way, and it casts her into a world she shouldn’t be, and doesn’t really want to be a part of. But it is a way that eventually leads her to “Murdering” Nick. A FANTASTIC play on things.
After the strong performances of the leads, and the novelty of the great concept twist (That the killer is actually the only one now who can help the hero) wears off… there really isn’t anything left of the film. They marketing talks about Nick needing to “Solve the mystery of his own death”… and yet there wasn’t any mystery. Both you (the audience) and him almost instantly know how he ends up “dead”. There is no mystery at all. The film is just a process of us watching Nick try to get someone to discover where his body is. That can be fine, but there simply wasn’t enough story or dramatic elements to make that work. Yes we liked the characters, but you quickly get bored with the film (well, I did anyway) due to it’s lack of depth. Nothing interesting happens.
The ending is still something I’m scratching my head over. i can’t go into much without giving significant things away… so to be cryptic, all I’ll say is that near the end, one of the characters becomes totally useless and unnecessary any further. But for some reason Goyer felt the need to make it as if they were now more important than ever! It ultimately leads us to some events in the ending that are TOTALLY inconsistent with things that happen in the rest of the film.
The kid. Oh my sweet heavens. Look, if you MUST have a child actor in your film (and I stress MUST) then you, as a director, better have the skills to get something out of the kid… something that can at least come close to working on screen and not just be laughable. You can’t blame the child… because they’re a child… the responsibility rests with the director. Goyer failed terribly here.
A solid concept for a film with a decent script and good performances (other than the child) that gets mired down in its lack of anything substantial beyond the main concept, lack of dramatic tension and a failure to keep us interested by the way the story is told. Goyer should stick to writing, although to be fair, it was an improvement over the job he did on Blade Trinity. Over all I give “The Invisible” a 5.5 out of 10.