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Griff the Invisible (Blu-ray Review)

15 Dec, 2011 By: John Latchem

$19.97 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some language and violence.
Stars Ryan Kwanten, Maeve Dermody, Patrick Brammall, Toby Schmitz, Marshall Napier, Heather Mitchell.

Ryan Kwanten is best known for playing dim-bulb womanizer Jason Stackhouse on HBO’s “True Blood,” where otherworldly elements of the fantastic are real. The Australian indie Griff the Invisible turns reality on its edge, presenting Kwanten in a fashion his fans from the show won’t be used to seeing, and not just because he’s allowed to use his native Aussie accent.

Griff finds Kwanten as the title character, a meek loner who spends his nights dressing in a black jumpsuit and fighting crime. He rationalizes his lack of social skills with the idea that he has superpowers, and his duty to protect the innocent would put his friends in danger. Those around him see him simply as strange.

His psychological issues may stem from an inferiority complex. He’s constantly bullied at work and concocts bizarre revenge schemes involving disguises that hide his face from the security cameras. His metaphorical invisibility extends into the film’s central visual gag, as Griff blends into a bright yellow wall by wearing a rain slicker.

Then he meets his brother’s girlfriend, Melody (Maeve Dermody), another eccentric who is immediately drawn to Griff’s unique way of thinking. She also has different ideas about how things should work, such as her theory that if the spaces between atoms were to properly align she would be able to walk through a wall.

First-time director Leon Ford populates the film with subtle nods to the greater superhero genre, such as Griff’s red phone he uses to speak with the “Commissioner” (an homage to the 1960s “Batman” TV show). With Melody’s help, Griff creates a cloaking suit that will make him completely invisible, giving him a huge advantage in his crimefighting efforts.

At least, that’s the reality he’s built for himself. The film plays with the notion that people can immerse themselves a little too deeply in the fantasies they construct for themselves. Griff is holding on too tightly to a child’s view of the world, one that makes room for superheroes and costumed vigilantes.

At its heart, though, Griff the Invisible is a love story — A Beautiful Mind for the Comic-Con set, and an ode to those who take comfort in seeing the world just a little bit differently.

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