The Invisible (2007) 6/10

January 16, 2008

Life, death and something in between

Based on the book: Den Osynlige by Mats Wahl
Based on the Swedish film: Den Osynlige by Joel Bergvall and Simon Sandquist

Director: David S. Goyer

Cinematography: Gabriel Beristain

Screenplay: Mick Davis and Christine Roum

Cast: Justin Chatwin, Margarita Levieva and Chris Marquette

Rating PG-13
Country: USA
Language: English

Review:

Nick Powell (Chatwin) lives with his over-protective, superficial mother in a perfect house. He aspires to be a writer, but on the same night he’s meant to leave for England to attend a prestigious school he’s brutally attacked by the local troubled teen, Annie Newton (Levieva). With the help of her thug buddies she forces Nick’s best friend Pete (Marquette) to spill his name as the one who ratted her out to the police, getting her arrested for theft. Little does she know that the person who sold her out was actually her boyfriend, on probation and sick of her reckless attitude. The gang leave Nick to die in the woods, but he wakes up the next day feeling normal. That is, until he realized no one can see or hear him but Annie, his attacker. He soon discovers that he hasn’t died, but is rather in a state of limbo between life and death. To return to the world of the living, he must convince Annie to save him.

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I loved the idea and thought it had a lot of potential. After it came out, however, I heard nothing but negative reviews and decided not to see it until it came out on DVD. Even then I was reluctant, expecting to be sorely disappointed. Instead, I was actually quite impressed. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t he movie of the century by any means… but I do think it’s worth seeing. It brings up some very interesting ideas on life and death (and yes, the in between), but what I really enjoyed was the interaction and development between the two main characters. They evolve a lot during the course of the film, and Annie’s character is especially well presented.

As much chemistry as there seemed to be between Chatwin and Levieva, there was practically nothing between the former and his mother. It was so bad, I couldn’t even play it off as “they have a distant relationship”… it was like watching two complete strangers from two completely different worlds say random lines that just happened to coincide.

The biggest criticism I have about this movie is, incidentally, the subplots. They’re extremely interesting, but grossly underdeveloped. The film goes through the trouble of showing all these intricate characters, but ends up finishing the movie off with an enormous question mark about their fates, and in some cases even their backgrounds. I find there’s nothing more maddening than when a movie places a bunch of questions in the spectator’s mind, and then leaves them unanswered for no reason whatsoever. There’s a difference between that and leaving them unanswered for the sake of mystery. It’s a shame, because if it weren’t for this I think this film could easily have scored at least a couple points higher.

I enjoyed the SPIN-magazine style soundtrack, with a lot of great bands such as Broken Social Scene, Sparta, and TV on the Radio. Obviously it keys in well with the teenage cast and reflects the feel of the movie.

Finally, I have to give a HUGE warning to the people who have seen the trailer for this movie, because a lot of it actually has nothing to do with the movie itself. The old man, for example, is never seen in the film. The trailer is also misleading when it comes to the relationships between characters, and the genre of the movie is nothing close to a horror flick. I would classify it as more of a paranormal oriented psychological thriller, because there aren’t any scares that will make you jump out of your seat… if you do you’re probably drinking way too much coffee.

So… after lengthy mental debate, I finally decided to give The Invisible movie six dead birds out of ten.

Links:

Official Website
IMDb link
Theatrical Trailer
Rent it on NetFlix
Buy it on Amazon

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