Friday, August 19, 2011

Griff the Invisible

Maeve Dermody and Ryan Kwanten

It is unusual to see Ryan Kwanten in a role other than Jason Stackhouse in True Blood but its only fair to him as an actor that we let go of the typecasting a bit to see him not only in films with different characters, but in his own country. I understand that Kwanten must want to expand and show his acting abilities. His most recent projects in filmography, which you can count on your finger during the last decade, features him date in two Australian films. In Red Hill, he plays a policeman in a small town who stumbles on to some bad guys with a sordid past. In Griff the Invisible, he plays a nerdy office worker who likes to dress up in a rubber suit and fight crime. 

The character is the complete opposite of Jason Stackhouse, of course. Griff the Invisible evokes the character Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) in Kick Ass who also dreams of being a superhero. However, the dark, brown haired Ryan seems to be swallowed up in this film, and not because we are used to seeing him in a completely different light. Do you know that he is going to play the serial murderer Charles Manson in an upcoming film slated for next year, The Family

Griff the Invisible may have packed the house at the Toronto Film Festival where it had its international debut last September, and no doubt it will attract the same Jason Stackhouse fans here in San Francisco. The problem with the film directed by Leon Ford is the slow pace with a script that seems to go nowhere and though the director really, tries that are only moments of screen entertainment, Most of the office scenes in the film fall flat. One of Griff's friends is Tim (Patrick Brammall) who is attracted to the young scientist Melody (Maeve Dermody). The director will have us believe that like-minded nerds attract one another and so it is just a matter of time until Griff and Melody lock horns. But just as Griff refuses to betray his childhood friend Hoyt in True Blood and act out his attraction to Jessica, he is equally loyal to Tim. Melody fantasizes about Griff and says things like ”You be the rhythm and I’ll be the beat” but Griff sticks to his agenda of rejecting her advances - at least initially. His rubber suit empowers him to a certain degree and he is seen beating up the street thug bad guys. In real life, however, he is unable to pull off his daredevil stunts and he beaten up by co-workers on the street. Maeve Dermody fairs better as Melody who eventually makes her intentions perfectly clear to Tim and Griff - a  good actress. 

The film is billed as a romantic comedy but there is little chemistry between Melody and Griff, even if we are led to believe that the charge between the two of them is so powerful that light bulbs explode or doors melt when they are near. Maybe the film loses something in translation as a popular Aussie film. There is a hollowness that seems almost artistic but Griff the Invisible is just too transparent.
© 2011 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 8/17/11 Movie Magazine International

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