Directed by David S. Goyer
Distributed by Buena Vista Home Video
The teenage years are the indisputable peak of all that is awkward. Hormones, acne, fashion, and the fear of getting the crap kicked out of you by ethically confused but inwardly good 98-pound girls can really put a lot of pressure on a young man. Especially if that 98-pound girl leaves you for almost dead in some drainage ditch somewhere and you’re trapped wandering the earth in a really weird limbo.
That’s just awkward, man. Awkward!
High school student Nick (Chatwin) is growing up. He’s writing some really nice poetry, distancing himself from his emotionally chilly mother, and backing up his cowardly best friend against small females wielding letter openers. Unfortunately this particular small female still manages to get the best of him and leaves his bloodied comatose body in a forested drainage ditch. Things then get really uncomfortable for Nick as he wanders the town completely invisible, as some sort of ghost of the in-between, seeing the crime investigation against his would be murderer get botched and confused. All the while his body winds down towards the inevitability of death.
This plot device actually has some potential. The creepy and confusing revelation of being caught in the medically undefined state of “almost dead” limbo could be used to some rather interesting ends. Simply put, no one can see you. You’re able to go any where you want, do what you want, and no one would ever be the wiser. You could run the bases of Yankee stadium naked; pee on the gold at Fort Knox; take a tour of the local girl’s locker room after cheer-leading practice. The world is your playground, invisible almost dead boy, go play in it!
This leads to the first problem of The Invisible. Nick is a really, really dull and unimaginative boy. As an invisible teen, he wanders listlessly, trailing his mom or wandering the streets, whining primal screams towards the sky at key peaks in the soundtrack. His unique existential state could have been used to some sort of playful, interesting, and creative effect similar perhaps to Bill Murray’s performance in Groundhog Day; however all he does is pout and stomp his foot.
Another problem with The Invisible is simple implausibility, and I’m not talking about the obvious implausibility of being stuck in invisible limbo while your body lies in a coma. These teens seem to live in some sort of after school special happy town where everyone is really nice, trusting, and forgiving. Jewelry stores keep shiny goodies worth thousands of dollars behind easily breakable store front windows on dark empty streets with no security guards or cameras; windows just ripe for a 98-pound girl to leap into some serious smash and grab. If you’re a suspected murderer with a large semi-automatic pistol and surrounded on two sides by similarly armed police officers, you’re allowed to point that pistol aggressively towards them and their only response will be “Stop! Don’t shoot. Just put the gun down,” at which point you can, of course, turn and run away unharmed. They won’t chase you, don’t worry. Your continued freedom is important to the plot!
Overlying all problems is that The Invisible takes itself as seriously as teenage angst, and it’s just as interesting. This is a film that desperately wants to be saying something but ends up mumbling behind its long uncut bangs. The state Nick finds himself is profound and it could have been used to equally profound effect; however, here it does the film equivalent of writing really bad poetry and then blogging it. No one cares about your blog, Nick. Half your hit count is from your mother.
The DVD release comes with a reasonable amount of extras including 13 minutes of previously deleted scenes, music videos, and two different audio commentaries with the director and script writers. This, of course, means you can watch the film three times in a row to catch every golden word, but doing so might put you into a coma. See you in limbo.
• Feature audio commentary with director David S. Goyer and writer Christine Roum
• Feature Audio Commentary with writer Mick Davis
• Over 13 minutes of deleted scenes
• Music videos — 30 Seconds to Mars – “The Kill”, Sparta – “Taking Back Control”
1 1/2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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