The Invisible: Who Are We, Really?

The Invisible - onesheetThe trailers make The Invisible look like a slightly odd variation on a supernatural teen thriller. It is, in fact, a very odd little film that deals with identity and the difference between who we think we are and who we want to be – as well as who we are perceived to be… 

“The Invisible” is a deliberately paced, well thought out film that was adapted from an obscure Scandinavian film. Nick Powell [Justin Chatwin] is smart, witty and completely invisible to his mother [Marcia Gay Harden], who has planned his future so meticulously that she can’t see him in the now. His fellow students think of him as pretentious. When he goes missing, and is feared to be dead, lives change.

Annie Newton [Margarita Levieva] seems to be the leader of a trio of high school punks who brace kids for lunch money and sell stolen cell phones. When she interrupts a car heist to smash and grab a bunch of expensive jewelry, she sets in motion events that lead to her, shall we say unusual entanglement with Nick. That entanglement leads to unique revelations – and an unexpected death.

In short, both Nick and Annie are not who people [from relatives to friends and enemies] think they are. When Annie is caught following the jewel theft, she blames Nick’s best friend, Peter [Christopher Marquette], who was one of her gang’s victims – and just happened to look at her as she hid the jewels in her locker at school.

Peter, to avoid getting badly beaten, lies and says Nick made the call – he’s confident that Nick is already on a plane to London. Alas, circumstances have changed and the three put the beatdown on Nick – and Annie’s last vicious kick appears to have killed him.

The Invisible - Nick

The Invisible proceeds at a deliberate pace that may be off-putting to a large percentage of its intended audience, but it’s very much worth checking out for the manner in which screenwriters Mick Davis and Christine Roum, and director David S. Goyer build the characters – and the unique way in which Nick’s spirit interacts with the corporeal world.

As we learn more about Annie, she comes out from under layers of clothing that render her invisible [reflecting the way she’s felt since her mother died and her father remarried]. With Nick, whose character is already somewhat established at the time of his being beaten, the revelations are the things he learns about his mother – revelations that completely change his perception of her.

While Goyer mostly shot in grays and blues, there are moments of sunshine that both express hope and the possibility of visibility. Unlike a lot of recent thrillers and horror flicks that have sustained the same monotonous palette throughout, director Goyer understands the need for contrast to underscore mood. Coupled with his careful attention to the essential character moments – and his ability to sustain suspense – this makes The Invisible a quiet gem.

In a way, The Invisible is also about choices. Each of the major characters has made choices that led to negative consequences, and each is given the opportunity to make better choices. Unfortunately, in the real world, even the right choices have bitter consequences, and so it is here. Fortunately, in having the courage to make the right choices, there is redemption – and, almost as importantly, visibility.

Grade: A

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