Leon Ford’s Griff the Invisible (2010), a romantic superhero comedy from Australia written and directed by Leon Ford and starring TV’s True Blood heartthrob Ryan Kwanten, is harmless fun which, one feels, had a great deal of potential which it either didn’t, or couldn’t, exploit to maximum effect.
Poor Griff (Kwanten) is stuck in a job which his well meaning brother Tim (Patrick Brammall) has found him. Bullied and laughed at by his colleagues Griff lives for his double-life outside of work, as at night he becomes a crime-busting, vigilante superhero. Things would probably continue much the same way if it were not for the sudden appearance of Tim’s new girlfriend Melody (Maeve Dermody), a beautiful would-be amateur scientist, who believes that she has the power to walk through solid matter – if only all the molecules are perfectly aligned at the same time. When these two social misfits worlds collide nothing will ever be the same for them again.
What can you say about Griff the Invisible – a film which you can neither hate nor love. It has the premise of a great superhero story with all the pre-requisite comic-book components – including a police chief referred to as the ‘Commissioner’ and some impressively realistic special effects – but ultimately it just fails to gel. Like Griff himself who keeps his superhero powers hidden, you feel that the film had much more to give had it just had the resources behind it.
It’s these lack of resources which are the Griff the Invisible’s downfall. Clearly made on a budget it looks more like an extended episode of a children’s television show, with basic sets, alleyway settings and a cast of largely unknown actors. For once you feel that here is a film ripe for the Hollywood make-over – with an original storyline, competent and attractive lead actors (Kwanten and Dermody (who is a dead-ringer for Emily Blunt) are a beautifully buffed, if slightly shambolic, couple) and a director who makes sure that the ninety minute running time doesn’t feel drawn out. If only the producers had had the resources a large American studio could have thrown at it, this film might have been great instead of just good – Hollywood take note.