Original release: March 21st, 2011
Running time: 92 minutes
Country of origin: Australia
Writer and director: Leon Ford
Music: Kids At Risk
Cast: Ryan Kwanten, Toby Schmitz, Maeve Dermody, Patrick Brammall
From time to time you can find me drifting off into space where I’m having the most outlandish adventures and wonderful conversations with you in my mind. Back on Earth however, it merely looks as if I’m either miserable, bored or both, and I can assure you, on the inside I am feeling neither. I’ve just never been a big believer that as you get older you need to start looking at the world in the same way everyone else does, because not everyone can. Some of us see it in entirely different colours, hear it with different sounds…it feels, smells and tastes differently, but exactly how is hard to describe. It just is.
This can also mean that the task of going about daily things can be especially troublesome, if not painful. There’s a job that’s hard to adjust to, a group of people you don’t understand, a joke you don’t get, sounds you can’t tune into, instructions you can’t follow or signals you can’t read. It doesn’t mean your brain is broken because you’re not a “neurotypical”, it just means it works in other marvellous ways which they can’t see.
Griff The Invisible is a film I knew I would love instantly because it takes us into the life and mind of such an individual. We meet Griff (Ryan Kwanten), an office worker who seems very much like me. He’s quiet, he doesn’t really like his job, he’s taken advantage of and bullied by a horrible colleague, Tony (Toby Schmitz), and is told that he needs to do more to fit in with the people around him. Except he can’t.
In Griff’s mind however, the world is different from how it appears to everyone else around him. It’s a placed filled with danger around every corner and local law enforcement is at odds end trying to maintain order. Griff fights crime and even has a superhero outfit to do it in. He monitors the city using surveillance equipment in his apartment and he’s also trying to perfect an invisible suit. He has a red phone where he takes secret calls from the commissioner and he warns muggers to “stay out of my neighbourhood”.
Griff’s older brother, Tim (Patrick Brammall) drops in on him now and then to make sure he’s ok, doing well at work and isn’t running about the city wearing his rubber suit. He assures him that’s not what he’s doing… but we know otherwise. For Griff, protecting the city isn’t a choice, it’s a responsibility.
When Tony introduces Griff to his new girlfriend, Melody (Maeve Dermody), it’s clear who she’s really meant to be with. Melody is fascinated by quantum physics and while some of the theories she talks about is supposed to bewilder the average viewer, I knew exactly which planet she was coming from because those are the same ideas I’ve rambled on about at home too, after having read Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe.
For Griff and Melody, it should be a match made in heaven, and while she’s eager to be with him instead of his brother, he’s afraid of the entire situation and uses his crime-fighting as an excuse to keep her at a distance. Eventually Griff does decide to try and be “normal” like Tim so that he can be with Melody and I found my heart breaking at this point in the story because I thought why should such a wonderful creature be forced to be anything other than what he is?
People who sit down to watch this movie thinking it will be something like Kick-Ass (2010) are going to be hugely disappointed. It’s not really about being a superhero but rather how a unique individual uses his fantasies of being one to cope with the confusing world around him.
Like with Adam (2009), Griff The Invisible is a film I found myself connecting with from beginning to end and the only downside I felt was that the story didn’t explicitly address Griff’s condition. It never said outright that he and Melody have Aspergers but maybe that’s a good thing as well, maybe it didn’t need to. Maybe in the end we’re all somewhere on the autistic spectrum, it’s the only way to explain why so many “neurotypicals”, like Tim and Tony, lack the very thing that’s supposed to distinguish them from autistics – empathy.
The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.
You can find his music on Soundcloud .