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The Invisible

Has T.V. ever been bigger than it is right now? You can’t go anywhere these days without hearing chatter about the final Sopranos episode, the latest exploits of Michael and company in Prison Break, or the newest medical mystery featured in House. So the question becomes, why do we still need movies? Even though they’re technically the same medium, T.V. shows and films are vastly different entities. In my mind however, film will always be a step above T.V., and I’ve only ever seen one show (actually a mini-series) that comes close to the grandeur of cinema. To this day, Band of Brothers remains one of my most cherished things to watch -- movie or T.V. show. With all of this said, while I was watching The Invisible, I not only realized my favorite T.V. shows are far more enjoyable, but also of much greater quality. David Goyer’s film runs like a ninety-seven minute episode of The O.C. on a dose of absurd science-fiction steroids, and the end result is an extremely forgettable film. The story follows Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin), an aspiring writer who’s just about to finish high school and disappear to England against his mother’s will. Nick does indeed vanish, only not the way he intended – he’s brutally attacked and left for dead... except we soon discover he’s not dead, but stuck in limbo between this world and the next, seemingly invisible to the masses. As Nick wanders around town visiting his mother and his friends, he tries in vain to lead them to his body. When hope is all but lost, he finally gets the attention of Annie (Margarita Levieva) – a troubled young girl who’s making all the wrong choices. As Nick edges his way through the barrier between life and death, Annie is the only living soul who can help him, but time is short and the circumstances are dire.

The Invisible is a film that tries to be slick and stylish, using loud atmospheric music and gimmicky direction to convey emotion instead of allowing the characters to present their story. This choice comes off as intrusive and overly stylistic, to the point where we’re acutely aware of the film trying to woo us with style in an attempt hide its faults. Unfortunately for Goyer, his film has far too many weaknesses and he merely compounds his mistakes by becoming so active behind the camera.

Amidst a horrible script, a tired and unoriginal concept, amateurish direction and a terrible supporting cast, we find the only good thing about The Invisible: its two lead actors. Chatwin is a fairly experienced actor with a few decent roles under his belt, so it isn’t too surprising he’s one of the better aspects of the film. But relative newcomer Levieva, with only a defunct T.V. show to her credit, gives an inspired performance which should surely garner her some better roles in the near future. It’s really too bad these two young actors didn’t have more to work with; as it is, they’re stuck in a poorly executed drama/sci-fi that fails fantastically, dramatically, emotionally and even technically.

I probably enjoyed The Invisible more than I even should have, but that reverts back to the T.V. show comparison. How many times do you find yourself unable to stop watching a show, no matter how crappy it is? For example, I watched Prison Break for two whole years before I realized it was complete garbage. But in hindsight, movies that sink to the level of mediocre T.V. shows are actually worse than the shows because, no matter how bad they are, they can’t be cancelled. The only question regarding the disc section of a film like The Invisible is whether or not anybody cares. I don’t imagine anybody does, because I found it a difficult task to accomplish, but I suppose I can’t fault them for trying.

First up in the special features section are thirteen minutes of deleted scenes. Can you sense my enthusiasm? These are scenes that failed to make it into this failure of a film -- excuse me for not being excited. There’s nothing to see here, so save yourself the thirteen minutes if you do inexplicably find yourself in a position to watch them.

Next up are two music videos: 30 Seconds to Mars’ “The Kill” and Sparta’s “Taking Back Control”. It’s funny, I do like both of these tracks, but I found myself wondering why the hell I’d ever pop in a DVD to listen to them. If I want to hear the songs, I’d rather listen to my iPod or watch MTV. Chalk another one up to fruitless inclusion.

Finally are the two feature commentaries: one with Goyer and writer Christine Roum, and the other a solo effort from writer Mick Davis. If there is something validly worthwhile on the disc, it’s these two commentaries. I always find it interesting to get inside the minds of filmmakers and writers, even those who make bad movies. Okay let me rephrase: it’s mildly entertaining for a while, and then it becomes as tedious as the film itself. Goyer and company do have a few interesting things to say, but try as they might, they couldn’t change my opinion of their film.

I honestly can’t justify recommending The Invisible to anybody – not even for a rental. With so many other great films out there, you shouldn’t be wasting your time or money on this one.