The Invisible appears to have been marketed a couple of different ways when it was released in early 2007, but the most used phrase for the film appears to be “Supernatural Thriller”, which might address it to some degree if it was, you know, thrilling.
Christine Roum (Bodyguard II) co-wrote the screenplay, which David Goyer directed. Goyer has been a longtime writer, providing words to such films as Dark City, Blade and Batman Begins. And for all the good work he’s put in as a writer, you’d think he would have learned some things when it comes to directing, but ultimately, he’s just another guy who was talented in one area and needs some work in his new one.
As far as the story goes, Nick (Justin Chatwin, War of the Worlds) is an only child growing up in an upper middle class home. His father died a few years ago, and his mom Diane (Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock) has big plans for him, even if he’s got dreams of his own. So he becomes yet another conflicted youth who tends to act out every so often to get his only parent’s attention. He provokes Annie (Margarita Levieva, Billy’s Choice) into fighting him, especially after Nick has come to the aid of his friend Pete (Chris Marquette, Joan of Arcadia), who owed Annie some money. Annie is the resident school bully, who is in a similar situation at home. Her dad doesn’t pay a lot of attention to her, and her stepmom is detached from her and her kid brother, so she sulks around a lot of the time and occasionally gets into some criminal activity, despite the wishes of Marcus (Alex, O’Loughlin, The Holiday), an ex-con himself.
So how do all these characters’ lives intertwine? Well one day, Annie gets arrested for stealing from a jewelry store. She hears that Pete might know who turned her in, and points to Nick, who was going to be leaving for London for a writing program (against her Mom’s wishes of pursuing a law degree), but Nick decides not to go. Annie and her gang find Nick and beat the hell out of him and leave him for dead. Suddenly, Nick returns to school, only to find out that he’s wholly ignored throughout the school, so it makes him wonder: is he dead? Is he a ghost? Who Knows? Ironically, the only one who seems to be able to communicate with him is Annie, so he starts to spook Annie into telling the authorities where Nick’s body is, as Annie and the boys left him for dead.
As you can see, there’s where the “supernatural” part of the film comes into play. As to the “thriller” part of things, it doesn’t really do anything new that hadn’t been done before, and the film departed from what was a pretty entertaining look at teen unhappiness in the modern day world, but we’ll never know how that part turned out, since this becomes basically a retelling of Ghost, minus the love story.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack is pretty good, and it has to be, because it carries several songs throughout the course of the film. Surround activity is decent, along with low end fidelity for those with a subwoofer, as it’s a dialogue driven film, it’s not reference quality but is serviceable.
2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen that surprisingly enough, looks a bit better than I would have expected. Shot against the always beautiful Vancouver landscape, the color palette might be muted but does come across rather clearly, and the depressing greys and blacks are pretty solid and provide contrast for most of the film.
The good news is that the extras are decent here, however the bad news is that they’re not terribly informative. Goyer and Roum provide a commentary that discusses the production and touches on the story in a little bit of detail, but overall there’s nothing new to really be gained from this. The second track is with Mick Davis, who also did some work on the film, but he provides as much substance on the track, which is to say that he doesn’t really add anything to the film’s enjoyment. There are a couple of music videos (big whoop!), but there’s also about fifteen minutes worth of scenes that are actually pretty good and should have been included back into the film, obviously in place of one or two of the various montage/musical numbers. They probably would have made the film a little better to watch, for that matter.
The Invisible starts out rather promising, but then it goes down a path that other films not only have traveled, but have done so more effectively. The film could easily have been pared down by ten minutes to get rid of all the pretentious emo-crap that plays during the film, but then it’d lose the whole selling point for kids to see it. But kids shouldn’t see it, they should be out running or playing. This film is more an after-school special than actual big studio motion picture, and not really worth investing time (or additional money) in.