Thursday, 22 September 2011

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Griff the Invisible - SIFF 2011

Opinion: C+

I thought I was considered weird in my community, but Griff and his sidekick prove to be beyond my definition of quirkiness with self-indulging delusions. These delusions may seem to highlight the often undermined misfits in our society, but there seems to be a lack of resolution as to whether this will be a maturing tale of two like-minded misfits or one that raise their voice in concern.

When the sun is out, the socially awkward Griff gets bullied by his co-workers day after day as he stumbles through his mundane job. However, at night - he transforms into Griff The Invisible, a superhero who roams the streets, protecting the innocent. His routine life takes a shake-down when he meets Melody, a beautiful and eccentric scientist. This romantic comedy shot in 16mm instead of digital, for aesthetic purposes, will bewitch viewers with its offbeat tale.

Griff the Invisible, played by Ryan Kwanten (of True Blood fame), really tried hard at portraying the perspective and inner thoughts of a delusional misfit. A great portion of the film felt so quirky that we don't know whether to proceed and laugh out loud or to cringe our brows and shake our heads.
The first feature by Australian Director Leon Ford sets up a firm position to strengthen our heartfelt connection to Griff, one who indulges in wild thoughts where he is a vigilante on a mission to ensure social justice. As any other superhero, he insists on keeping it a secret from the public and even those around him.

It's his way of staying invisible among the people around him, the need for that is so urgently strong that he decided to name himself Griff the Invisible. I see dual meanings behind that and it's a genius move to incorporate a misfit's desire to stay invisible in the real world into his greatest strength in his imaginary realm.
We get how it tries to build our empathy for misfits like Griff, who are mostly like any other albeit with very few people of similar interest around them. This slowly separates him from the others and he soon finds himself alone, where it naturally induces him to begin venturing into his own thought-out world.

Of course in the film, he soon realise that he's not alone.

Melody (played by the engrossing Maeve Dermody) looks like a sweet young social butterfly, but deep down under she's an obstinate nerd who believes in molecular physics and uses it to explain things around her. She believes that at the right time when the alignment of atoms and molecules are right, she is able to pass through walls.

Her choice of conversation topics aren't exactly popular with the guy at the bar, they involve awkward mind-bending ideas that really don't engage conversationally. "Have you ever googled the word Google?", "Once, I did a street survey about street surveys".

I don't blame her, it's what turns her on in life.

Towards the end, we vaguely see how the film tries to make sense of the set up but sort of falls short. Melody admits that Griff is weird, but continues to play along because if Griff changes for the normal she would be left alone as the only weird misfit.

Again, that's a weird string of thought. Is that love for two misfits?

Maybe it's just me because I thought I was the best definition of quirkiness. But the fact that Griff can easily turn into a normal guy for a day and then switch back is far too disturbing for my taste.

That's not a misfit, that's some sneaky guy who's trying to tinker with life. Likewise, I think Melody is tinkering with love like scientific experiments.

On a sidenote, maybe it's exactly what the film is trying to achieve here. Makes us all disbelievers and head shakers of misfits to further enhance his point of our society's incapability of accommodating jarring misfits.

Well, can a misfit deem another misfit a misfit? Hmm.


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