Monday, September 19, 2011

SIFF 2011 - Charming And Quirky "Griff The Invisible"

Red Dot Diva has to admit, that being a major "True Blood" fan, it was Ryan Kwanten's name that first drew her to watch the indie film "Griff The Invisible" at the Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF) 2011.

She hasn't even heard of the movie before but the synopsis and trailer of the Aussie-made movie (directed by Leon Ford) seemed charming enough.

Partially anticipating an underdog turned superhero story like how most American superheroes tend to begin their gigs, Red Dot Diva was pleasantly surprised to find that "Griff The Invisible" was more of a gentle but twisted love story that thrives in the bubble of childlike imagination.

Socially inept dreamer Griff, is a shipping clerk by day, and bad-assed black-and-yellow latex-clad superhero by night. After work, Griff spends most of his lonely existence back at his small apartment scanning blinking monitors and cries for help with a heroic aim to "uphold justice and to defend the innocent".

At his workplace however, Griff (Ryan Kwanten) in all his voiceless meekness, is the chosen target of Tony (Toby Schmidz) the office bully. In frustration, Griff attempts to break free of the constant torment by taking secret revenge. And in the course of his planning, decides that having an invisible suit would best serve his missions.

While experimenting and trying to fine-tune his "Powers of Invisibility", Griff meets doe-eyed Melody (Maeve Dermody), who turns out to be the current date of his protective older brother Tim (Patrick Brammall). Tim, who is a tad domineering, had left Adelaide to come take care of his brother and has always been bewildered by Griff's constant mental escape to a parallel universe.

Melody - an "experimentalist" - turns out to be as kooky a dreamer as Griff, and oddly holds the belief that she can walk through walls. She bonds with Griff in their shared fantasy world, and persistently insists on being his sidekick by infusing herself into his attempts to build an invisible superhero suit.

Soon, their individually unique psychological makeup fuels each other's wondrous imagination and inevitably, brings them closer.

Red Dot Diva finds "Griff The Invisible" very identifiable in its core storyline about an intelligent and eccentric loner trying his best to exist in a world that often demands someone to be a "normal adult" (which usually then means to blend in and "be invisible").

In fact, the movie was more like a male version of a quirky-smart chick flick. Well, it is definitely much easier for Red Dot Diva to stomach a love story when it comes mostly in the form of Ryan Kwanten - who was an absolute delight on screen as the vulnerable, dorky Griff. Ryan impresses with his talent and ability to draw us into Griff's world - a character who is almost a total opposite from the swaggering, usually naked Jason Stackhouse in "True Blood". A particular scene when Griff was caught up with grief was simply heart-breaking to watch. Ryan's loveable portrayal of the character just makes Red Dot Diva wanna "go grab a Griff" and give him a big hug.

Yeah... .... so Red Dot Diva can get a little sappy too.

Also deserving of a positive "Like" is the lovely Maeve Dermody, whose anime blue eyes adds to her believable performance of the off-kilter Melody.

Director Leon Ford has a great sense of colour and the splashes of bright yellow were particularly memorable. He also move the 90-minute film at a pretty entertaining pace. Red Dot Diva certainly didn't get the chance to feel bored during the movie. There were some okay fight scenes and several moments of amusement, thanks again to the fantastic comedic timing of Ryan Kwanten and the smart soundtrack by Sydney-based band Kids at Risk.

There are a couple of glitches in "Griff The Invisible" however. Red Dot Diva realizes that one has to suspend disbelief quite a lot about the actual state of minds of Griff and Melody. It would be difficult to believe that the couple would be able to sustain their world view and yet survive in the real world for long. One can't help but root for them and wish that they could though.

Then, there's the unresolved storyline concerning Tony the bully. Red Dot Diva senses that the audience might have preferred if there was a final scene showing Griff's triumph over Tony.

But then, perhaps that was not the main intention of this genuinely touching tale -- where the true triumph was a quirky kind of love between two rather psychologically fragile individuals.

View the trailer for "Griff The Invisible":


After the screening of "Griff The Invisible" during SIFF, there was a short Q&A with actor Ryan Kwanten. So do look out for another blog post about this Q&A with Ryan fielding some rather thoughtful and interesting questions.

For more information on "Griff The Invisible", visit the official website!

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