The Invisible offered promise. While others apparently disagreed (the movie has tanked at the box office and will probably not even make $20 million in theaters), I felt the marketing was rather effective for this supernatural "thriller" (quotation marks to be explained later). The movie looked like Ghost with a teen slant, a murder mystery with some excitement thrown in for good measure. Instead, The Invisible is a dead-on-arrival romantic drama that never manages to get its head above water.
The Invisible has bright but depressed student Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin) finding himself in the crosshairs of high school rebel and gangster Annie Newton (Margarita Levieva) after his friend Pete (Chris Marquette) lies and blames him for Annie's recent arrest on burglary charges. Walking home drunk one night, he is accidentally murdered (okay, as it is obvious from the previews, I will say that he is actually in a coma and every person who runs across his body is too stupid to realize it) and dropped down a manhole. The next morning, Nick Powell walks out of the woods without a scratch on him, goes to class, and realizes that no one can see him or hear him. He immediately attempts to draw police attention to Annie, but slowly (and I mean slowly) learns that Annie can sort of hear him. As he follows her around and tries to convince her that he is still alive, he realizes that she is troubled for a reason, that she actually has a heart, and that when she loses her stocking cap that she is actually wonderfully beautiful, and has a salon hidden in her hat because her hair is perfectly permed despite being matted down 23 hours a day.
The movie, from director David S. Goyer (who directed Blade: Trinity and wrote Batman Begins), is a big let down. Goyer knows how to make exciting movies, but The Invisible is just a mess. Surprisingly, from a technical viewpoint, the movie is okay. While the way Nick interacts with the rest of the world is a bit odd at times (in one scene, he nearly shakes his mother to death to get her to listen, but since he's a ghost it's all in his head and she doesn't notice a thing), Goyer pulls it off thanks to some clever editing. Of course, he also fills the movie with a bunch of "O.C." musical clips to appeal to the teenage audience that is assuredly wasting their money on this piece of crap. The film looks nice... unfortunately it is boring, stupid and has a disappointing ending.
The Invisible was marketed as a thriller and murder mystery, but is so poorly written that nothing is left to guess after the first 20 minutes. Instead of hiding the identity of the killers from the main character and the audience, we know who it is the entire time. That being said, the movie is less a murder mystery and more of a drama about two characters who can't talk, feel or even hear one another. Done right, a movie where a person's "killer" slowly develops feelings for the "deceased" and struggles to set things right is a neat idea, but that is a hard feat to pull off, let alone in the form of a teen flick. There is a sense of romance between the two characters, but the tension there is limited. Furthermore, after everything we go through with the film, the movie ends on a low note by killing off one of the main characters for no real reason (but I will explain that more in my "how the movie is stupid" section below).
The move is boring, yes, and leaves little to the imagination, yes, but The Invisible is just so stupid and its characters just so stupid that... well, it's just stupid. For starters, after Nick is nearly killed, wouldn't someone check to see if he's really dead? You carry him through the woods and only one person checks to see if he's breathing? Then, his friend Phil, who is there to witness everything, decides to keep things a secret rather than just turn himself into the police. The screenplay tries to explain why he would he would get into a lot of trouble for going to the police, but I just don't buy it. Say the truth, get police to the body and be done with it. The people you're protecting aren't your friends anyway.
From there, things just get ludicrous. Nick Powell has to be one of the dumbest ghosts in cinematic history. He is "given a second chance" to rectify things, but never figures out a way to interact with the world. Unlike Ghost, where Patrick Swayze figures out how to do all kinds of neat things as a ghost, Nick just spends his whole time shouting and whining at people who can't hear him. What a waste of an hour and a half! The most suspenseful scene has him trying to keep his own body above water, but of course he can't. Why do we need to see this?
Then there's the ending (spoiler alert warning). Annie dies, and for no reason. You spend an hour and a half developing a relationship between these two characters, and then you kill off the most interesting character minutes after they actually unite? Are you kidding me? Furthermore, she really dies for no reason. She gets stuck in the stomach, then manages to go on a car chase, sneak into a hospital to see Nick and then die while laying next to him. She's at a frikkin' hospital - aren't there doctors around somewhere? The ending just didn't make any sense. On top of that, Goyer concludes the film with a tragically cheesy ending where the now-alive Nick goes and interacts with Annie's little brother, who is flying his toy airplane. How come in movies people can always do this? In real life, a 20-year old man approaching a little boy would be cause for concern, and the little kid would hopefully run away screaming.
The Invisible is an extremely disappointing and idiotic dramatic thriller from David S. Goyer. While Goyer didn't write the film, he probably should have, as the screenplay is the real problem here. Avoid this one at all costs, unless you need an alternative to Nyquil.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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