The latest from in-demand writer David S. Goyer ("Dark City", the "Blade" films, the upcoming "The Flash" and "The Dark Knight", among others) is this project (a remake of a Swedish film called "Den Osynlige") that sees Goyer directing a screenplay by someone else for once. The results, unfortunately, come under expectations. The film focuses on Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin), a high school loner who has a bright future as a writer (he is planning to head to a writer's program in London against his mother's wishes) and a mother who pays as little attention to him as she seems to be able to.
When a rough gal from the wrong side of the tracks named Annie Newton (Margarita Levieva, looking like "Hackers"-era Angelina Jolie) - who's had run-ins with Nick in the past - thinks that he's the one that went to the police after she robbed a store, she seeks revenge. Waking up in the woods where they left him, Nick walks to school, only to find out that his world has changed: no one notices him and no one pays atttention. It's as if he's not even there (he throws a book and knocks over a shelf, only to see everything go back into place a second later), which is because he isn't.
Nick remains stuck between the waking world and the afterlife, standing by as his mom talks to detectives and realizes that she maybe didn't know her son as well as she thought. His friends in class make fun of his work once he's gone. Eventually, he figures that he's "stuck" and yet, if he can solve his own case and get someone to save him, he may have a chance. If not, then he may just vanish completely.
The only person that can help him, however, is the cause of it all: Annie. The movie takes a long time getting rolling, as it spends a lot of time with Nick remaining helpless, trying to figure out how to even begin to get himself out of the situation. The problem with these scenes is not only that they begin to feel repetitive (Nick yelling for someone to pay attention to him), but that the soundtrack of moody rock sounds like something like a rejected soundtrack for an episode of "One Tree Hill". Oddly (but fortunately) it's when the film starts getting rolling in the second half and the tension starts building, the movie largely drops these tunes and thankfully, chooses to focus mostly on composer Marco Beltrami's atmospheric score. Had the movie chosen to stick with Beltrami's score throughout, it would have helped the movie considerably.
The performances are generally okay, but it's the fierce performance from Levieva that makes the most impression. Chatwin is adequate and Marcia Gay Harden is decent as his mother. Overall, I thought "The Invisible" got engaging towards the last third, but not enough of the movie worked to make it worthy of more than a light rental recommendation.
VIDEO: "The Invisible" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen by Hollywood Pictures Home Entertainment. The presentation quality is mostly very pleasing, as even the film's mainly dark or dimly-lit scenes remained crisp and clear. Although some minor edge enhancement appeared, no artifacting or print flaws were seen. The film's subdued color palette also looked accurately presented, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: "The Invisible" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Aside from the score, the film remains mostly dialogue-driven, with not a great deal for the surrounds to do aside from provide some mild ambience. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and well-recorded score.
EXTRAS: Director David S. Goyer and Christine Roum offer one commentary, while writer Mick Garris chats in another. Goyer and Roum offer commentary on 11 deleted scenes, as well. We also get 2 music videos (30 Seconds to Mars and Sparta) and previews for other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I thought "The Invisible" got engaging towards the last third, but not enough of the movie worked to make it worthy of more than a light rental recommendation. The DVD offers solid audio/video quality, as well as a few nice bonus features.
The Film C+