8 June 2007 | Sweet_Ophelia
Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin) is a graduating senior with lofty ambitions of defying his over-bearing mother (Marcia Gay Harden) and flying to London for a writer's workshop. The day before leaving, Nick tries unsuccessfully to help out his friend Pete (Chris Marguette) who has failed to make a repayment to the school's femme fatale delinquent, Annie Newton (Margarita Levieva) who has troubles of her own. A crappy home-life ever since her mother died, Annie has to look out for her little brother while dealing with her lazy step-mother. On top of that, Annie carries out carjackings and reckless jewelery heists with her boyfriend on parole, Marcus (Alex O'Loughlin). When Annie gets busted for a robbery she assumes Pete and Nick were behind a phone call to the police, proceeding to terrorize Pete and sick her side-kicks onto Nick. During the beat-up however, Annie loses her cool and apparently kills Nick. Panicked, Annie orders her two male accomplices and Pete to hide Nick's body in the forest and lie low while the police conduct a search for him. But here's the 'twist' Nick isn't dead. His spirit, soul or whatever is wandering around, the world is oblivious to him. After an encounter with a revived bird, Nick realizes he isn't dead, but rather in limbo. In the forest, he is still alive, and now his wandering soul has to try and save his physical body from dying.... to do this he 'haunts' Annie, waiting for guilt to sink in and for his murderer to turn herself in.
Loosely based on a novel by Swedish author Mats Wahl the plot itself has been done before (and better) in the 1990 hit film 'Ghost'. That being said, the film has some small admirable qualities. Kudos has to go to director David Goyer for trying a different technique with the living dead thing. Instead of Nick being unable to touch objects, or having people walk straight through him, Goyer incorporated some impressive camera tricks so that every time Nick touches something, it does move but in a split second replaces itself as though undisturbed. Greatly illustrated in a scene at school when Nick throws a book into a shelf, only to look down and see the book still resting on the table and the shelf intact.
Otherwise the film is pretty mediocre. The soundtrack is well suited to any Grey's Anatomy episode, which is not a good thing. Snow Patrol, Death Cab for Cutie it's all very 'now' and melancholy. Justin Chatwin, who had a role in the film 'War of the Worlds' and a one-off in TV show 'Lost' is a fairly magnetic leading man. It would help if the character of Nick had some endearing qualities but unfortunately the side story about his father dying when he was young just isn't enough to make you warm to the pretentious sad-sap. A real problem is the character of Annie. Perhaps a lot of back-story about her home life was cut out, because what is offered about her is not enough to justify her criminal behavior; and it is clear that this is a story of redemption, the audience is waiting with Nick for Annie to grow a conscience and while we wait scenes are offered to make us warm to her... but it just does not work. As Nick says to the un-hearing Annie "Your mom dies and your dad marries somebody else, and that makes it okay?". It doesn't and we cant believe that it does. Furthermore, Margarita Levieva is just too 'pretty' to play such a bad-ass no-hoper. She whips off her black beanie to reveal wicked ringlet hair and all believability of this girl as a murdering thief just go right out the window.
And on a side-note: I don't understand why there was an instant police search for Nick who had not been missing for the required 48 hours? His mother presses the police to begin a full-scale search because Nick usually phones her if he will be out late but he bought a plane ticket to London, and although she checks and discovers he did not use it, isn't that evidence that he was ready to pack up and leave home?
Another qualm I have is with the editing. Too quick and choppy (especially in the beginning, explaining Nick and Annie's stories), there is no fluency between scenes and I felt somewhat disorientated trying to work out where the scene had suddenly jumped to and which story I was now following.
'The Invisible' starts out mediocre and ends cornily. Hire it on DVD only if there is absolutely nothing else of interest, but be prepared for something pretty uneventful and forgettable.