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The Invisible

The best scenes are in the trailer. A dim supernatural thriller that combines existential angst with teenage trauma and comes up a loser.


Eighteen-year-old Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin) has been, for reasons too convoluted to go into, left for dead. But his body's still alive, and his spirit – stuck in limbo – continues to interact with those around him, desperately trying to communicate his existential plight before his body – hidden in a storm drain - expires. Being caught between life and death is probably a scary place, but it's likely more compelling than depicted here. The cause of Nick's current dilemma is Annie Newton (Margarita Levieva), a juvenile delinquent and classmate of Nick's, whose troubled upbringing turned her into such a teen terror. Nick must try and compel Annie to locate his body, but it takes an inordinate amount of time to do it, during which the story – and the film as a whole - falls apart. After awhile, it's difficult to work up much sympathy, to say nothing of any interest, for what happens to these characters.


Chatwin (Tom Cruise's son in War of the Worlds) scores his first big-screen lead here, and does about as well as can be expected under the circumstances, which are fairly dire. With better material, this might have been a decent showcase for his leading-man qualities. Better luck next time. Not nearly as fortunate is Levieva, playing the prettiest leader of a high-school crime ring in recent memory. One minute, she's playing it tough and thrashing Nick within an inch of his life. The next, she's tearfully admonishing her little brother (Alex Ferris) not to make the same mistakes she made. It's a terrible role and, worse, an inconsistent one. The biggest name in the cast, Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden, plays Nick's domineering mother. Like many of the roles in the film, it's strictly one-note. Still, it's nice having a pro like Harden on hand – even if the film goes out of its way to squander her talents. Only Callum Keith Rennie, as the obligatory detective on the case, manages to bring a little credibility to the proceedings. So, naturally, the film ignores him for long stretches.


David S. Goyer is better known – and rightly so – for the films he's written (Dark City, Batman Begins and the Blade films) than the ones he's directed (Blade: Trinity, anyone?). But the true blame here falls on screenwriters Mick Davis and Christine Roum, whose attempt to combine a supernatural storyline doused with teen angst fails miserably. At times, The Invisible feels like leftovers from The Sixth Sense, Ghost, Jacob's Ladder, The Butterfly Effect (yikes!), any number of Twilight Zone episodes, and even Groundhog Day. The Invisible is based on a Swedish novel and a previous film, but like the many Asian chillers that undergo an "Americanized" remake, something has been lost in the translation – starting with credibility, even on its own terms. So many movies undergo reshoots these days but rarely has an entire movie felt like a reshoot. The Invisible has that dubious distinction.

Bottom Line rated this film 1 star.