"Neither Here Nor There"
THE INVISIBLE is a weird movie, but not in an interesting sense. In many ways, it is a one-note plot idea that opens very strongly and then seems to get stuck with no place to go. It tells the story of Nick Powell.
The movie opens at his wealthy mother’s beautiful Seattle home. In a very strange voice, his mother congratulates herself for raising Nick after his father died, then she gives Nick an expensive watch. Nick goes downstairs and imagines himself blowing his brains out with a shotgun inserted into his mouth. This turns out to be a fantasy.
At school, Nick is the nice, clean-cut, academic success story. His best friend, Pete, in the first school scene is being beaten up by a punk girl named Annie Newton and her two sidekicks who seem to enjoy torture. Meanwhile, Nick is collecting money for the academic papers he writes for other students. In the cafeteria, he tries to pay off Pete’s debt. Annie refuses to take his money and ruthlessly attacks Nick. They both get pulled into the principal’s office. Annie hates Nick and tells him he thinks he’s better than she is because she sells drugs, but he is just as bad because he helps other students cheat.
That night, Annie with her recently paroled older boyfriend, Marcus, goes out to steal a car and ends up robbing a jewelry store. Marcus gets angry at Annie. Annie leaves in a huff, and Marcus calls the police on her. The police arrest her with the stolen jewels and let her go on bail. She beats up Pete, and Pete says it was Nick, not him, who ratted her out. So, she forces Pete to come along as they catch Nick, drag him into the woods and she kicks Nick nearly to death, throwing him down a well.
The next thing viewers see is Nick rushing back to school. When he gets there, no one seems to notice him. In class, everyone talks about him as if he isn’t there. Nick thinks he’s dead, but then learns he’s caught between life and death and needs to save himself by getting Annie to show people where his body is. Policemen show up, detectives get involved, and the plot goes on and on without much development beyond this point.
The audience knows what has to happen by the middle of the story, and there is no second plot point which would take the story in a more intense, satisfying direction. The rest of the movie just spins out the story of Nick and Annie. Nick, who had some rich dialogue in the beginning, seems to be dumbed down later to selected profanities and trying to get people’s attention by throwing chairs, hitting people and strangling people, including his mother. Finally, his line seems to boil down to, “Annie, you’ve got to help me!” All of this may be the filmmaker’s way of putting us into Nick’s shoes, but the trouble is that the filmmaker doesn’t realize that, if you’re going to show exhausted, vacuous dialogue, you have to make it interesting to the audience.
The acting at points is shrill, especially Marcia Gay Harden. One would think she cannot act if we did not know better from some of the great roles she has played. When all of the actors are floundering, it’s generally the fault of the director. The music may be the best part of this movie. The special effects are minimal and could have been done before CGI.
The strange thing about THE INVISIBLE is that there is no reference to a higher power. In the cemetery, there are no crosses, but there are some Stars of David. Someone suggested this is a portrait of Sheol, the underworld between life and death. If that’s what they wanted to show, they should have asked Rabbi Lapin, who lives in Seattle, for a better understanding of Sheol. Throughout the Old Testament, the point is made that man cannot save himself or herself. When Moses or David even suggests that they save themselves, they incur God’s wrath. Only God can save a person in Judaism and in Christianity. And, only God could have saved this movie from unraveling.
THE INVISIBLE also contains PG-13 foul language, violence, sexual references, and substance abuse.
(PaPa, OO, B, LLL, VV, S, N, AA, DD, MM) Strange spiritualistic worldview about a teenager who has been beaten almost to death whose soul walks around trying to save himself, some Jewish symbols in a graveyard, almost devoid of reverence toward God or any superior being; at least 15 obscenities, five strong profanities, and seven light profanities, but it is strange to hear someone say GD who's supposedly on the verge of dying; PG-13 strong violence with teenager beaten in bathroom and girl taking her knife to his thumb, several other beatings, punk teenage girl beats hero so badly they get called into principal's office, punk girl's gang viciously beats hero almost to death in hard-to-watch scene, girl shot through side, punk girl shoots lover dead, police shoot at teenagers, soul of boy beats up his own mother viciously and gets run over by a truck and beats up several other people, but movie immediately shows he is just imagining these realistic scenes, soul of boy tries to get people's attention by paranormally moving objects, boy tries to commit suicide; three sex scenes but nothing shown and two rave group dance, almost orgy scenes but nothing shown, one teenage graduate party almost an orgy but nothing shown; upper male nudity and female cleavage; heavy alcohol use including drinking to death; smoking, taking drugs and selling drugs; and, robbery, car theft, embezzlement, fraud.
THE INVISIBLE is a weird movie. In many ways, it is a one-note plot idea that opens very strongly but then gets stuck with no place to go. It tells the story of Nick Powell, a teenager who gets beaten to the point of death by a punk girl named Annie who thinks Nick told the police about her part in a jewelry robbery. The next thing viewers see is Nick rushing back to school. When he gets there, no one seems to notice him. In class, everyone talks about him as if he isn't there. Nick thinks he's dead, then learns that he's caught between life and death and needs to save himself by getting Annie to show people where his body is.
The second half of this story unravels. The plot meanders without much development. Also, the acting at points is shrill, and the special effects are minimal. The strange thing about THE INVISIBLE is that there is no reference to a higher power. The movie has a strange spiritualistic worldview that's rather unedifying. It also contains PG-13 foul language, violence, sexual references, and substance abuse.