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The Invisible Review

By Shawn McKenzie 05/27/2007

The Synopsis:

Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin) is a smart, average kid who does no wrong…with the exception of the fact that he makes money writing papers for lazy, stupid kids in his high school in Burnaby, WA.  He feels trapped though, because his widowed mother, Diane (Marcia Gay Harden), won’t let him attend a writer’s course in London.  He decides to go anyway, using the money from the paper writing gig.  In fact, he’s already bought the plane ticket.  Unfortunately, his mom discovers the ticket and thwarts his plans.  Meanwhile, the school bully, Annie Newton (Margarita Levieva), and her goons…Matty (Ryan Kennedy) and Dean (Andrew Francis)…confront Nick’s best friend, Pete Egan (Chris Marquette), about ratting her out to the cops over a jewelry heist she committed.  Annie and her boys had previously beat Pete up for some money he owed them, so he tells them that Nick was the one who had squealed on her.  Pete figured that Nick was on his way to London anyway, so he wouldn’t get hurt.  The reason why Annie broke into the jewelry store and stole the jewelry was that she was frustrated with her widowed security guard father Jack (Mark Houghton) and her stepmother Lindy (Desiree Zurowski), and she decided to partake in some destructive behavior with her recently paroled boyfriend Marcus Bohem (Alex O’Loughlin.)  She essentially has to be her younger brother Victor’s (Alex Ferris) mother, since their parents aren’t doing a good job.  The ironic thing was that Marcus was the one who turned her in…but he didn’t want to tell her that fact.  Nick was not…in fact…heading for London.  He was getting drunk at a classmate’s party to drown his sorrows because of his mother’s discovery of his plane tickets.  Annie and her goons bring Pete with them and look for Nick.  They find him walking down the road, and they beat him to an inch of his life.  They freak though, because they think that he is dead, so they dump his body in a sewer shaft.  The next morning, Nick comes out of the sewer, and he goes to school.  When he gets to class, he is literally invisible to everyone.  After awhile, he realizes that he is stuck in a kind of limbo between the living and the dead where he can see and hear everything.  Detectives Brian Larson (Callum Keith Rennie) and Kate Tunney (Michelle Harrison) are on the case to find Nick (or at least his body)…but he can’t help them find him, because they can’t see or hear him.  The one person who might be able to find him is the one who put him in this ghostly state…Annie.  He has to hurry though…because he has to convince her to save him before he stays dead permanently.

The Review:

I was excited to see The Invisible ever since the trailers started appearing for months beforehand.  When it was supposed to be released last February, I became a little concerned.  When it announced that they wouldn’t be screening it for critics, I became doubly concerned because Buena Vista (a.k.a. Disney) usually screens everything.  Still…I wanted to see it.  Even my girlfriend wanted to see it…and she usually isn’t interested in seeing sci-fi movies.  While it wasn’t one of the worst movies this year, it was a lot more disappointing than I had hoped (my girlfriend wasn’t crazy about it either.)

Let’s start out with the lead character’s “ghostly” powers.  As you see in the trailer, Nick can touch people and objects, but those things go back their original place seconds later.  He throws a book across the room, but then that book goes back to its original location.  It looks cool at first, but when you see it over and over, it gets annoying.  At one point, Nick throws another character off a building, only to have that character safe and sound on the building’s rooftop.  What the…?  Okay…so I could buy that Nick’s “killer” was also the only person who could sense his presence (shades of 1990’s Ghost…but not), but I couldn’t understand Nick’s ghostly teleportation powers.  Sure…he can teleport next to one person or another in a split second, but…even though he can appear next to his own dying body…when another person moves Nick’s body later in the movie, he has to run down a hill to be next to it!  Why couldn’t he just appear next to it as he did previously in the flick?

The movie is a remake of a 2002 Swedish film called Den Osynlige, which was in turn based on Mats Wahl’s 2001 young adult novel of the same name.  I’ve never seen that movie (or read the book), but I did read a detailed synopsis of it.  Apparently, the theory that the American remake of a foreign film is always worse is not true…when the original sucks as well.  I will give it props for the fact that it stayed true to the adaptation of the original’s gimmick of having the lead character interact with objects for a second before they go back to their original location.  That doesn’t make it any less annoying.

The acting was a little over the top.  Chatwin came to fame as Tom Cruise’s son in 2005’s War of the Worlds, and I think that he may have potential as a lead in the future…but just not here though.  I liked Levieva’s performance in the all-too-brief existence of FOX’s serial drama “Vanished,” but she was just a little too hot to be the movie’s bully.  I found it odd that they made her the villain and the sorta-love interest at the same time.  Written by someone else, I might have bought it.

Maybe its director, David S. Goyer, should have written The Invisible.  As a screenwriter, he wrote 1998’s Dark City, 2005’s Batman Begins, and all three Blade movies (and yes…I liked 2004’s Blade: Trinity.)  Curiously, he didn’t write the screenplay for this movie.  The original movie’s screenwriter, Mick Davis, wrote it along with someone named Christine Roum.  That probably explains why they were both similar in suckiness.  Goyer has a chance to redeem himself though, because he will direct and write the X-Men spin-off movie Magneto.  As for this movie, I bet he wishes that he were invisible in order to distance himself from it.


Get the 2001 Mats Wahl novel, translated by Katarina Tucker:

Buy this book at

Ratings System:


Catch this movie at the theater if you can...

Wait until it comes out on video...

Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...

Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!

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