Griff The Invisible on Blu-ray

Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) is Griff, a cripplingly-shy, socially inept office worker by day, and a fearless, PVC-wearing street avenger by night. His house is tooled-up with banks of computer monitors scanning Sydney’s streets for thugs and street gangs. When the alarm signal sounds, Griff leaps into action to take the offending scum down. You might think it sounds a bit like “Kick-Ass”, but there is more to “Griff” than initially meets the eye.

Griff’s brother Tim (Patrick Brammall – Home and Away) keeps an eye on his younger sibling; 28-year-old Griff has a history of being bullied ever since his school days, and Tim is concerned that he might be having fresh trouble at work. This in turn encourages his extra-curricular activities at night, as donning his superhero outfit helps Griff take on a completely new persona and leave his workplace troubles far behind. Then Tim’s new girlfriend Melody (Maeve Dermody – “Beautiful Kate”) enters the picture, and both of their lives get turned upside down.

Griff The Invisible: on DVD & Blu-rayAs the police start closing the net around the vigilante, and Griff’s boss at work becomes aware of someone snooping around the office at night, a twist in the film threatens to take it down more tragic avenues, and Griff’s future begins to look very bleak.

This Australian picture is more of a romantic drama-comedy than a superhero feature, and without giving too much away the film is more concerned with its characters and more specifically character flaws than it is about action sequences and special effects, though both do feature and are quite competently realised through a combination of Kwanten’s athleticism and some CGI embellishment.

The characterisation is nicely fleshed out for a relatively short movie, and Griff and Melody are particularly sweet in their own quirky ways. Tim treads a fine line between annoying, prying brother and genuinely concerned friend. There are two chief antagonists: work colleague Tony (a superbly snide performance from Toby Schmitz – “Somersault”), and a mysterious, barely-glimpsed cloak and top-hat wearing gang boss who closely resembles The Penguin from Batman.

Aside but also inseparable from the romantic angle, the movie’s heart is focused on a discussion of identity and perception of the world we live in. Viewers familiar with “Franklyn” will be able to identify with some of the issues this raises, and although “Griff” does it using a lighter tone and brush, it does help to give the film some welcome substance.

In summary, this is a sweet and heart-warming little movie with some interesting points to make, a charismatic cast with good chemistry, and action that avoids the hyper-violence of recent entries into the superhero genre. The picture quality of the DVD version reviewed is impressively bold and clean.

The slightly skimpy special features include interviews with Kwanten, Dermody, writer/director Leon Ford and producer Nicole O’Donohue, along with a trailer for the movie.

“Griff the Invisible” (2010) is released on out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Matchbox Films. The main feature has a running time of 90 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £15.99 on DVD, £17.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com