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Film / Griff the Invisible

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The greatest superpower is love.
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Griff the Invisible is a 2010 Australian romantic comedy-drama written and directed by Leon Ford.

Our hero is Griff (Ryan Kwanten), a socially awkward office worker who is bullied by his workmates during the day but at night he becomes Griff the Invisible, a superhero who patrols the streets of his neighborhood, fighting bad guys and protecting the innocent. Griff's life is transformed when he meets a beautiful young daughter of a hardware store owner called Melody (Maeve Dermody) who shares his passion for the impossible.


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Tropes in the film include:

  • Ambiguous Disorder: Both Griff and Melody.
    • Griff at first seems almost like a schizophrenic, with wild hallucinations and a complete separation from reality. However, it turns out deep down he knows it's all imaginary, so he isn't delusional, just a deeply antisocial Manchild with a wild imagination.
    • Melody doesn't seem to know how to interact with anyone and is prone to go off on random thought tangents. She immediately feels a connection to Griff because she can be herself with him.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Subverted. Griff is not remotely badass, but fancies himself one and wears an impeccable three piece suit to work everyday.
  • Beneath the Mask: This is Melody's explanation for why she fell in love with Griff. He can see through the mask and make her drop her defenses.
    Melody: I live in a bubble that no one, no one gets into. I feel like an alien. I live in a completely different world to the one everyone else is in. I can't communicate with anyone. I can talk to them but I cannot.. communicate. But you.. Griff, you get into my bubble.
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  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Tony seems like an overly friendly guy who just has no sense of personal space. Then it turns out he's just a Jerkass who enjoys tormenting Griff.
  • Clark Kent Outfit: Ryan Kwanten wears one throughout the film to hide the abs he often displays in True Blood.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Melody likes to go off on tangents about different scientific theories of hers, or about the strangeness of everyday activities, like drinking water.
    Melody: Isn't it funny to think that I just poured hydrogen and oxygen into this hole in my face, and now it's merging with all the other atoms in my body to become part of me. That is until my body decides to use it to flush out toxic waste... can I use your toilet?
  • Crazy-Prepared: Griff rigs up a webcam and microphone that he can move around the office to track Tony's movements so that the latter won't surprise him as part of his bullying. Later he uses the combo to just spy on Tony and humiliate him with the knowledge he gains.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The revelation that Griff is imagining most of his actions as a superhero transform the film from a quirky indie-superhero romance into a romantic comedy drama with a dose of Magical Realism.
  • Imagine Spot: Half the film.
  • Jerk Ass Has A Point: Griff's brother Tim may be a bit clueless and hurtful, but he does honestly want Griff to quit a hobby that he sees as a harmful addiction, which is backed up by Griff getting fired, beat up, and arrested.
  • Karma Houdini: Tony, Griff's Jerkass coworker. He continually bullies Griff at work because he's an easy target, gets humiliated by Griff, and hires a goon to beat the shit out of Griff. The last we see is him glaring at Griff on the street, but he's never fired from his job for harassing Griff.
  • Magical Realism: And how! Combined with the below mentioned Through the Eyes of Madness, we are never quite sure how much of what is happening is real. From an everyman becoming a superhero by night, to a woman trying to phase through walls, invisibility suits, combined with everyday office politics.
  • Mind Screw: The whole movie, of the romantic variety. Even after the reveal, certain things don't make sense, like Melody being invisible to Griff when he looks at her through his front door peephole. Later Melody and Griff witness her phasing through solid matter and falling through a door. They then decide to both get lost in their collective fantasy together.
  • Mundane Utility: Part of Griff's fantasy. What do you do, having discovered the ability to turn invisible and already being a superhero? Take revenge on your jerkass coworker.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Two characters. Tim is just clueless and doesn't take Melody's hints that she is not interested and tries to kiss her. Tony is actually just a Jerkass who enjoys touching Griff and messing with him.
  • Real After All: Maybe. Melody finally manages to phase through solid matter (the door) in full view of Griff, who is just as astounded by this occurrence as Melody.
  • Riddle for the Ages: The ending. Did Melody really fall through the door, or was it just her and Griff imagining it? Did Melody actually briefly turn invisible when she turned up at Griff's flat? Was Griff's cat real?
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Much of what Griff sees turns out to be in his imagination, from his high tech bank of computers, to the escape fire pole in his pantry, and even to his beating up criminals. Turns out he is not remotely capable in a fight, his apartment is completely ordinary, and his superhero costume is far more mundane than he imagines it. He seems to be only partially aware during most of the film that it is not real.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Several examples.
    • Three dates is not enough to consider yourself in a relationship, especially if one of the parties has clearly been ambivalent about it from the beginning.
    • Being late all the time, breaking into your place of work after hours, and hacking your coworker will get you fired.
    • The police actually have better things to do than prosecute a wannabe superhero who hasn't been hurting anyone.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-Universe Griff becomes this, once he tries to "be normal" and give up the fantasy. It comes off as so forced and uncomfortable that it lapses into Cringe Comedy. Melody is absolutely horrified by the transformation.

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