What kind of lunatic dresses up in a reinforced unitard and fights crime? It's a question that countless comic-book origin stories usually answer insufficiently, dropping science-fiction tropes and Psych 101 explanations to disguise some obvious roots in adolescent wish-fulfillment. Australian director Leon Ford's first feature comes at the subject sideways, initially making it unclear whether titular superhero Griff (True Blood's Kwanten) is a costumed crime-fighter posing as a mild-mannered shipping clerk or merely a deranged office drone who imagines himself the savior of a world. During the day, Griff is bullied by a smarmy coworker; at night, he moves unseen, or perhaps simply ignored. At the very least, there's a self-proclaimed "experimentalist" (Dermody) who shares Griff's eccentric worldview, and once this female interloper stumbles on his secret identity, she starts angling to be both his sidekick and his love interest.
The movie is stocked with charming visual gags---dig Griff, in a bowler hat and a yellow rain slicker, reclining against a yellow-and-black-striped wall, nearly realizing the invisibility he fails to achieve scientifically---but it's a rickety ride, choppily edited, and blurs the distinction between ambiguity and incoherence. Ford has come up with a nifty way of exploring the enduring allure and troubling underside of the superhero myth. It's just too bad his own all-too-human powers aren't quite up to the task.
Follow Sam Adams on Twitter: @SamuelAAdams
Watch the trailer
|Release date:||Friday August 19 2011|