Making the Grades
So what happens between life and death? Nick Powell (Justin Chatwin) hasn't really thought much about it until he finds himself in the twilight zone between both realms. Only weeks away from high school graduation, the seemingly perfect student has a run in with the wrong crowd. Mistakenly accused of ratting them out to the police, he is attacked on a quiet street, brutally kicked and hit before ending up at the bottom of a sewage pipe.
But even after the severe gang thrashing, the golden boy, who supplements his allowance by writing and selling essays to his classmates, doesn't realize he is dead. Showing up at school, he can't understand why everyone ignores him, talking about him as if he weren't there. Only slowly does the high school senior begin to realize he is invisible to the other students, his mother and the world.
However, Nick isn't the only one who is invisible. The script is built around characters that are seen but never really noticed. Nick, who lost his father at age 13, sees his mom (Marcia Gay Hardin) as a cold, controlling woman without a shred of sympathy or compassion. Even after his own death, Nick blames her for his unhappy home life, never understanding the pain she is hiding. His schoolmate Annie (Margarita Levieva) is a defiant rebel who glowers from beneath her hood and inflicts painful penalties on anyone unwise enough to cross her path. Hanging out with a paroled con (Alex O'Loughin), her tough appearance and criminal actions conceal a horrible home life full of abuse and neglect. The real core of the characters unfolds as Officers Larson (Callum Keith Rennie) and Tunney (Michelle Harrison) begin their investigation.
This detective-style screenplay has more depth than the average teen horror film, avoiding unnecessary special effects as well as the usual jump scenes and gory ghosts. Instead, it focuses more on the unveiling of the characters and the emotional consequences for the perpetrators. Still, the movie has plenty of violent incidents, like when bullies corral a boy in the school bathroom, using knives to encourage him to pay an overdue debt. Brutal beatings and close-range shootings are also portrayed with bloody results, and personal lives are torn apart by family fights, a suicide attempt and out-of-control criminals.
Living in a separate dimension, the unseen Nick tries to work his way back to the world of the living -- but to do so he has to catch the attention of someone who's already there. Based on a Swedish film, the chilling storyline has a promising premise, however the graphic violence may have many parents choosing to leave this movie on the unseen list.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Invisible.
People notice but don’t really see one another in this film. In what ways are the characters invisible to each other? How do their attitudes about each other change once they see the real person?
The public images and private lives of the characters are often very different. How do those differences keep people from connecting in meaningful ways? How has Annie’s public persona changed since elementary school? In what ways has Nick changed?