The darkly funny Australian charmer "Griff the Invisible" introduces its titular hero to us as nighttime caped crusader first, mild-mannered daytime office drone second. But writer-director Leon Ford also peels back third and fourth layers to star Ryan Kwanten's lonely vigilante — it seems there's more constricting him than his tight black suit — and that speaks to something more psychologically worrying about the secret existence Griff has created for himself.
When he meets cute, in-her-own-world weirdo Melody (Maeve Dermody) — who tests molecular-movement theory by walking into walls on the off chance she can pass through them — the movie seems destined for the usual misfit love story. Yet there's critical wit behind the appealingly eccentric romance on display in "Griff the Invisible" as it comically dismantles our superhero-worshiping culture.
More intriguingly, Ford explores the ways meant-to-bes thrive just as much by indulging each other's personality kinks as their better natures. He's aided greatly by his leads, who have genuine spark as they trade off emotional rescuing duties. Kwanten is especially wonderful, and physically unrecognizable from his memorable Jason Stackhouse on HBO's hit series "True Blood."
Griff may be reaching for the ever-elusive power of invisibility, but Kwanten's gift for evoking a befuddled, threatened masculinity is plain as day.
"Griff the Invisible." MPAA rating: PG-13 for some language and violence. Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes. At the Nuart, West Los Angeles.