The Invisibles has precisely three characters, is filmed in black and white, and takes place all in one room. Still with me? Good, because it’s a much more entertaining experiment than it has any right to be. After realizing what the filmmaker’s ‘gimmick’ was, I was tempted to get annoyed, but a few things changed my mind: two cool actors and a witty script.Joy is a famous fashion model. Jude is a famous rock star. They’ve both hightailed it out of a French detox center when their paths cross. (Actually, Joy finds Jude on the street in a puddle of his own vomit, but you can see the movie for yourself if you want details that specific!) The leggy blonde tosses Jude into a shopping cart and brings him to her apartment...and that’s where they stay for the next 80-some minutes. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Why would I want to watch 80-some minutes of a heroin-addicted rock star and an alcoholic fashion model whining about how difficult their lives are? I have trouble paying my phone bill!!’
Because (aside from a few slow spots) The Invisibles is not a pity party for these two disaffected ‘artists’. Sure, they wallow here and there, but several of the pair’s conversations are absolutely fascinating. The quick and biting screenplay by Noah Stern (who also directed) allows the duo to feel each other out, strike up a likeable chemistry, discuss all sorts of juicy dirt and pop culture minutiae, forge a desperate romance, and orders lots of pizza. A self-reliant impromptu detox session becomes a friendship, which inevitably becomes a love affair, and all the while the viewer thinks “Heck, I thought I’d hate these characters.
Though Stern’s screenplay is worthy of praise, it’s the two lead performances that offer the most surprises. Michael A. Goorjian (Hard Rain) strikes an admirable balance between ‘pampered celebrity’ and ‘legitimate artist’, never allowing his potentially obnoxious character become too self-important. Fans of Ally McBeal may enjoy seeing the lovely Portia de Rossi as Joy, while every male creature in the known universe will be thrilled to learn that she spends 97% of the film in a flimsy nightgown. Portia may not be the next Meryl Streep, but I more than ‘bought’ her in this role, and it’s a testament to her skills that her spoiled model never once becomes overtly irritating. Special mention is due to Terry Camilleri, who drops in from time to time as the world’s most considerate Pizza Guy.
Is The Invisibles a bit pretentious and artsy-fartsy? Sure, but no big deal. If the idea of a rock star and a supermodel spending a week together in one room sounds sort of intriguing, this is a scrappy little indie you might want to search out.It may not be brilliant cinema, but any movie (however ‘experimental’) that can capably hold your interest for 90 minutes – particularly considering how claustrophobic the setting – is worthy of my recommendation.