Geoff Redknap’s The Unseen presents an interesting angle to the classic Invisible Man story. Unlike most films that revel in the spectacle of seeing a man disappear, Redkap offers a more somber approach. He treats the notion of the body wasting away like a disorder that is the source of shame and fear for those inflicted with it.
Once a promising hockey prodigy, Bob’s (Aden Young) life is in shambles due to a medical condition that very few people even know exist. Working a thankless job at a lumber yard, and living with the increasing physical pain caused by parts of his body literally disappearing, Bob struggles to keep his ailment a secret. However, when his teenage daughter Eva (Julie Sarah Stone) goes missing, Bob and his ex-wife Darlene (Camille Sullivan) commence a frantic search, one that forces him to confront a dark chapter from his past.
While the dark and somber tone works nicely with the sparsely used, but very effective, special effects, and the cinematography is excellent, The Unseen struggles to find its way from a narrative standpoint. Several of the subplots, such as the one in which Bob essentially becomes a drug mule for a criminal acquaintance (Ben Cotton) in exchange for getting his truck fixed feel uneven and forced. It does not help matters that the first half of the film meanders before tapping into the captivating relationship between Bob and Eva.
It is in these scenes that it becomes clear how essential the performances are to keeping the film afloat. Julie Sarah Stone, who displays the same star on the rise aura that she had in Wetbum, is exceptionally good in the film. She provides The Unseen with its most intriguing character as Eva tries to make sense of her family lineage while attempting to form some semblance of a relationship with her gruff father. Stone offers a nice contrast to Aden Young’s performance, which is a mixture of solemn angst and simmering rage, in the lead role. Young pulls off the tough task of conveying so much emotion while saying so little in the grand scheme of things.
Though the various element of the plot do not come together as smoothly as they should, there is still enough to warrant giving The Unseen a look. The family drama, anchored by the strong central performances and solid effects, helps the film to differentiate itself from other films inspired by H. G. Wells’ classic tale.
Saturday, November 26, 9:30 PM, Cineplex Cinemas (Yonge and Dundas)
Tickets can be purchased at The Blood in the Snow website.