‘Il Ragazzo Invisibile’
The Invisible Boy is available now on Apple T.V., Amazon, YouTube and other major streaming platforms.
Just like the titular hero at its heart, Oscar-winning Italian director Gabriele Salvatores The Invisible Boy (Il Ragazzo Invisibile) all but vanished outside of Italy. Here his delightful 2014 comic-book-inspired treat would languish in the mists of time until its quiet release on streaming services in the U.K. in 2016. However, The Invisible Boy is a unique and delightful treat as it embraces a deep love of classic comic book action and adventure. Here Michele’s (Ludovico Girardello) adventures are coupled with the trials and tribulations of early adolescence. His journey, wrapped in identity issues, first love, and social isolation. His newly discovered and decidedly tricky superpower, both exciting and problematic.
From the outset, young Michele sits uncomfortably on the periphery of his peer group, neither accepted nor disliked; his presence at school verges on invisibility to all but two bullies. Both of these boys make Michele’s life a living hell, as they devise new torments that seek to humiliate him at every opportunity, mainly due to Michele’s mother (Valeria Golino) being the local Police Inspector.
However, despite his ongoing torment, Michele is excited by the prospect of an upcoming Halloween party. He plans to attend as Spider-Man, and after saving his money, Michele is ready to purchase his costume after school. However, his regular bullies thwart his plans after stealing Michele’s cash. Gutted but not defeated, Michele decides to hunt the town for a cheaper outfit. He soon finds a small Chinese store, and with only five euros to his name, he purchases a tight-fitting and decidedly dull superhero costume.
Michele heads to the party, conscious that his costume is too tiny and decidedly revealing for a young teenage boy. However, needs must, and nothing will distract him from his mission to talk to his classmate and secret crush Stella (Noa Zatta). But on arrival, Michele, once again, finds himself at the centre of jokes and humiliation – his only escape, the bathroom, where he wishes he was invisible.
Now they say you should always be careful what you wish for in the heat of the moment and never was this more true than for Michele. As he wakes from his slumber, Michele finds he is completely invisible! Thinking things through as he moves around his bedroom, Michele’s only answer to this puzzle is that the cheap costume he purchased and his wish has somehow conspired to make him disappear. But that’s not all that swirls around Michele’s head as he considers the potential of this new power.
Michele quickly learns his power has more than a few positives, including the torment of his bullies, the ability to listen to secret conversations, and yes, even the freedom to sneak into the girls changing room. However, there is also a downside, as his invisibility also wears off over time, something Michele quickly learns as he is left standing naked on several occasions. But are Michele’s new powers attached to a wish, or has puberty unleashed a much more significant genetic change?
The Invisible Boy (2014)
The Invisible Boy is delightfully fresh and engaging throughout, paying homage to X-Men, Spider-Man and the original Invisible Man while also finding a distinctive voice. Here the sheer artistry of Italian filmmaking remains intact. Its rousing score and stunning cinematography dovetailed with coming-of-age themes—the result giving mainstream American studios a run for their money. Here The Invisible Boy leaves us wanting more as it weaves its way toward a delicious final twist that paved the way for a sequel in 2018. However, on writing this review, that sequel is not available here in the U.K., meaning we will all have to wait a little longer before joining Michele on his next big adventure.
Director: Gabriele Salvatores