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Victor Frankenstein
Igor / Frankenstein / Docteur Frankenstein

UK / Canada / USA 2015
produced by
John Davis, Derek Dauchy (executive), Ira Shuman (executive) for Davis Entertainment, Moving Picture Company (MPC)/20th Century Fox
directed by Paul McGuigan
starring Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Freddie FoxCharles Dance, Bronson Webb, Daniel Mays, Spencer Wilding, Robin Pearce, Andrew Scott, Callum Turner, Di Botcher, Eve Ponsonby, Will Keen, Louise Brealey, Nicola Sloane, Alistair Petrie, Neil Bell, Mark Gatiss, Guillaume Delaunay
screenplay by Max Landis, based on the novel Frankenstein by Mary W. Shelley, music by Craig Armstrong, visual effects by Moving Picture Company (MPC), prosthetics by Millennium FX, Waldo Mason Effects

Frankenstein

review by
Mike Haberfelner



Hunchbacked Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) is the lowest of the low clowns at a circus, but he's also a brilliant surgeon, spending all of his time not on stage studying anatomy books. Then trapeze artist Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay), Igor's secret love, has a terrible accident. Rather by chance, Doctor Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) is in the audience and tries to save the girl's life, but it's ultimately Igor who really succeeds doing just that. This impresses Frankenstein very much, and thus he frees Igor from the circus, but upon their getaway, a man is killed through no fault of their own, and soon enough they've got Inspector Turpin (Andrew Scott) on their trail, who's not so much looking for the killer of some carny folk but for someone who collects animal parts for - he suspects - some unholy cause ... and unfortunately, Frankenstein has dropped a bag containing a lion's foot at the scene of the crime ...

At Frankenstein's lab, Victor soon heals Igor of his bad back and immediately makes him his assistant, as their brilliance in the medical science is pretty much equal, but Igor lacks Frankenstein's vision - and thus he learns that Frankenstein actually tries to create a living being out of body parts from assorted animals only much too late. Eventually, they manage to bring one of Frankenstein's creations to life though in a poorly attended demonstration at the university, and they manage to tickle the interest of an investor, Finnegan (Freddie Fox), who agrees to support them. After the demonstration is over though, Frankenstein's creature turns evil and almost kills Frankenstein and Igor, and they only just manage to kill it - which ultimately gets Inspector Turpin on their trail again. But as of now, Igor and Victor still try to figure out where they went wrong, and come to the conclusion that next time they have to create a thinking being that can reason not to turn evil ... or something. Anyway, they want to create a human, and Finnegan is fascinated by the idea. However, the police close in on Frankenstein, and ultimately he and Igor have to make a narrow escape ...

At Finnegan's, Igor has second thoughts of creating a human, so Finnegan gets rid of him, trying to have him drowned, but he survives, and Lorelei, the girl he saved back when and who has since become his girlfriend, now nurses him back to health. Then it's off to Finnegan's secret and remote lab, where Frankenstein is about to give life to his creature - and ultimately Igor arrives to late, as Frankenstein succeeds, but the creature isn't at all as benign as planned. And then Inspector Turpin shows up as well, and the stage is set for utter chaos ...

Charles Dance makes a brief appearance as Victor's father.

 

For undisclosed reasons, this movie tries to tell the age-old Frankenstein tale from hunchback Igor's perspective - only apart from the beginning, Igor isn't Igor at all but a character who most closely resembles Henri Clerval in Mary W. Shelley's source novel, Frankenstein's learned friend and partner without his vision but higher moral standards, which leads to the assumption that Igor is only Igor for the circus setpiece at the beginning, to add some spectacle to the proceedings - and this is the main fault of the movie, it derives the source material of all moral ambiguity (also by creating a clearly identifiable baddie in Finnegan) but adds lots of action, like fights and chases to the story - not at all unlike what Guy Ritchie has done in Sherlock Holmes a few years prior. So basically it just tries to be a blockbuster, even if that means to hollow out everything that has made the character so far. And it works even less here as basically the film lacks any interesting characters, and while James McAvoy's Frankenstein is a very decent portrayal, he lacks Robert Downey jr's charm to butter over his character's emptiness. Likewise, Daniel Radcliffe's sorcerer's apprentice character is too one-dimensional to connect with the audience. And while most earlier versions of Frankenstein focussed on the horror aspects of the material, which is only logical, this is a movie that doesn't come across as creepy at all.

It's really a lost chance, as the film looks slick and obviously had a decent enough budget to do the material justice - it just fails.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
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starring
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out now on DVD