Opening 12 May 2016
Writing credits: Max Landis, Mary Shelley
Principal actors: James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott
“You know the story … mad genius … monster … sometimes man is the monster.” Back to the beginning: a circus clown, freak—no ordinary one, mind you—meets the man who changes his life forever. Their unique friendship is of survivor being saved, and visa versa. Victor (McAvoy), a brainy medical student at London’s Royal College, recognizes the gifted talent of the uneducated clown. Once implicated, Victor creates a mutually beneficial atmosphere. Igor (Radcliffe) reacquaints himself with the trapeze artist Lorelei (Brown Findlay); to keep Igor’s focus, Victor appoints him his assistant on a “personal project.” In parallel action, Scotland Yard Inspector Turpin’s (Scott) dedication becomes obsessive. When wealthy fellow medical student (Freddie Fox) gets involved, the intensity of Frankenstein’s experiment brings his goal—immortalizing the family name—closer.
Director Paul McGuigan’s approach, with a film adaptation from Max Landis, concentrates on Igor—the monster’s alter ego—and Victor’s relationship. McAvoy and Radcliffe’s performances are strong, with a good supporting cast. Talented professionals design very atmospheric settings: Eve Stewart’s Production Design; Art Direction with Grant Armstrong supervising; Michael Standish’s Set Decoration; Jany Temime’s Costume Design. Fabian Wagner’s moody camera angles are complemented by Craig Armstrong’s music. Editors Andrew Hulme and Charlie Phillips do regrettably not maintain the film’s initial pace. This twist on Mary Shelley’s 1818 Gothic novel, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is worthwhile, more in keeping with the heart of Shelley’s novel – a tragic figure overcome by his own brilliance, which many (critics) seem unaware of. (Marinell Haegelin)