Franklyn

"Weak"

Franklyn Review


Have you ever experienced something that is simultaneously both admirable and annoying? Bono engaging the Pope on contraception, perhaps. Or maybe Ernest Vincent Wright's 'Gadsby' - a book written in its entirety without the letter 'e'? Well, Gerald Mcmorrow's 'Franklyn' very much falls into this category, occasionally even approximating those transcendental nadirs of irritation such as when, in the erstwhile example, John Paul II actually donned Bono's 'fly shades' for that most unholy of photo ops

The film is composed of four story strands each centring on a different character. Sam Riley plays Milo, a heartbroken young rake recently jilted at the altar. Eva Green is the panda-eyed goth-artist, Emilia, an enfant terrible railing against her mother and university course via the production of macabre videos of her various suicide attempts. Bernard 'gizza job' Hill plays Peter Esser, a church warden searching for his missing son and Ryan Phillipe is Preest a sack-masked vigilante battling his way against the state officials of the Meanwhile City theocracy.

This quadruple weave does not necessitate a problem in and of itself, but there is a discernable incongruity between the high-octane, comic book escapades of Preest's Meanwhile City and the rather more grey-filtered shots of the other three characters' contemporary London. Whilst such juxtaposition need not necessarily serve pejoratively, the obvious differences in both tone and production spend on the two backdrops is jarring and the upshot is a film that does not flow particularly well. That said, considering the very modest budget of £6 million, the Meanwhile City scenes are very impressive and somewhat reminiscent of James McTeigue's 'V for Vendetta' - a film with 9 times its budget. No mean feat for a directorial debut.

A larger problem, however, is the script which does not start pulling together on the film's various strands until the final act thus making for a somewhat confused middle section. Furthermore, whilst this final act is undoubtedly the picture's most accomplished piece of movie-making, the denouement is nowhere near equivalent to the duration spent waiting for the plot come together. The action and dialogue also suffer from being somewhat overly stylised. There are only a certain number of times you can take a long, heavy sigh, a slow, 'meaningful' pull on a cigarette or an ennui-ridden crypticism before it begins to become grating cliché.

Having said all this, the ambition and strangeness of the film is laudable and there are uniformly decent performances from the ensemble cast, with Bernard Hill perhaps being the pick of the bunch. Sam Riley and Eva Green are two of our more charismatic young actors and have already made two fine films in Anton Corbijn's 'Control' and Bernardo Bertolucci's 'The Dreamers' respectively. They will surely go on to bigger and better things. Indeed there is enough here to make a case for the same being true of Gerald Mcmorrow, but whilst 'Franklyn' may achieve a small cultish following, it remains a curate's egg of a film attempting to be an arthouse flick about the nature of destiny, a graphic novel blockbuster and a critique of our treatment of military veterans all at the same time. The result is a movie that is very much less than the sum of it parts. Which is annoying in and of itself.



Franklyn

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 27th February 2009

Budget: $12M

Distributed by: Contender

Production compaines: UK Film Council, Aramid Entertainment Fund, Recorded Picture Company (RPC), Film4

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 59%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Gerald McMorrow

Producer:

Starring: as Emilia, as Preest, as Esser, as Milo, as Tarrant, as Dan, as Margaret, as Police Officer, as Naomi, as Frank Grant, Gary Pillai as Doctor, Jeanie Gold as Patient, Jay Fuller as Monk

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.