FILM REVIEW - VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN
Directed by Paul McGuigan.
Starring Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay.
It's alive. Barely.
For this “reimagining” of Frankenstein, Chronicle Screenwriter Max Landis takes Mary Shelley’s novel, chops it up and stitches the bodyparts together with a glut of other references and influences.
Daniel Radcliffe starts out as a nameless hunchback working as circus freak. Wee Daniel also happens to be a wiz at anatomy, and is rescued from a life of servitude by mad genius Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy). After a vomit-inducing bit of boil-lancing and the quickest Queer Eye makeover in cinematic history, he’s given a new name (Igor) and a new job as Frankenstein’s apprentice. Victor’s discovered how to animate things with biological energy and a magical fork, and he needs Igor’s anatomical talents to further his research. Meanwhile, bible-thumping DI Turpin (Andrew Scott) is trying to fit Frankenstein to a murder, and there’s something cooking in the basement.
Radcliffe is slowly overcoming the burden of growing up in front of the camera. As an actor, he gets better with each role and is by far the best element in this unholy mess. His enthusiasm and commitment is hard to resist. On the other hand, McAvoy knows far better than to take any of it seriously and overacts with every fibre in his being (say it, don’t spray it James).
Spotting where the various elements have been lifted from – a taste of Tim Burton here, a slice of Guy Ritchie there, and a healthy dollop of David Cronenberg body horror over the top – is entertaining for a while but eventually becomes distracting. It is instantly forgettable. Just like the monster, Victor Frankenstein is not built for longevity.