Paul McGuigan's VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN
Movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
The familiar story is told from Igor's perspective. Daniel Radcliffe plays the hunchback rescued from circus servitude by Dr. Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) while the latter is out and about looking for body parts. The good doctor cures Igor's hunchback, installs him as his medical assistant in a dilapidated London mansion complete with subterranean laboratory, and we're off to the races.
The details are all familiar--the interference of the townspeople, arguments about the morality of such experiments, even family arguments about money and career. What makes the movie really work, though, are the gorgeous production values, top-flight acting by the two leads, and a script that repeatedly teeters on the edge of camp and somehow manages to keep from irrevocably sliding over.
McAvoy really chews the scenery in this film with wild speeches with his channeling of the archetypal "mad scientist." He goes right up to the edge but somehow manages to keep from going over into outright parody. Radcliffe gives a restrained performance, one that is probably counter to every version of Igor you've ever seen. Somehow I think he has seen WINGS OF DESIRE and knows how to look up at a beautiful female trapeze artist with an appropriately controlled mix of lust and adoration.
It's my understanding that the film is not financially success. That's understandable, I think. We're not dealing with typical horror here, for example. The movie does have its moments of gore and ickiness. You can't have a Frankenstein movie without dealing with the fact of that the good doctor is "creating" living beings by sewing together bits and pieces of dead ones. The blood and gore on display here are relatively restrained compared with the stuff that's easily accessible on Netflix or Amazon prime. Perhaps that fact plus an entertainingly well-written and melodramatic script were what kept people away?
(c) 2016 by Dennis D. McDonald. Dennis is an independent management consultant living in Alexandria, Virginia. He plans, proposes, and manages data access, digital strategy, system development, and technology adoption projects. He has public sector (e.g., EPA, Veterans Affairs, NIH, World Bank, National Academy of Engineering) and private sector experience (e.g., Catalyst Rx, General Electric, Jive Software, AIG). Contact him via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (703-403-7382).