Movie Review: ‘Victor Frankestein’ – Delightful, emotional and bold
Told from Igor’s perspective, we see the troubled young assistant’s dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man – and the legend – we know today.
Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) is a circus hunchback rescued from a life of ridicule by Frankenstein (James McEvoy), who believes that Igor, a brilliant amateur student of human anatomy, can help him animate the dead.
We see Frankenstein’s world through Igor’s eyes, and while McGuigan retains many of the familiar Gothic tropes – the gloomy laboratory, the descent into madness of a man who attempts to thwart the will of God – the story belongs in equal part to Igor, as he falls in love with Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay) and struggles to keep his megalomaniacal benefactor on an even keel.
Meanwhile, the religious Inspector Turpin (Andrew Scott) is hot on the trail of Frankenstein and Igor, suspecting them of the foulest of deeds – and launches a mission to discover what Frankenstein is up to.
It’s an odd blend in many ways, and even allowing for the subject matter, the tone is deliberately, but delightfully, emotional right from the start.
Radcliffe wanders through the movie with his eyes saucer-wide with naïve sincerity, while McEvoy plays Frankenstein as a demented evil genius, grinning and gurning throughout like some kind of diabolical Cheshire cat.
It’s less of a horror than it is a fast-paced steampunk adventure romp, with the glowering Andrew Scott something of a relief when he pops up as the God-fearing policeman prophesying damnation, and if you’re willing to play along with the grotesque exaggeration of mood and tone, it’s an enjoyable slice of metaphysical kitsch.
The film builds up to a dramatic final scene with plenty of action, but overall one of Igor’s early comments that ‘We know the story’ is all too true, even if this is more about the creators than the monster.
‘Victor Frankenstein’ hit the theaters in November 25.
Film details: Victor Frankenstein (12A) 110mins
Director: Paul McGuigan
Writer: Max Landis
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay
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