Thursday, October 16, 2008

London Film Festival Day 2 - FRANKLYN

Rorschach anyone?!FRANKLYN is the debut feature from British writer-director Gerald McMorrow. It's a movie about the delayed impact of emotional trauma on three people living in contemporary London - a suicidal video artist (Eva Green); a jilted lover (Sam Riley) and an Iraqi war vet. The first half of the movie shows the three characters failing to cling to reality and plays their fantasy worlds as reality, not least in a gothic "Meanwhile City" where a Ministry sanctions a multitude of religious cults and a masked vigilante rails against who knows what.

The scenes in the real world have a certain satisfaction insofar as they are well-acted by a strong cast and pack an emotional punch. But I feel that McMorrow has failed to tie together the real and fantasy strands of his film. Despite the portentious voiceover from Ryan Philippe's vigilante, we are given precious little information. At first, I thought this was being the movie was baiting the audience and would reveal a richness of interlocking later on. Actually, when we figure out what's happening, which isn't hard to do, it's all a bit thin and bathetic.

So, I have to say that FRANKLYN was a rather disappointing and unsatisfying experience - setting up a complex interlocking world but failing to deliver. On the positive side, I loved the way McMorrow placed and moved his camera and I definitely liked the GORMENGHAST meets BEETLEJUICE fantasy world production design. But, in the final analysis, the lack of narrative coherence (and the similarity of the vigilante outfit to
Rorschach) let the movie down.

FRANKLYN played London 2008 and opens in the UK on January 30th 2009.

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