Director Paul McGuigan (TV's Sherlock & Luke Cage) and screenwriter Max Landis (AMERICAN ULTRA) have attempted to do for the Frankenstein story what Guy Ritchie did for SHERLOCK HOLMES. The resulting film is a partial success. A grimy/glamorous Victorian London is beautifully recreated and photogaphed by DP Fabian Wagner (JUSTICE LEAGUE) and the acting from the two leads - James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe - gives the rather hokey story some emotional heft. But the story is obviously hokey and whether you ultimately enjoy the film depends on how far you're willing to be be swept away by the production design and acting and ignore the rather weak attempts to broaden out the backstory of the Frankenstein legend and the fact that neither the script nor the delivery have the crackling wit that enlivened the SHERLOCK HOLMES reboot and winked at its more ludicrous excesses. In Max Landis' take, Frankenstein (McAvoy) is trying to recreate life because of his guilt in causing the death of his brother and to win back the respect of his father (Charles Dance.) Radcliffe plays his sidekick Igor. In this version, Igor is a circus clown rescued by Frankenstein - his back drained of pus in one of the movie's more absurd scenes - and given a Victorian extreme makeover. The relationship is put under strain by Igor's greater moral qualms about resurrecting life and his love affair with Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay. All of which has the makings of a proper tragic drama, in the manner of Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein film, but both director and writer want to make something more kinetic and funny, which mixed success.
VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN has a running time of 110 minutes and is rated PG-13. The movie is on global release.
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