John Hanlon Reviews

Film Reviews

Victor Frankenstein Review

Victor Frankenstein

Genre: Action and Adventure

Director: Paul McGuigan

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy, Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott

MPAA-Rating: PG-13

Release Date: November 25th, 2015

Victor Frankenstein marks the first collaboration between two young and exciting actors. One of them is Daniel Radcliffe, there the actor made famous by Harry Potter who has proven himself to be well beyond that one role. The other is James McAvoy, case a great actor (in films such as The Last King of Scotland and Atonement) who has seldom received the accolades he deserves.

Together, buy information pills the duo attempt to breathe new life into Frankenstein’s well-known story in their new film Victor Frankenstein.

Loosely adapted from Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, the drama focuses its attention on the scientist who brought the monster to life. Played by McAvoy, Victor is brilliant, cunning and cold-hearted. He doesn’t care for people much. He simply wants to study them believing, as he says, that “death can be a temporary proposition.”

When Victor travels to the circus and witnesses a hunchback named Igor (Radcliffe) saving the life of a performer named Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay), he doesn’t care for Igor. He just wants to use him and use him, he does. Victor saves Igor but when the duo arrive at Victor’s home, Victor pounces on Igor to fix his back issues. Not one for bedside banner, Victor’s abrupt and frightening  manner only foreshadows what is to come as he recruits Igor to help him bring life back to the dead.

Taking a page from the recent Sherlock Homes features starring Robert Downey Jr. (which slowed fights down to showcase some of the physical movements involved), this feature often pauses to show the inner anatomical working of some of the characters here. For instance, when Lorelei falls during a performance, director Paul McGuigan shows us an outline of the organs that are prohibiting her from breathing properly. It’s a nice choice considering that Victor — a scientist who needs to know the anatomical structure of his subjects —  is obsessed with life and all of the elements that contribute to that.

The screenplay by Max Landis also allows time for the characters to develop, especially Victor himself. It’s easy to see why people are often so agitated by his presence but it’s also easy to see why he makes the choices he does. He believes in science above everything else. Hiding behind science, he loses any sense of morality and focuses on the goal at hand. McAvoy brings his insane bravado to life, imbuing his character with boisterousness, passion and an undeniable sense of self-worth.

When he’s successful too, he comes to grips with his own decisions realizing — too late — the destructiveness of his mission.

The movie’s most telling flaw is that the monster, who ultimately rears his head in the third act, doesn’t offer the excitement that one would expect from a Frankenstein film. There’s a lot of build up here to the science experiment that Victor ultimately undertakes but the climax is a tad underwhelming, never showing the full breadth of the monster’s destructive power.

What makes up for that flaw though is McGuigan’s visual style, which brings a captivating power to some of the feature’s set pieces. One of those pieces is a nicely-orchestrated chase scene during which Igor escapes the circus while another one is a scene showing the two lead characters bringing an animal to life. One wishes that McGuigan would’ve done more with the climax here but there’s a lot to like about this film.

Victor Frankenstein might not have fulfilled the promise of its subject material but it’s interesting enough to keep audiences captivated by two young actors and a young director who offer a unique retelling of this well-known story.

Review by: John Hanlon