Saturday, 30 May 2009


It's a weird movie, in more than one way ... but really the only truly interesting parts of the movie are those set in Meanwhile City (which becomes a bit of a jip later in the movie, as you'll see once (if) you watch Franklyn).

It's a nifty idea - a dystopian future (not especially new) where you MUST have a religion, even if it's simply the instructions to a washing machine (interesting). The costumes are cool, the architecture is cool, the ideas set in and around Meanwhile City are cool.

However, Franklyn (the titular character) does feel like a Rorschach rip-off - he sounds similar and he looks remarkably similar - and he's the best thing about the movie (well, until he de-masks and reveals himself to be Ryan Phillipe ... which is a bit disappointing because you just want to see him hustling about the city with his mask on, to be honest).

The main - and pervasive - fault with this flick is, however, the sheer lack of depth and colour to all the loosely connected characters and ideas. There's a wealth of characterisation left unfilled, and a host of ideas left mentioned but soon forgotten.

Another annoyance is the assumption from the beginning that either - you're supposed to be completely lost and have no idea what's happening, (let alone why we keep jumping from the super-cool-looking Meanwhile City, to the rather drab present day London), or you're supposed to be already clued up before you see the movie. I half-thought there was a graphic novel prequel I was supposed to have read beforehand, but nope, it's just the way the movie presents itself.

As for the characters, in addition to not being fleshed out, they're either not very interesting, or flat-out annoying. Misery guts who is pining throughout for a lost love who we've never even seen in the first place is just a mopey bastard making London even greyer around him. Bernard Hill is convincingly nice, and easy to pity - but that's about it. Ror...I mean Franklyn, while pretty cool, never seems to have a lot going on that supports the gravitas he conveys ... and Eva Green's 'tortured artist' is just an upper-middle-class pain in the arse whose 'art' is a cringe worthy load of bollocks vaguely connected (maybe) to her tortured-when-convenient relationship with her mother ... her character-introducing therapy session just comes off as another spoiled rich girl being a decidedly cliched tourist of emotional disruption.

Then you finally find out what the fuck is going on, and why we keep ending up back in miserable old shitty London all the time instead of just staying in Meanwhile City, and a wave of "meh" washes over you.

There's signs of promise throughout this movie, and it's mighty impressive on a pokey British budget, but the lack of fleshed-out ideas, focus and decisive direction fails it.

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