This adaptation of Paul McGuigan tries to modernize the literary work by emphasizing a strained relationship between a master and his creation, a mad scientist and his former clown / a circus assistant, between Victor (James McAvoy) and Igor (Daniel Radcliffe).
“Victor Frankenstein” was one of the films of this year that I was expecting and dreading the most. I have to say that the actors have a lot to do with my expectation: Between Daniel Radcliffe, James McAvoy and Andrew Scott (as Moriarty in “Sherlock”) among others, it was impossible to miss this film. However I dreaded it for a completely subjective reason because I simply don’t like the book. This film was therefore a good reason to make up with Mary Shelley’s story. Or not …
Actually, I really like this kind of film as a truly visual point of view thanks to the Victorian era and wonderful costumes. But after that, I must say that some things bothered me a little.
There is first what I call “the falling-flat-scenes”. Somes scenes were supposed to be quite funny but were not, others meant to be moving but you finally didn’t feel empathy for them. There were also scenes that should make you jump but that were not actually scary. So I thought it was unfortunately not well led and not detailed enough. The soundtrack (composed by Craig Armstrong) which was quite pleasant, proved at times a little too predictable where it should have brought emotions. Too bad.
Fortunately, the actors raised the level of the story. James McAvoy was great as a mad scientist only living for his creation, likewise Andrew Scott who played a pious policeman from Scotland Yard. As for Daniel Radcliffe, there are times we weren’t up to the challenge. Was it his performance weak or his character that required him to be a little blah? I still wonder.
The other question I wondered throughout the whole movie was: what was the purpose of Lorelei’s character (Jessica Brown Findlay seen in “Downton Abbey”)? Having a romance? It would have probably been more interesting to see a love story between her and Victor rather than with Igor, but the film didn’t need any romance story anyway. Perhaps she was there to bring humanity into this masculine world of science. But in my opinion, Igor brought the humanity this film needed. It didn’t need a female character who frankly was used for nothing except being beautiful and quiet. I won’t say more about the end which was too simple, too botched, too easy. Too disappointing.
It hurts me to think that I was waiting for this film for ages, and it didn’t meet my expectations. I probably expected too much.
I’m sorry Frankenstein, but I’m not ready to be reconciled to you, yet.