James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in a retelling of the origins of Victor Frankenstein and Igor, and how they came to create their monster. Spoiler free review to follow.
If you are a purist, you may not enjoy this film as they take the source material to be general inspiration for their retelling rather than a roadmap. Throughout the movie there are unexpected turns and twists, so fans of the book will not know quite what to expect. For me, this was enjoyable. I felt they were respectful while still trying to tell their own story.
The stand out piece from this film was the acting. The dynamic shared between characters, and their portrayals of their personal struggles was believable, and several moments throughout the film really stood out to me as top shelf performances.
My biggest problem with the film, however, was the main female character Loerelei, played by Jessica Brown Findlay. I felt the character had the potential to add an extra dimension to the film, but she was mostly used as the love interest, and written to be fairly 2 dimensional.
The filmography was beautiful and the atmosphere was palpable. The film used a good amount of practical effects too which I thoroughly enjoyed. As the story progresses, I really became attached to the characters and their journey, there were certainly a few corny, predictable moments, but overall the story was strong, and I enjoyed how they fleshed out the backstory for these characters we know so well.
The film wasn't just mindless entertainment either, though there were certainly some spectacular action sequences. The character development, aside from the female character, was the strong point here. Through the experiences portrayed on screen, the viewer is challenged by the moral dilemmas. We are urged to consider how much ones past influences their decisions, and whether one can overcome a life they have become resigned to.
Themes of friendship are explored, as well religion, discrimination, the line between science superstition and morality, and ambitious pride are also touched on. The weakest of those being the religion verses science narrative, as the Bible thumping detective is a shallow stereotype and the remorseless atheist who is funding Frankenstein is a bit of a caricature. I would say, however, this doesn't take away from the enjoyability, or the questions being raised.
I felt the film ends on a high note, leaving room for a possible sequel while still telling a complete story. The movie moves at a good pace, keeping attention and tension, developing relatable characters in a fantastical yet believable environment, while delivering on a nice mix of classic and modern horror.