Cinema Review: Victor Frankenstein (2015)

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in this woeful reimagining of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe star in this woeful reimagining of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Usually I wouldn’t do this. Given a review of this film has already been placed on my good friend’s blog – The Blog of Delights, technically I shouldn’t be reviewing this. However, some things are just worth writing about – both good and bad.

So let’s take this from the beginning. On paper the cast for this looks pretty good – an all star British cast. James McAvoy (X-Men, Shameless etc.), Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, Kill Your Darlings etc.), Andrew Scott (Sherlock, Spectre etc.) and the emerging star Freddie Fox (Cucumber, Pride etc.). The premise also looks good – tried and tested but with a new twist – the story of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Unfortunately, the execution is… well, not that great.

It’s not to say there aren’t positives. The initial chase scene through the circus as Frankenstein (McAvoy) rescues the as yet unnamed Igor (Radcliffe) is brilliantly realised – as is a lot of the Victorian special effects. This is steampunk at its best. It looks convincing, and it is incredibly effective. In addition the special effects used to create Frankenstein’s initial monster are clever – the monster being both gruesome and believable, and the plot device used to ‘straighten out’ Igor from his hunchback self is both clever and slightly vomit inducing at the same time.

Unfortunately this is where the praise must end. Andrew Scott is criminally wasted in his role as investigating police officer Turpin – playing the role of the person that has guessed the plot almost perfectly but somehow is unable to act upon any of the sheer amount of criminality going on, whilst also being too restrained in his performance. In contrast McAvoy (Frankenstein) is much louder – still harnessing the charisma that brought him to fame – but with an irritating arrogance that just doesn’t endear you to the character. Meanwhile Radcliffe (Igor) is still difficult to watch without suspecting he’s just playing Harry Potter in disguise.

All of this could be overlooked. However, a reinvention of a well known story, such as Shelley’s Frankenstein should have something new to say – it should not try to emulate the masterpiece but be a respectful homage whilst reimagining a well known story. This is the film’s greatest failure. Whilst the story is reimagined it simply doesn’t work. The opening circus scenes are exciting enough to pull you in but once the dust settles this becomes monotonous, plodding and predictable. Even a love interest for Igor in the form of Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findley) provides minimal chemistry, and the arguments between Frankenstein and Igor are just not developed enough to be believable. In short, this is sadly a film that could be so much more.

Nutleyone Rating: 2/5

Victor Frankenstein was released on 3rd December 2015 and is available to watch in all good UK cinemas now.