Plot: Four intertwining stories - Jonathan Preest in Meanwhile City tracking down his nemesis the Individual; suicidal Emilia; missing-son searching Peter; and love-lovin' Milo in contemporary London. Weirdness.
FRANLYN is an odd but impressive film. The oddness stems from basically everything about the title: Emilia’s obsession with videotaping herself, with attempted suicide, with darkness and artistry; a hospital janitor who may be more than just a hospital janitor; an entire city dedicated to religions, where virtually anything one can think of can literally be considered a religion one can subscribe to; and how these rather random stories come together in the end. But simultaneously, FRANLYN is so completely impressive of a film. The cinematography is breathtaking. Think Zack Snyder’s WATCHMEN, but made for only $12 million. That exact same style, same color tones, hell – even a similar looking anti-hero (Franklyn/Rorschach). The scope of this movie is so large it’s just so bloody impressive. Another completely fantastic element is the exquisite cast. Ryan Philippe floored me with his Jonathan Preest, in and outside the mask; Bernard Hills is a mastery of subtlety and mannerisms; Eva Green is both frightening and seductive; and Sam Riley is both a joy and sad.
Unfortunately, the movie relies on a twist ending that isn’t as satisfying as its visual flavor. Judging by the descriptions I read, I was expecting and rather hoping for a moody vigilante film with an intelligent arc to tell. The revelation at the end is disappointing, in that what the movie could have been isn’t realized and is instead (and here there be spoilers) a movie about a mentally unstable man unhinged with reality. As always, I love films with multiple storylines that eventually converge because it’s just so damn fascinating to see all these plot threads that are seemingly random but are actually connected and come together to create full coherency. The movie ties up most of the threads nicely in the end, but I was left sad that I didn’t see the movie I went in expecting.
As of the time of this writing, FRANKLYN is no longer on Instant Streaming, so for curious parties you’ll have to go the DVD route (oh, darn). Perhaps it’s for the best. The rich, utterly beautiful renditions of the dystopic Meanwhile City, cloaked in darkness, will jump out the television screen better than the computer monitor. The rather slowness of a few scenes will perhaps grab your attention moreso than my distracted mind on the tele, as well. I can’t particularly say I recommend the entire movie, but this comes mostly from my desire to see an entire film set in Meanwhile City. FRANLYN is a psychological film spliced with some vigilante justice here and there, and although the visuals and performances are stunning, I guess my disappointment has got the better of me, thus I’m awarding FRANLYN…Netflix Rating: Liked It