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FRANKLYN, 2008
Movie Reviews!

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FRANKLYN,   MOVIE POSTERFRANKLYN, 2008
Movie Reviews

Directed by Gerald McMorrow
Starring: Ryan Philippe, Eva Green, Bernard Hill, Sam Riley, Sam Douglas, Jay Fuller
Review by Fredric Hammarlund


SYNOPSIS:

In contemporary London a man is looking for his missing son, an art student is taping her suicide attempts and a young man is looking for love. In Meanwhile City, a future metropolis ruled by fear and religious subordination, the masked detective Preest is trying to locate his long lost nemesis. One of them has to die for the peace of the others in this multi narrative.

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REVIEW:

“If a god is willing to prevent evil, but not able, then he is not omnipotent. If he is able, but not willing, then he must be malevolent. If he is neither able nor willing then why call him a God? Why else do bad things happen to good people?” This monologue delivered by John Preest (Philippe), and the core argument of apathy, makes him an outsider in Meanwhile City where one is required to worship a God. And with “a God” I mean that you can worship anything from hairdressers to vampires as long as you worship something. The government uses religion to control its population and John Preest, the only atheist, is the only one capable of seeing the truth.

Based on a short by McMorrow this futuristic dig at religion not only looks great, but also delivers a riveting story. Jumping between storylines and London and Meanwhile City keeps the tension high. I must admit that I prefer the darker storyline headed by Preest in Meanwhile City. Everything he shows us feels new and exciting in comparison to the grey and rather depressing streets of London.

Green’s character Emilia is the highpoint of the London storyline as she turns out to be even darker than Preest. Her cry for help/art project where she calls paramedics before trying different ways of suicide might be one of the most morbid and self-induced schemes I have come across on the silver screen. And did I mention that she videotapes them all? Choosing to set her storyline with the backdrop of modern society over the streets of Meanwhile City contrasts and heightens her desperation and as an audience we can’t choose to dismiss her as fiction.

All four storylines are built around loss. Preest wasn’t able to save the life of a girl, Emilia has lost her family ties, Esser (Hill) has lost his son, and Milo (Riley) his wife. The Esser story revolves around finding out what happened to his son who disappeared just as he was about to come visit. And Milo runs into an old flame after his wife has left him. Is this girl the answer to his prayers or is them running into each other more than a coincidence? In Milo’s quest for her he nearly looses his mind and is forced to question his sanity? This raises the question of reality once more. How can we trust a protagonist, and his view on reality, if he is limited to a first person narrative?

Preest’s choice of mask reminds me for some reason of the highly underrated game Grim Fandango from LucasArts. Both characters move in a world inspired by film noir and although Grim is already dead, Preest seem to share this death wish. Nothing can stop him on his road towards justice and revenge. This includes some matrixesque fight sequences that neither feels old nor lame. They are well choreographed and perfectly timed.

This is a British movie that was far better received in the UK than in the US, but it deserves a bigger audience and that is why I choice to write about it. The 4 out of 5 grade is merely because as a viewer you tend to prefer the Preest and Emilia storylines to the Milo and Esser ones, and tend to dismiss them as less interesting. Rent it today, form your own opinion and let me know what you think.

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