Franklyn (2008) Poster

(2008)

User Reviews

Review this title
74 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
8/10
Original and intriguing
ldealberti16 October 2008
I've just come back from the premiere at the London film festival and I've thoroughly enjoyed, it but before I say anything, do not expect it to be "a mix between V for Vendetta and the Dark knight" which is a complete nonsense I read earlier, it's nothing like it.

In fact, the sci fi element is only a small (albeit crucial) part to the story, most of it taking place in present day London.

It's more of a psychological drama, a bit of a slow starter as well until all the pieces are put together and it starts making sense. To be honest the less you know about the story, the better otherwise it will ruin your enjoyment

The acting is excellent, I would say it really is Eva Green's movie, she shines throughout the movie with a rather difficult role and is absolutely beautiful. Sam Riley and Ryan Philippe are very good too although they have a little less material to play with.

I think it's going to be hard sell as it is unlike anything I have seen, and if they try to market it as an action/sci fi movie, it will be very misleading but I still definitely recommend it if you're looking for something a bit different.
94 out of 120 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
One In The Eye For The Attention-Deficienct Popcorn Cattle
thesandfly7728 April 2009
Yes, it's a slow, slow build-up featuring seemingly unconnected story threads, fantastical settings and comic-book characterisation. Yes, it's all a bit of a muddle at times, and plays like the disconnected fast-cut chapters of a cynically devise modern supermarket bestselling novel.

But it's different.

Not out-there different, just stoically different from the average Hollywood committee-designed faux art-slice. It's a film that refuses to bend to the will of popular expectation and also to the viewer's clamouring desire for exposition.

For that it's to be applauded; it seems remarkable it managed mainstream distribution given the fact so many will be 'bored' ('man') awaiting the connections to satisfy their anticipation.

And you may well gather what's going on before it's explained (with a little ultimate dubiety) on screen, but this is still a well-executed piece of cinema with a solid cast that dares to offer something a little different to current lame traits after seemingly setting itself up as just another by-the-numbers collage.

Clever at times, atmospheric, beautifully shot with a good cast. Worth, nay deserving, of a watch as a mild antidote to patronising Hollywood mainstream. A solid seven out of ten.
89 out of 117 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Distorted Minds
Claudio Carvalho10 November 2012
In a parallel world, the dark and chaotic Meanwhile City is ruled and controlled by religious Powers That Be. The masked vigilante Jonathan Preest (Ryan Phillippe) seeks out the evil Mr. Tarrant (Bernard Hill), who has abducted the eleven year-old Sarah to force her to join the Duplex Ride sect. Preest uses the scum Wormsnakes (Stephen Walters) to find Mr. Tarrant to rescue Sarah. However he is betrayed by Wormsnakes and imprisoned along four years by the religious agents. He learns that Sarah was murdered and when he succeeds to escape from the imprisonment, he chases Mr. Tarrant to kill him and bring justice to Meanwhile City.

In London, Emilia Bryant (Eva Green) is a suicidal that misses her father and despises her mother. Milo Franklyn (Sam Riley) is a young man that was left by his wife Karen and seeks comfort with his friends Dan and Laura. Milo has the sensation that he has seen his red-haired childhood sweetheart Sally (Eva Green) on the street and decides to go to his school to research Sally's address. However, he meets her at school and they schedule a date in a small restaurant. Meanwhile, Peter Esser (Bernard Hill) is seeking out his missing son David Esser (Ryan Phillippe), who is disturbed with the loss of his sister Sarah, and he meets Bill Wasnik (Stephen Walters) that gives an address to him. Peter goes to visit his son that is wanted by the police and waits for him in the same restaurant that Milo will meet Sally.

The worlds of these characters are entwined with revelations about painful truths.

"Franklyn" is an intriguing and original movie about distorted minds protecting painful truths. The screenplay keeps the mystery until the very end and the visual concept of Meanwhile City is twisted like the mind of David Esser. Eva Green is impressively beautiful even performing a character without glamor. The beginning is hard to follow but if the viewer gives a chance, he or she will will not be disappointed. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "O Justiceiro Mascarado" ("The Masked Vigilante")
16 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
An elegant saga on human despair
mcravener7 June 2009
I've seen a few movies similar to this, using sci-fi/fantasy imagery to portray an internal state of mind. Too intellectual for some I guess, and it definitely goes beyond 'what you see is what you get'.

This movie worked for me. Some have been critical that the characters in the film were not interesting enough. I on the other hand think the director/writer Gerald McMorrow successfully walked the thin line of saying just enough, enabling the actors to fill in the gaps and create personas rather than cookie cut-outs. The characters were memorable and real, responding to slightly surreal situations in two worlds that were both out of kilter with our own. The movie's alternate realities drew me in and kept me interested, and the eventual juxtaposition of both did so even more.

This is a smartly made movie - with very convincing CGI for the fantasy world combined with an almost indie sense of the intimate and human in the alternate world closer to our own.

Well this review is not much of a blow-by-blow synopsis, others can do that, but if you appreciate strong acting, and an imaginative script, I don't think you will be disappointed.

7/10
62 out of 87 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Daringly unique and visionary British film with plenty to offer
kieronstonemusic19 October 2008
I have just got back from watching Franklyn at the London Film Festival, and let me tell you, this film is truly something special. A cleverly co-ordinated lesson in narrative structure, the plot revolves around 4 different people, delivered in 4 different strands of plot, one of which exists in somewhere a little futuristic called "Meanwhile City". Each of the four are all trying to fix something in their lives. ++DONT WORRY I SHALL NOT BE Writing ANY SPOILERS HERE+++ At first, my mind was drawn to the film V for Vendetta - the masked vigilante (played very well by Ryan Phillipe, holding his own in a predominantly British cast) seemed to be a similar character, complete with voice-over, telling us the troubles of Meanwhile City. But soon the other plot strands filter in and it becomes far more than a Vendetta-lite imitation, with a narrative structure very similar in delivery to Magnolia, or Gomorrah. However, the director here never makes it confusing as to who is who, with a definite and focused script keeping the four strands together very well.

All the other stories are set in contemporary London. My favourite was the story with Sam Riley's character. His bride to be has left him and he is finding ways of dealing with his grief. Elsewhere, Bernard Hill plays a man searching for his son who has (mysteriously) gone missing. The other story strand involves Eva Green as a troubled artist with a penchant for frequently attempting suicide.

Whilst the photography and direction in the film is brilliantly vivid and bold, and the cast are wonderfully believable, what really sold this film for me was the story itself. Intriguing, exciting, thoughtful, often very moving, and most of all, constantly surprising, Franklyn is by far the most fiercely intelligent and engaging film i have watched in a very long time. The final 10 minutes are simply amazing and very, very clever (dont read ANYTHING about it though!) Make sure to watch Franklyn when it comes out (the LFF was a lucky early screening, I am told it could be out in January at the cinemas nationwide). BUT WHATEVER YOU DO MAKE SURE NO ONE TELLS YOU ANYMORE THAN THE SYNOPSIS TELLS YOU! else you will not experience the joy of watching the story unravel and reveal itself for its truths. Thank you to all involved in creating something so utterly unique in its execution.
66 out of 102 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is
Neil Welch24 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It's not fair to criticise just for the sake of it, but it's not possible to state my criticisms without spoilering the movie big-time. So if you don't want to read spoilers, stop here.

We have four seemingly unconnected story threads. One concerns a man called Preest (Ryan Phillippe) wearing a full-face hood in a dystopic alternative reality place called Meanwhile City, where he expects to carry out an assassination. The second concerns Esser (Bernard Hill), travelling from Cambridge to London in search of his son. The third concerns Emilia (Eva Green), carrying out suicide attempts as a kind of performance art project. The fourth involves Milo (Sam Riley), moping around with all sorts of personal problems following his wedding not taking place. These threads limp slowly onwards with nothing much happening until the two-thirds mark at which point we finally begin to find stuff out (spoilers start here). We discover that Preest is actually Esser's son, that he is a mentally disturbed serviceman who has escaped from a mental hospital, killing someone as he did so, and that Meanwhile City is nothing but a highly detailed delusion. And we discover that Milo has had an imaginary friend Sally since childhood who helps him through bad times: played by Eva Green in a bad red wig, she has now put in a reappearance. Things come to a conclusion when Preest invades Emilia's flat in order to carry out the assassination of his father (who is someone else in Preest's fantasy) in the restaurant across the road. Preest shoots and wounds Milo (who has accepted that fantasy Sally doesn't really exist) and blows himself up in Emilia's flat. Emilia (who, of course, looks like Sally, what with Eva Green playing both of them) and Milo, both wounded (both physically and psychologically, see, I got that) stumble into each other's arms, the end.

I have no problem with movies which present narratives in fantasy and real worlds, where the former can be explained by reference to the latter (Wizard of Oz, A Matter of Life and Death etc.). Neither do I have a problem with stories where seemingly disconnected threads twine together by the conclusion - after all, if you track back any incident in real life to origin points in the lives of participants, then take those as individual starting points, you will end up with something which looks like coincidence.

My problems came from something rather more fundamental. Number one, the four stories simply weren't very good. For much of the film I found myself thinking "When these threads finally make contact with each other, the payoff had better be spectacular if it's going to justify sitting through this tedium." Well, the payoff was distressingly inadequate.

Number two, while I don't have any problem with coincidence per se, I do like my coincidences to be credible. The denouement here required three certifiable nutjobs (schizo soldier, suicidal art student, full-on imaginary befriender) to wind up in the same place at the same time for no reason other than coincidence. Pull the other one, do.

Number three, you could have removed Milo's thread completely and it would have had no effect on the rest of the movie. That shows how completely inconsequential it was in terms of narrative importance.

Heaven knows I'm not a very demanding film-goer - I'm easily pleased, and have thoroughly enjoyed movies which have come in for some heavy duty criticism. But I do like to be entertained and I don't like being bored. This film bored me and failed to entertain me and left me feeling distinctly unsatisfied. I got the impression that the film thought it was a great deal cleverer than I thought it was. I encourage potential viewers to read Will Wright's criticisms - a well-reasoned critique from someone who knows what he's talking about.

Bernard Hill was excellent: his character was boring. Eva Green was excellent: her character Emilia wasn't boring (Sally was, though). She was sexy and deeply worrying - she can be very scary. She was much more scary than Ryan Phillippe who left no impression on me at all. Neither did Sam Riley.

Oh, and who or what is Franklyn? I know Bernard Hill queried seeing the name on some document or other (with no explanation or clarification), but did I miss it being mentioned elsewhere?
67 out of 104 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Attention
kosmasp16 July 2009
This movie really is difficult. Not only to describe (it is far too complex for it's own good/commercial success), but also to watch and follow the plot. While there have been other movies who played with the time factor (and/or other stuff, which I won't say anything about here, so it won't spoil anything for you), not many refused to explain themselves to you.

In other words: While many other movies with the same or similar theme, show you the same scenes twice (or maybe even more often), this movie does not give you this luxury. You have to stay focused to get it. Of course the main plot and the big details will be easy to grab. But again, only if you let yourself into the movie. But this movie allows you to watch it a few times and catch nuances, small things, you might not have seen/understood, the previous time(s) you watched the movie. A complex, but rewarding viewing experience then
32 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Intriguing and will keep you thinking for days...
sam-greer29 April 2009
The best film I have seen this year so far, its so brilliantly strange and such a brain-teasingly satisfying film to watch.

The film is a sci-fi thriller/drama about four characters dealing with problems in their life, from Eva Greens character who is a suicidal artist to Sam Riley's character whose bride ran away at the altar. These characters parts of the film are set in modern day London and their struggles may seem uninteresting at first but once the films pace sets in their stories take on as much importance as the real main character Preest. Jonathon Preest, the mysterious loner of the films alternate reality, Meanwhile City, is the only atheist in a city gripped by Faith, where every resident must have a religion which lends weight to the films plot and themes.

All the cast were very good at their parts, Phillippe does well as Preest without going into deep voiced batman territory and Eva Green portrays her very flawed character with enough humanity to keep you interested without becoming fed up with her characters behaviour.

The film constantly switches between the two settings, to both dramatic effect and to keep the film moving at a solid pace that should have you guessing at the link between all the characters and how the alternate reality of Meanwhile city ties in with them. Meanwhile City itself is a stunning and darkly captivating location for the other half of the film and provides the visual cement to the films concepts and makes for some of the most inventive design I've seen in sets and costumes for a long time. Its a Gothic vision of skyscrapers and futuristic landscapes with inspiration from cathedrals and ancient architecture.

Its safe to say that you shouldn't let anyone spoil the films twists or plot for you, because its twists often seem predictable before hand but upon their realisation they can be quite surprising reveals.

For those familiar with films such as Donnie Darko, the ideas driving the film may seem to be done and dusted but Franklyn's fresh approach to the concepts as well as its stunning execution make this film worthy of anyone looking to engage their thoughts in some very interesting concepts regarding, reality and perception. Go out and watch this film, it's conclusion will linger with you for days after wards.
43 out of 68 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Never comes off the page like it should.
Jamie Ward28 April 2009
There are movies that, despite their lack of budget and film-makers' experience within the medium of film—despite their failings in telling a coherent, and entertaining story, nevertheless excel in their ability to enthral through idea and theme alone. Franklyn which too often sets out in this manner, in turn neglecting engaging narrative for contorted, mystery-tinged manipulation, is not one of those select few features. Restricted by a small budget and the director and writers' inexperience with feature length productions, the film is interesting to a certain degree but too often falls flat when trying to compel the viewer either through character or plot. Indeed, the only sole reason to continue watching a film such as Franklyn is to find out what the hell is going on; and then you get to that finish line only to realise that the payoff isn't quite what you expected. The result is a feature that feels half-baked, underdeveloped and frustratingly vague for its first two acts. So much so that by the time director Gerald McMorrow decides to show us his hand, we've more or less left the table and cashed in our chips.

The problem with Franklyn isn't that it is short on ideas, but that it is short on ideas upon which to implement the themes and arcs to which McMorrow obviously wants to get across. For sure, this is an original, interesting and intriguing piece of work; but it's also dreary and tiresome at the same time. First time viewers should not be alarmed if plot details go amiss, or if the story seems overly convoluted, disconnected and a little contrived—because this is exactly how McMorrow pens his tale. It's deliberately withholding for a reason, and that is because without that sense of mysticism and deliberate manipulation, Franklyn is a mirthless experience. Taken on face value in retrospect, the ninety minutes doesn't feel completely wasted, but there is a certain degree of fallacy involved here that comes off as cheap and overly ambitious. Indeed, this is a bold effort from the first-time filmmaker, and one has to applaud such an audacious venture—but it's also very hard to be convinced by Franklyn either in its grandiose tale, or its dubiously surreal and contorted narrative.

For the majority of the feature, we are treated to four stories revolving around four separate characters split over what appears to be two very different timelines of alternate dimensions (this is, of course, merely a subjective speculation on the part of myself, as the truth behind the events of the film are never truly explained—and fair enough, I suppose). Each of the characters have their own little quirks; Emilia (Eva Green) is an extremist artist driven to video-tape serial suicide attempts made by herself; Milo (Sam Riley), a romantic who has recently been left at the alter; a masked vigilante named Preest (Ryan Phillippe) who occupies the alternate reality within a city named "Meanwhile City" ruled by religion and dogmatic oppression; and a father in search of his son gone missing after a traumatic event involving his sister's death.

At first, all the characters within Franklyn's two worlds seem distinct from each other, and without and form of link—so much so that much of the feature's initial hour is slow moving and irksomely disjointed from any sort of clear focus or direction to the first time viewer. Yet as the plot unravels, and metaphysical realities are explored with death, imaginary friends and delusional beliefs briefly analysed, the seeds that are planted during the initial acts begin to blossom. It is disappointing then that by the time McMorrow pulls the proverbial rug on us, we don't really care anymore. Confined also by the limitations of such vague narrative and an ending that brings everything together in a poetic but fruitless manner, Franklyn eventually crumbles under its own weight and pretension. It's a movie that tries too hard to be larger than it really is on paper, and the cracks are all too obvious.

In the end, I wanted to like McMorrow's work here a lot more than I actually did—it's brave, interesting and makes some intriguing statements on the nature of reality and our perceptions of such manifestations to ourselves as human beings; but at the end of the day I couldn't bring myself to be convinced or won over by the implementation of such ideas. For sure, there was potential here within the bare-bones skeleton of McMorrow's premise and themes—but burdened with obstructive restrictions both in a narrative sense and a production sense, Franklyn simply never comes off the page like it should, and the result is lukewarm in every regard; sporadically intriguing, but overly flawed—I have to wonder why this made the big screen at all; I got the feeling that it could have made an even better mini-series for TV.

  • A review by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)
52 out of 84 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Clever
matt-11478 January 2009
Was a bit wary of this one - had read comments about it being pretentious and a little too clever for it's own good.

No need to worry on either front.

Thought it was excellent - beautifully shot, fabulous performances by all involved and the story comes together wonderfully. The parallel world of Meanwhile City is simply stunning.

Think you have to be able to go with it for the first half - and allow it time to start unfolding. This may frustrate some, but it definitely has a sense of balance and shows enough to keep your attention without over-elaborating unnecessary plot strands.

Really hope it does well... it's shows bigger budget, mainstream multiplex fodder how it could, and should, be done.
37 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
a good challenging visually stunning film ...
londonviewer16 October 2008
Reading a synopsis of the film, I feared that it would be full on sci-fi ... but thankfully there were two strands - one set in contemporary London, and another of the more fantasy version ...

It really is the sort of film where knowing too much about the plot before seeing it, will spoil. I would say that if you like films where all the strands are nicely tied up at the end, you will be frustrated. A few of the strands are resolved, but I still can't work out what a couple of the characters were up to !

Eva Green has the largest role, and is mostly good, but at times she seems a bit wooden. Sam Riley was quite convincing as a bit of a loser, and Ryan Phillippe seemed to enjoy his masked role.

I saw the premiere at The London Film Festival and the director explained that some of the sci-fi imagery was based on the spires of Cambridge. Ryan Phillippe said that he did indeed act in all the masked shots, even those where he fights the "clerics" - having studied martial arts since he was eight !

This film will make you think, but be prepared for a gradual exposition, rather than any great revelations.
31 out of 50 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Oh my goth, what a good movie
rooprect7 May 2012
If you like dark, Gothic movies with both style & intelligence, this one's for you. First-time director/writer Gerald McMorrow makes a great debut with "Franklyn", a cryptic fantasy-thriller about 4 lost souls in different times & places, bound together by a mystery that slowly unravels to a brilliant climax.

The story is told in fragments, and if you're not paying attention you might easily get lost. But that's what makes it so rewarding when you start to figure it out, and you realize what these people have in common.

Most of the action happens in a nightmarish, dystopian world called "Meanwhile City". These scenes are reminiscent of the haunting works of Alex Proyas ("The Crow", "Dark City") with bits of Frank Miller's comic book style ("Sin City", "The Spirit"). There are also some refreshing, humorous nods toward Terry Gilliam ("Brazil", "12 Monkeys"). But what sets this apart from those dark, shadowy films is the juxtaposition of contemporary London, bright & crisp, like something you'd see by the German master Tom Tykwer ("Run Lola Run", "Heaven", "Perfume").

If you don't recognize all those names, don't worry. The point I'm making is that McMorrow's directorial debut has elements of many great directors tied together in a fresh, original way.

There's not as much action in this film as in most fantasy-thrillers. Depending on how you like your movies, that's either a good thing or a bad thing. I thought it was perfect because it lets the story breathe, and it gives us the chance to digest the slowly-unravelling mystery. There are interwoven themes touching on religion, individuality, family, fate, love & hate. And psychosis, which always makes things fun.

And even though it may be light on action & explosions, there's tons of nice eye candy to keep you riveted. Speaking as a hetero male, by "eye candy" I mean Eva Green and her sexy goth wardrobe! (If I weren't such a hetero guy, I'd be tempted to become a cross dresser.) The 2 leading men are quite the lookers, too, both suave & classy in their own way. And if that's not enough eye candy, you can't miss the enormous sets & wide angle shots: breathtaking.

If you're a fan of any of the directors/films I mentioned above, don't hesitate to check this out.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Liked it, believe it or not.
Jackie30 April 2009
I liked it, believe it or not. it's not the common sci-fi stuff that you usually see out there. is different, incredibly artistic, not bad but not that good either.

the cast is simply amazing. Sam Riley is good as always, Eva green gets the biggest role and rocks at it, an Ryan Phillipe really surprised me (he didn't like him much before this movie).

i enjoyed it, i think it has some flaws, but in the end it is just what it promises to be: unusual and artistic. if you're a "classic movie" lover, you will not appreciate this movie at all. i've you're a "new wave" kind of person it's a must-see.
28 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A thought provoking film but not in the way some people think
jeffpk15 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I am frankly surprised almost to the point of shock that so many people have such a hard time following this movie. It is very straight forward in its story telling. The only reason i can imagine anyone *not* following it is either (a) confusion by the mislabeling of this film as a science fiction film (its not, its a psycho-drama) OR (b) geekish yearnings to make the sci fi setting 'real'.

The ironic thing about (b) is that those people who do twist the world in such a way are, in fact, illustrating what this movie is all about-- which is the human ability to divorce ones perceptions from reality.

The main characters exist in a spectrum of dissociation.

(1) David/Jonathan Priest is a recently returned war veteran who is dealing with the trauma of the senseless death of his baby sister. Of all the characters, he is the most disassociated from reality-- to the point where he has created an entirely divergent internally-consistent reality for himself. We would call such a person "dissociative" or "psychotic" normally, but this movie shows him not as unique but merely as an extreme in a continuum of human behavior.

(2) Milo created a fantasy friend. "Sally", as a child to cope with the death of his father. To him, Sally is part of his reality, a part that again is only part of his own perceptions. When his life hits a crisis of loneliness in the loss of his fiancée, he brings Sally back into his world. Again, we would view this as a lesser form of disassociation/psychotic break by our normal yardsticks. But there are even more shades here.

(3) Emelia has also created a break with reality because of trauma, in this case her childhood abuse (sexual is suggested but never totally stated) by her father. Choosing to forget that and remember it as stories, not reality, she has substituted a desperate longing for a father that she thinks she lost, though chances are he never really existed as she remembers him. Rather then blame herself for the sexual abuse (as victims commonly do) she has substituted a blame of her mother for "taking her father away." She acts out her inner turmoil and attacks her mother through staged "art" suicides. It could be argued that these are also her attempts on some level to punish herself, but thats never developed in the movie. Nonetheless it generally takes either severe depression or severe guilt to bring one to the brink of suicide.

(4) David's father has the same trauma that David has-- the traffic accident death of his daughter, David's little sister, In his case, he is clinging to a hard line religious explanation. That it was God's will and God's actions. This gives a senseless and horrible death, a little girl struck down by a car, meaning and allows him to deal with it. It can be argued however that this TOO is a disassociation from the reality that random horrible things happen without purpose or reason. That is a reality that many people we would consider "normal" to flee from and make up stories to hide behind instead.

And in the end thats what this movie is about, as explained in the "story" that "Sally" tells Milo about the story teller who built a perfect world, but in the end walked away from it because it wasn't real.

And the real and only question this movie leaves is that: what stories do WE live in rather then dealing with reality, and which is really better? Is believing in a cold, uncaring, random world more healthy just because it is "real"? or do we as human beings by our very nature live in worlds of fantasy in order to function?

As for the final shot of the bucket and mob without the janitor by it, that is open for debate, but I see it as a "tease".. daring US to interpret the janitor's part in the film not as just one more random element in a random world, but as something with deeper and perhaps mystical meaning. The author leaves that for us, the viewers, to weave fantasies about.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Should have been better
seawalker1 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
In modern day London, a jilted young man hooks up with an old flame, a man searches for his sick son and a young female art student expresses her art in an extreme manner.

Meanwhile, in the Gothic, sprawling metropolis of Meanwhile City, a vigilante by the name of Jonathan Preest makes plans to kill the cult leader responsible for the death of a young girl.

The stories are connected, but in ways that you cannot imagine.

Or maybe you could imagine, oh so easily, how the stories were connected?

After a first hour of pure confusion and head scratching by yours truly, I thought that the final revelations in "Franklyn" were a tad bit obvious. It was a shame because "Franklyn" did have some good ideas, looked wonderful (the comparison between the darkly futuristic Meanwhile City and boring old London was strikingly realised), and the performances of Bernard Hill and Eva Green were top notch, even if she looked a little bit old to be playing an art student. Sadly, Ryan Phillipe was definitely not a convincing vigilante, a la Rorschach, and Sam Riley was kind of bland.

So, "Franklyn" was not bad film, but it did not hang together as it should have. It should have been better.
23 out of 40 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Unique, fascinating and visually spectacular
aGuiltySoul16 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is a film that benefits from multiple viewings. Not that it is so obtuse as to require it, but there is so much to look for and savor. The coming and goings of the same actors in smaller parts and different roles, sometimes in the background, sometimes in the fore, is intriguing. It made me hunker down and become riveted to the screen.

This film has a visual sense unlike many others, so that watching closely is a distinct pleasure. Gerald McMorrow has headed up a team that used sets, costume, lighting, cinematography and CG to the greatest affect. The word genius comes to mind.

The actors are all equally fantastic. Sam Riley provided the same effortless quality of acting he displayed in "Control." Eva Green showed me a new side; she is intense but delicate. Bernard Hill is pitch perfect for his part of the intelligent, caring, concerned parent. His character provides a guide through this film's winding story. And, lastly, Ryan Phillippe's largely physical role is very well tuned. His role, after all, is the lynch pin that holds this film together and his performance solidly provides it as he shifts, late in the story, from Preest to David.

This film is not for everyone. For anyone expecting a standard comic hero, or a fantasy, this will disappoint. But if you like intelligent films that draw its audience in as collaborators, you will enjoy this film as much as I did.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Frank Miller Meets The Dark Knight Meets Brazil
fwomp5 March 2010
Once in a blue moon, a film comes along that defies genre identification ...and so goes FRANKLYN, a movie that transcends anything you think you've ever seen. A hybrid in terms of style, Franklyn might best be described as Frank Miller (the artist) meets The Dark Knight (Batman) in Brazil (the movie). I say this because none of these items alone help explain the convoluted-ness that is this story, and none should. It goes beyond them. Way beyond them.

Visually appealing on almost every level, Franklyn has two divergent stories that seem to have nothing to do with each other. In one we're privy to a kind of superhero trying to avenge the death of a young girl whom we know nothing about. He chases after "The Individual" in a city known as Meanwhile. Looking, as stated earlier, somewhere along the lines of a Frank Miller graphic mixed with a kind of Dark Knight quality, the story intrigues and makes us cheer on the main character, Jonathan Preest (Ryan Philleppe, FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS). I mean, trying to avenge the death of an innocent girl is noble, right? Equally intriguing within the city of Meanwhile are the many religions that flourish, including the Seventh Day Manicurists. Everyone is required to have a religious affiliation ...except our "hero" who is subsequently tracked by highly skilled fighting monks.

In the second story, a woman named Emilia (Eva Green, THE GOLDEN COMPASS) tries to come to terms with her life and her art. She consistently tries to kill herself for the sake of it only to learn that her art just isn't inspiring enough. Also, a man in search of his missing son comes to the psychiatrist who'd been treating him only to learn that his son escaped and is out in the world with a rifle slung over his shoulder.

As the two story lines begin to mesh, reality skews, men and women we thought we knew either don't exist, exist as something else, or are strictly symbols (including a janitor who plays a vital role). The fascination the viewer will feel at the realizations of what is coming will shock, delight and sink their heart. Yes, it's THAT good.

The visuals are what will initially draw you in. You'll be asking yourself "Why?" many times: Why is the city so muted? Why is he wearing a mask? Why are these religious fanatics chasing him? If you pay close attention, everything is answered in one final scene which, in itself, reveals amazing storytelling.

I can't stress enough how closely everything is linked in the film and how paying attention reaps great benefits in the end. Even the names of the characters (Preest, The Individual, Wormsnakes, Pastor Bone) all have relevance.

Made on a paltry $12 million budget, the movie feels much more expensive and expansive. Sadly, it did not get a wide release and suffered because of it. Not many people have ever heard of it. I know I never had until a friend I work with mentioned it. But I'm glad he pointed me in the right direction. This one's a hidden gem. And it's so original that you'll wonder which genre you're watching. I'm still wondering!
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
clever, but not too much for its own good.
damyon_brazier5 March 2010
I will not divulge any of the film plot as this will ruin the movie for prospective viewers. What i will say is that this film is an artistic, creative and inward glance of the troubled human mind. Directionally it is smooth and intricately woven together along with fantastic casting. Stick with the storyline and you will be rewarded. For me the story borrows ideologically from movies such as 'a beautiful mind' and 'fight club' , with the dark fantasy scenery/feel of 'Dark City' or 'equilibrium' and the mysterious links of 'the machinist' (i feel there is a little Bladerunner tribute in 'meanwhile city' at the beginning of the movie, when a camera shot of a busy metropolis at street level , in the rain, pans up to the sky's to reveal dark , heavy , tall imperialistic buildings complete with over-sized statues. The only two things missing were Deckard and the floating coca cola blimp).I'm guessing that this film is going to equal out here at IMDb ratings as between 5 and 7 stars. I firmly believe this because (dare i say it ), a LOT of people simply are not going to understand it. Its incredibly clever,but... brilliantly NOT to much for its own good. It has a heavy artistic slant at the beginning that leads you to think that this movie is trying to be pompous and only to appeal to either students or the conceptual, but the heavy art subsides gradually to a sense of normality, and it is this that drives the story. Just as Kubrick's 'a clockwork orange' uses language heavily to start with (to explain that gangs have a language alien to so called 'normal people') with the language narrative becoming more coherent as the the lead 'Alex' becomes 'Normalised' , the heavy artistic tones in Franklyn are there to describe the 'other world' and as you start to understand the movie , the director uses less. It works at all times and when the dust disappears from your eyes and you are left with clarity of what is going on , you will be rewarded for what is a very slow starting movie.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Dark, compelling, unique movie.
big_barbarian26 September 2009
I have read many reviews at IMDb, but this is the first movie I felt I had to comment upon. This movie is not very highly rated, but I feel that is because it isn't the usual Hollywood fare people are used to. This movie is not for everyone, it is very dark, and deals with disturbing subject matters. It can't quite be classified as Sci-fi, but it contains strange fantasy elements within the movie. It is hard to describe without spoiling some of the uniqueness for the first time viewer. I am certain I will be watching this movie far more than once. It has a very convoluted plot that is not going to appeal to the action/comedy/romance, or whatever else crowd. I found this one of the most compelling movies I have ever watched. I would rate it along the lines of Donnie Darko, or Watchmen, for dark yet thought provoking material. It will leave you feeling a little disturbed, but in awe as the strange tale unfolds. This movie deserves to be seen by a far larger audience, as it is an artistic masterpiece compared to the standard drivel Hollywood pumps out. Do your self a favour and set the time aside with no interruptions to really do this movie justice. You won't regret it.
6 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
A masterpiece
Adrienne Parrott6 March 2011
When sitting watching Franklyn for the first time the other week, the main question running through my mind was: "why wasn't this film publicised more?"

For a small British Indie film, with a relatively small budget of £6million, Gerald McMorrow was able to achieve an astounding motion picture. The plot twists and turns in every direction, all the while making you think. As a big fan of the work of Richard Kelly, the logic involved around the plot line really captivated me. Even the scores created to accompany the film by Joby Talbot, captured the essence of the film perfectly and emphasised the intensity and the emotions in every scene.

This is definitely a film to watch!
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Creative and Mysterious
pipolucocuk5 December 2014
Warning: Spoilers
--contain SPOILER--I opened the film without any expectations so early in my appetite was whet one that has been emphasized aha said one of the great movies. it seemed as if it were ordinary middle to the right a little confused in my head all over again, I noticed I began to follow some very important details. I feel like saying good again in the last section. After the film was finished, I thought I read comments from ekşisözlük' five to ten minutes, and I found myself saying so many times hmm really. Now I think I understand the film and I say excellent film. but if you watch the film in order to understand the events of the summer of no avail monitoring for those who do not want to get into any trouble understanding watched the film the next section. I saw that comment as an explanation of the need felt .. I quote the name of heartache is lexicographer explain the movie: the depth of the film, I watched science fiction or action he can overwhelm sitting. opposite, who focuses on criticism of the system and the images will be granted concessions to more romance and philosophical thought that was left incomplete infrastructure. The romantic story can be interpreted incorrectly by all in this mess. based on the story of a "butterfly effect" logic. the mysterious man in the hospital, he also fate of all the variables that can be called depending on the possibilities of the concept symbolizes an eye sees in broad terms. The relationship between his father held responsible for the death of David's sister, intertwines with Milo and Emilia's life changing results. events mysterious man will commit suicide before absorption was not drive, and then lead to an accident victim to Milo and they never met. There are details that can be missed very easy for the story in the film that follows the absence of their inextricable and dull. Milo his portrayal as the red-haired girl in the head, taking the Emilia's face at some point. the reason for this is not a coincidence; have not seen each other for a very short period of time while shooting for a while before absorption. Milo since childhood unwittingly faced girl of his dreams had taken refuge in the unhappy moments and paste the girl of his dreams his face; At the end of stunned because remember it when they come face to face. absorption also influenced by the mysterious man's words, about to commit suicide, although not aware of memory embedded in the same way Milo give up the dream of dying to see. which can be always expressed "could have taken better", "better could be constructed" If we leave aside the form of oppositional approaches can give the name of this movie called genius Franklyn enigma even a hat detail to be removed. if necessary, replace o hat. mysterious man in to add a few something I do not quote me on the arm once I'd like to hospital after a while with stones seen in cafes all over the place like Milo says girls can not see today. doing so with a sugar cube, and then suddenly appears in the following scene in the face of Milo's dream girl. If you're exaggerating, but you can call me on his way to the stone marking his pilgrimage with sugar cubes is very similar to Jesus' figure. This dream also the only daughter Sally on imagination rather than girls (because of the connection with the mysterious man) can be an element of a divine power. or Milo's sitting at the same table with the girl's mysterious island dream how is it possible. I thought they needed when Christians in Europe Europe known in the film when the film is my idea. I think it was a scene in the hospital church in the last scene photos show the man had asked you seen him looking for the child. he had also disappeared so mysteriously sent us to a missing uncle and got the address of our encounters with the friends of our children uncle there. all of them before the film as a result of fate as she symbolizes the fate of the mysterious man in it if directing events such as shows that there is something 'and wants to convince the audience of the film's fate ..
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Great film!! Different..
Luis Vieira5 May 2009
The movie is a must see, different despite all the ones that criticizes it, and give a bad not a bad a really bad note, i would like those persons, to mention their favorite movies, and we will see a distortion mind of reality, maybe them could get a different story, as the one of this movie, this one ans Sin City are those kind of movies that make me pay for them no mater how much, and i think all people expect only story's like the theoric method of writing one, once upon a time, and by that way the last year we came across with a really bad movies, not surprising ones, so this movie, gives the effect that a movie should do, amuse you, surprise you, and you just keep thinking on its story, how many movies for ex soap pop comedy's like fast food that are made that makes you what this king of movies do...m the only responsibility for not having good movies like this one, its because we are not demanding that, and just eat what they gave to us...
11 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
A Noble Failure
Chromex13 July 2009
Franklyn advertises itself as an intriguing sci fi head twister. But those twists are just too few and far between. Most of the commentators here have identified the problems with this film but I still recommend Franklyn. Why?

For most first time film makers Franklyn contains all the pitfalls that should be avoided. But the irony is Franklyn is a great idea that dies through amateur film making. Good movies are, most of the time, simple and quick. Even if the idea is sophisticated the rendering of it should not be. But Franklyn's script is the primary fault written by a first timer who's not noticed its errors.

The author hasn't identified the important parts of his story. Preest, his father and Emilia are the centre of the film but instead we get a massive wtf Milo subplot and trips to see a mystically pointless hospital janitor. "Meanwhile City" works and while we can always compare it to Bladerunner we shouldn't. Ridley Scott didn't invent the dystopian metropolis Fritz Lang did. And as a metropolis for characters to move through it function's superbly. We just never see them move through it enough!

Preest's fantasy city is where the film should focus, Emilia should feature here somehow yet Eva Green's too busy playing Milo's imaginary girlfriend instead of opposite Ryan Philippe. And then when you do get in the city it's too brief and becomes a dull soap opera moping around London. I've no problem with duel reality (similar to Identity) but like that film it became all too one sided.

The trick to good screenplay is simple: learn to spot the errors before you spend £10 million on them. Then, as Hitchcock said, directing a film is simple: have a good script when you start. Of course we then realise it isn't that simple… I've also experienced a small production where the first time writer/producer (not me) clung too much to their ideas and defended the mistakes rather that address them. A script can be about anything but it must not contain 'code' than makes the movie machine seize up. The character and events of Milo are a prime example. Suppose we dump this waste of space and just push Emilia and Preest closer together, give them more to do in Meanwhile.

I wanted Franklyn to work but it didn't. The script was rushed (it was based on a short story by the director) and was never good enough. But the fact it got made is a triumph albeit for all the wrong reasons. I will happily add Franklyn to the shelf with Dune, Dark City, etc despite its list of well meant errors.

PS One commentator here suggested the music and photography were poor. This is hogwash. Both were impressive for a small budget film.
14 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Self indulgent arty rubbish
dan-is-grate13 May 2009
Warning: Spoilers
So the British public pays their money with the billions-to-one-chance of winning the National Lottery, and with shavings of that money, certain projects are funded. This film-students' masturbatory aid is one of them.

I really hope none of my entries to the lottery were used and were either won by a convicted rapist or used to build an opera house for millionaires to drink champagne in, because frankly, this film is and represents everything I hate about "modern" cinema.

Character-wise, we have a faux-suicidal "artist" who is merely a spoilt rich Londoner with mummy and daddy issues who rebels by playing "pill race" (taking an overdose then phoning an ambulance to see which one wins) on camera. As she consistently survives this, she submits the tapes as coursework at university.

Next, we have an unbearably wet, lovesick male lead who constantly whines about some girl who left him. Were he to display a little more indignation and admirable qualities we might have the slightest sympathy.

Then, we have the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder soldier character who provides the only watchable screen-time as his Rorschach rip-off in the "parallel universe" Meanwhile City. The opening 5-10 minutes are entirely in Meanwhile City which means they are the only watchable minutes before the (SPOILER ALERT) "it's all in his head" plot starts to become apparent.

In "Fight Club" it wasn't original. It just about worked because it was so tongue in cheek, but by "The Machinist", it is such a rubbish twist.

Honestly, what is it about British cinema? Why can we turn out nothing but arty rubbish, Pride and Prejudice clones or kitchen sink council estate films?

Those in film colleges and universities will have infinite fun picking its semiotics and themes apart and scoffing at poor people for not knowing what mise-en-scene means, but personally, I'd avoid this one.

I'm just glad my ticket was free, but if my lottery money was used to fund the film, I am genuinely sorry for being a part of bringing this abhorrent film into the world.
13 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
One of my top films EVER
clarewashbrook11 June 2009
I am easy to amuse but not that easy to impress. This seriously impressed me. This is a new direction for British films and it is awesome. Not only is it fun and enjoyable but it is intelligent, existential and thought-provoking.

This is a somewhat unquantifiable film - this genre busting (can't explain without spoiling the plot) structure and plot will undoubtedly reduce the audience of this film but it is also what makes it stupendously good.

There is NO exposition - nothing is explained. Be intelligent enough to work it out or not. There are puzzle elements which will have you going back again and again, attempting to divine the significance of an architectural moulding or a tattoo.

Like the film, this review will probably dip down in the ratings because I'm not quantifying an unquantifiable film.

What can I say to fix something solid in mind? It follows four emotionally messy characters on their individual quests - three in modern day London and one in a futuristic theologically diverse dystopia. Their paths are converging. This is the story of how and why. There are occurrences which could be parallel dimensions, magic, insanity...you have to watch to decide; you won't be force fed a solid perception.

This film is genius. It is not, however, for the dim. It will be a cult film for an intelligent elite. Which is exactly what GREAT fiction is.

If you want an unusual adventure, an original plot, no formula - watch this! It will blow you away!
12 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed