There has been widespread criticism for Victor Frankenstein. People have sighted its repetitive nature and less than amusing visuals as its weakest points but if you ask me, I had a good time with this film. I had very low expectation from it to start with and that’s what helped the matter even more. For me it was a film filled with typical genre clichés and yet brimming with two great performances by James McAvoy and Daniel Radcliffe. Will I see this film for a second time? Absolutely no! Did this film entertain me? Yes it did. It is one of those forgettable entertainers that you never regret watching but certainly abstain from re-watching.
The film is a take on the story of Frankenstein(McAvoy) and his obsession with creating a living and thinking individual but the story is related from his friend and collaborator Igor’s(Radcliffe) perspective. The story starts with Igor spending his life in a circus as a hunchback who is inspired by the human body and has amazing understanding of the human body. He substitutes as the circus’ doctor when he is not playing a clown. But he is brutalized by his teammates nevertheless and for no reason. During one of his performances he comes to the notice of Frankenstein when he willfully saves the life of a fellow acrobat after she has a terrible fall. Frankenstein is amused by his medical skills and offers to free him from the circus. Igor agrees. After releasing him, he cures him of his hunchback disorder and the two set about to build their own living being.
The film holds on to your attention initially. I was liking the camaraderie between McAvoy and Radcliffe but the matter soon get out of hand a bit as the focus shifts away from their camaraderie to the building of the monsters and a police investigation which keeps getting in the way of Frankenstein’s experiments. This part feels repetitive and constantly gives you a feeling of deja vu. The film stagnates for a while half way through when nothing actually happens but then in the later half, regains its composure and gets back to its entertaining ways. A somewhat love story brimming between Radcliffe and one of his circus mates, Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay) is really cute to look at. The story works especially because of the awkward charm that Radcliffe oozes. The character suits him to a “t”.
McAvoy is wonderful too. There is an oddball elegance about how he carries the character forward. He is completely over the top when here has to be and never holds anything back. The climax where he finally realizes his mistakes is wonderfully done. His scenes with Radcliffe are easily the high points of the film. The conflicts that he has within himself is brought out in the final moments wonderfully. Many have sighted his and Radcliffe’s act as better than what the film deserved. I feel that their acts has actually accentuated the film. Apart from them, Jessica Brown Findlay looks pretty and Andrew Scott is a pleasure as always.
Overall, Victor Frankenstein is in no way a great film but it surely is entertaining enough to deserve atleast a view. Some interesting twists and turns in the narrative, some visual flair and some novelty could have easily made it a great watch but it falls short of that.