The translation of Mary Shelley’s works, especially that of Frankenstein’s Monster has been delivered in a varied and widened manner (In fact, the last review I wrote had elements of Shelley all over it, intentionally of course!) The story’s thematic structure holds true through time and testament: treatment from the ignorant and impoverished, each casting their own light on the fabric of human character, the wonders of technology and nature and the force of intent behind it.
Welcome to Bernard Rose’s take on this well versed piece of fiction. The question is, has he made his piece that will stand the test of time?
Our aptly named Adam (Xavier Samuel), birthed from the minds of married scientists Marie (Carrie-Anne Moss) & Viktor Frankenstein (Danny Huston), is quickly shafted out of a loving embrace and mutates into a twisted sentiment of its original intent, left for dead in the gritty streets of Los Angeles as he battles to adjust to the nature of humanity, horrific and brutal as ever in stance.
Rose most certainly has the ability to instigate the feeling of isolation, yet given his track record of mythical specialisation and the literature he has to work with, the challenge I think, never came from this. The transformation of our monster is comprehensive and the harshness of reality is never spared, modern day setting versus old testament fiction is a mix not explicitly delivered every day. There’s an inarticulate philosophical context from the creation and as ever, the symbolic reference of fire and purification anew resides fervently.
The trouble lays in the execution (forgive the pun) – we’ve seen this story told many times over, at the core of it, the same questionably moral/ethical attitudes reside, Rose is true to the original form of what makes Frankenstein so universally appealing; yet there’s simply nothing here to separate it from the crop of other versions that stand in either lesser or equal calibre.
Huston and Moss are a well versed duo who’ve proven themselves in singular fashion with prior filmic accomplishments, witnessing Tony Todd as a “down, but never out” street dweller is a welcome performance and one that adds a versatility to his ability. A special mention to Randy Westgate, who’s visual effects are beautifully on point and never hastened.
Bernard Rose delivers his identity through the phantom veins of a macabre genius, whose written texts will no doubt be broken down, re-imagined into variances of discombobulated messes, though Rose’s Frankenstein never falls into the latter category, it doesn’t excel from it either.
(That bloody F-Bombing annoyance may have something to do with it…)
2.5 / 5
Dir: Bernard Rose
Scr: Bernard Rose (screenplay,) Mary Shelley (story)
Cast: Xavier Samuel, Carrie-Anne Moss, Danny Huston, Tony Todd
Prd: Christian Angermayer, Klemens Hallman, Heidi Jo Markel, Jennifer Holiday Morrison
DOP: Candace Higgins
Music: Halli Cauthery
Run Time: 89 min
Frankenstein is out on digital platforms from February 15th and on Blu-ray and DVD from February 22nd courtesy of Signature Entertainment.
Check out this clip from the film: