By Simon Jago
Franklyn was a movie I knew very little about until I saw an advert featuring a stylised character in a disturbing mask similar to that of Rorschach from 'Watchman'. I was instantly intrigued and had to find out more about this movie.
The film follows several characters set in the simultaneous worlds of contemporary London and a future metropolis ruled by Religion. There is Emilia (Eva Green), a reckless art student who believes filming her own suicide attempts will create an art project that will secure her graduation at art school. Peter Esser played by Bernard Hill is a lonely old man who has received news that his son has gone missing and begins searching for him on the homeless streets of London while Milo (Sam Riley) a young man running from his future on the countdown to his wedding day goes in pursuit of his first love.
Most of the film takes place in this world. However, there is another side to the story, set in Meanwhile city, a ‘steampunk’ style cathedral like metropolis governed by faith and religion. In the underworld of Meanwhile City one masked vigilante named ‘Preest’ (Ryan Phillipe) has been given the task of assassinating a mysterious man named ‘The Individual’. The story alternates between the two worlds as each character embarks on their own journey.
Franklyn was refreshingly original and I found myself glued to the screen waiting to find out how all the characters stories would combine. The design of ‘Meanwhile city’ was visually exciting and well stylised, but the scenes set in more recognisable London were just as intriguing.
It’s easy to see how the film failed to be huge at the box office as the action scenes fail to quite live up to the ‘Watchmen’ and ‘Matrix’ style that they try to emulate and films these days that don’t seem to reveal the entire story in the trailer fail to be big money makers. However, the story is very cleverly told, well acted and ultimately maintains a high level of production.
Franklyn might be set in two completely different worlds, but for me it rests in just one, and that is one of good movies. 4 Stars out of 5.