Friday, 27 February 2009
Franklyn my dear, I don't give a damn
Franklyn, my dear, I don’t give a damn
Franklyn is a new fantasy drama that has been billed as an ‘urban fairytale’. You’ll find no quotes from critics on the posters. Here’s why. In this very peculiar melange, two parallel worlds are fused together: a downbeat contemporary London and an over-stylised fantasy world called Meanwhile City. We know it’s a fantastical place because characters wear very big hats and sunglasses all the time. Preest (Ryan Phillippe) wanders around in a cloth mask muttering inanities and beating up his quota of henchmen while searching for a character called ‘The Individual’. His target could well be his agent or perhaps writer/director Gerald McMorrow. The quasi-religious gypsy world he has realised comes across like a cheap rip off of films like Dark City, crossed with the Crystal Maze.
Meanwhile in London, Emilia (Eva Green) is an emotional train wreck, a beautiful young girl who contrives her own suicide attempts as part of an art school project. Honestly. At one point she puts on lots of lip-stick and cavorts in front of the camera. This is supposed to be replete with meaning, but all it suggested to me is that Green looks great in black eyeliner.
Meanwhile, for those still in the cinema, a young man called Milo (Sam Riley) is jilted at the altar and walks around looking miserable. Meanwhile again, (getting bored: big hats! Gothic cathedrals! Mysterious voice-over!), Esser (Bernard Hill) is also unhappy as he walks gradually around London, looking for his lost son. At one point he has a very s-l-o-w exchange of dialogue with a cleaner about him where eventually he says: ‘He is lost, yes he is, that’s why I’m looking for him.’ That sums up Franklyn, which thinks it is all clever and circular and doomed like Donnie Darko. Baloney, the mix of genres and styles here is a crushing bore. One definition of fairytale is ‘an interesting but highly implausible story; often told as an excuse.’ Well, Franklyn is implausible, uninteresting and there is no excuse.