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FRANKLYN: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
Jonathan Preest (Ryan Phillippe) is a masked vigilante detective, searching for his nemesis on the streets of Meanwhile City, a monolithic metropolis of the future, ruthlessly governed by faith and religious fervor. In a parallel universe, Esser (Bernard Hill) is a broken man, searching for his wayward son amongst the rough streets of contempo London's homeless. Milo (Sam Riley) is a heartbroken thirty-something desperately trying to find a way back to the purity of first love. Emilia (Eva Green) is a beautiful art student; her suicidal art projects are becoming increasingly more complex and deadly.

Review by Louise Keller:
Mood and music are the two strengths of this sci-fi mystery set in parallel universes in which revenge and faith are the primary themes. The world of the masked vigilante intent on avenging the death of a young girl is dark both visually and thematically; the alternate world filled with light is dark emotionally. First time director Gerald McMorrow has created an interesting film whose reality slowly seeps into our psyche, despite frustrations and confusions with characters and plot lines. Concentration and patience are required to follow the story of the four key characters whose stories are interconnected.

Ultimately it doesn't quite work, but along the way it is easy to be somewhat sucked in, especially by Eva Green's suicidal artist and Sam Riley's emotionally shattered dreamer. Green's Emilia is a character borne of melodrama - whether it is bickering with her mother (Susannah York), or the dramatic execution of her attempted suicide on a red pillow and red lipstick smudged over her face. Riley's Milo is an appealing lost soul for whom reality was never enough and who is chasing his childhood sweetheart. Esser (Bernard Hill) is a tragic figure as he follows clues to track down his missing son whose life has gone awry. Surprisingly, it is Ryan Phillippe's Jonathan Preest as the vigilante who wears a Halloween-ish mask and who narrates the tale, whose presence is the least effective. Preest is the only atheist in his reality of Meanwhile City, which is ruled by religion and believers of many different faiths.

Much of the dialogue irritates. Lines like 'I had to keep it together; stay focused; it's nearly time...' feel contrived and weakly melodramatic. But tension builds naturally by the bizarre aspects of each character and the climactic end scene set at night in the rain, allows all the story strands to collide. I really liked the music: Joby Talbot's interesting score with haunting themes, runaway quavers, arpeggios that take us to another plane and melodramatic modulations all play an important and powerful role.

Published April 1, 2010

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

FRANKLYN: DVD (MA)
(US, 2009)

CAST: Eva Green, Ryan Phillippe, Sam Riley, Bernard Hill, Richard Coyle, Sam Douglas, Jay Fuller, Art Malik

PRODUCER: Jeremy Thomas

DIRECTOR: Gerald McMorrow

SCRIPT: Gerald McMorrow

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Davis

EDITOR: Peter Christelis

MUSIC: Joby Talbot

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Laurence Dorman

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Icon

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 12, 2009

PRESENTATION: 16: 9

SPECIAL FEATURES: None

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Icon

DVD RELEASE: April 2, 2010







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