Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What Hump?

Victor Frankenstein (2015) is a strange title for a movie that is mostly about his hunchbacked assistant Igor.

In this telling, Daniel Radcliffe is a hunchback clown with no name working in a circus. He is also a bit of an anatomy savant, who patches up performers when they get injured. One day, the eccentric Dr. Frankenstein (James McAvoy)  sees him and frees him from his circus cage. He takes him to his odd home and give him the name of his morphine-addicted room-mate, Igor Straussman, who hasn't been seen for a while.

Frankenstein cures Igor's hunchback (in the most disgusting way possible) and cleans him up for society. Since Dr. F is a bit of a crank and a boor, Igor looks pretty good by comparison. But Frankenstein isn't just trying to Pygmalion a hunchback - he has bigger plans. With the help of a foppish benefactor (a superfluous role, but well played by Freddie Fox), he hopes to become, dare we say it, a GOD!

Just to get the spoilers out of the way, the monster doesn't have much screen time, but this isn't really about him. I guess it's supposed to be about the titular VF, but it's mostly about Igor and his humanity.

Even more, I think that this is a a visual pleasure, with sumptuous sets, studied compositions, and a fluid camera. There is a scene at the beginning with a women on a trapeze that made me think of Lola Montez. When your movie recalls Max Ophuls, you're onto something.

Finally, the movie isn't exactly a comedy, but it isn't afraid to be silly. There's a "Fronkenshteen" gag straight from Young Frankenstein, for instance, but they don't carry it too far.

All in all, a good-looking movie that doesn't take itself too seriously, starring McAvoy and Radcliffe. My favorite Frankenstein movie made in this century.

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