Friday, 22 November 2013

Review: Danny Boyle's Frankenstein (JLM as the Creature)

World of Blackout Film Review

Danny Boyle's Frankenstein Poster

National Theatre Live: Frankenstein (with Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature)*1
Cert: 15 / 125 mins / Dir. Danny Boyle



On reflection, I think that this version of Frankenstein, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the ethically-bereft doctor and Jonny Lee Miller as his first-draft creation, is my favourite of the two performances. A short featurette before the play has Cumberbatch recalling how he studied recovering stroke-patients for his portrayal of the creature, whereas Miller says a lot of his performance was based around his 4yr old son. And it's Miller's child-like interpretation of the part which swings it for me, if only because I could identify more closely with it (not that BC's creature is any less stunning, but it does have a different feel).

In addition, it seems that Cumberbatch is able to get more out of the role of Victor Frankenstein. Both actors pull off the fraught, distracted scientist well, but BC adds a layer of vulnerability which makes the doctor a more sympathetic character; an interesting dynamic in the scenes he shares with his creation, creating a conflict around who you're meant to be rooting for.

Mrs Blackout accompanied me to this, and while she enjoyed it throughly, she feels the other version has the edge. We also took some friends along who hadn't seen either version, and they were suitably blown-away by the whole thing (although, as is customary, they were raising eyebrows at the opening sequence. I think everyone does, that first time). So y'know, your mileage will vary, but you should still love it either way.

Without wanting to sound clichéd, the story really has held its relevancy, and this production does it justice perfectly. Screenings are continuing into December: take a look at Frankenstein's National Theatre page for details of performances near you.

Apart from anything else, how often do you get to see two Sherlocks on stage at the same time?


Is the trailer representative of the film?
As much as it can be, yes.


Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Yes.


Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
Undoubtedly.


Pay at the cinema, Rent on DVD or just wait for it to be on the telly?
Cinema as an when you can, because there's no DVD on the horizon.


Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Yeah.


Will I watch it again?
Yeah.


Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
Y'know what, I think there's one buried repeatedly in a music/sound-effects sting that transitions two scenes. But I could well be wrong, so I'll err on the side of no.


And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...


And my question for YOU is…
Did you get the chance to see this at the National Theatre? How does the atmosphere compare with the cinematic presentation?



*1 You can read my review of the show with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature here, and my original 2012 review (also with Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature) here.

DISCLAIMERS:
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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