Franklyn Gerald McMorrow

Franklyn Gerald McMorrow
With its washed-out aesthetic and bleak futuristic vision of a pious herd mentality surrounded by intricate gothic architecture, one might assume that Franklyn shares kinship with stylized allegories such as Dark City and Blade Runner. But this film is nothing of the sort, being more of a grounded romance with a Donnie Darko spin that warns of a life lived with blind faith and the fleeting moments we miss while preoccupied with idealistic whimsies. In the futuristic Meanwhile City, a masked Jonathan Preest (Ryan Phillippe) searches for his nemesis amongst legions of religious zealots contentedly accepting any fancy or regime inflicted upon them. This storyline interweaves with three tales in contemporary London, involving a deeply romantic young man (played by Sam Riley), a depressive art student (Eva Green, doing her best Helena Bonham Carter) and a father looking for his lost son. Narratively, these disparate tales have little in common until the final reels, sharing mainly thematic and emotional similarities, such as an inability to let go of childhood demons, and constructed reality as a defence to the pains of worldly hurt. We're essentially dealing with a group of people trapped in a cycle of defeated despondency, reaching out in unconventional ways to an indifferent world. Emilia (Green) videotapes herself attempting suicide before calling the ambulance as part of a video art installation project, only to be lectured on responsibility, while Milo (Riley) continually chases a love that is constantly out of reach. These coeval tales prove more effective on the whole, as the quest in Meanwhile City, while gorgeous and impeccably costumed, never fully gels with the rest of the film. Viewers looking for an existing philosophical mirror will surely be disappointed, but those that are patient and keen on examinations of damaged psyches will find a touching, dark and strangely uplifting film with a bounty of sincerity. Included with the DVD are interviews with the director, cast and members of the creative and technical teams. (E1)