‘Victor Frankenstein’ – James McAvoy’s Best Perfomance Yet? | Film Reviews
Who better to play a young, manic scientific genius than X-Men star James McAvoy? Paired with baby-faced Daniel Radcliffe, the two represent Victor Frankenstein and his associate Igor Straussman in this wacky adaptation of the classic novel by Mary Shelley; partners in the biggest anatomical experiment in scientific history. Told from Igor’s point of view, writer Max Landis allows our sympathy to grow for the unlikely pair.
The screenplay begins at the circus, and we witness Igor – who is an unnamed hunchbacked clown at this time – be tormented by his peers. After Frankenstein visits, and recognises the hidden physician in the timid circus freak, he returns to break Igor free of the circus, subsequently releasing him of his hunchback state. When Frankenstein asks for assistance in his project of creating life from death, Igor’s curiosity piques, and he agrees.
McAvoy thrives in displaying the evolving insanity of Frankenstein; an almost theatrical performance captures his lunacy perfectly, with saliva, sweat and tears galore (much to Radcliffe’s misfortune). The combination of British brilliance in this adaptation proves a great choice for the gothic theme, although McGuigan (director) doesn’t quite succeed in displaying the original balance of romance and horror that Shelley intended.
Unfortunately, despite the impressive performance from the cast, the pace of Victor Frankenstein is disappointing; in particular the climax, where Frankenstein’s infamous human creation appears on screen for less than five minutes. The final scene is significantly underdeveloped, as well as the weak scenes of the creation of Frankenstein’s monsters, which had potential to mirror the horror expected.
This unsatisfactory finale destroys much of the brilliance of the adaptation, and makes it exclusively subject to criticism. Victor Frankenstein is definitely a great modern interpretation of Shelley’s novel, however will never exceed the excellence of James Whale’s original Frankenstein, and will never live up to the expectations of those who have read and adored the classic novel.