Frankenstein. It’s a timeless story we all know. The monster with bolts out of his neck is still quite the popular costume during Halloween. But how many have read the book by Mary Shelley and who knows this dark tale from Igor’s perspective? Leaving the theater, I was quite pleasantly surprised at the unique story, high action, and special effects that completely and whole-heartedly engaged me.
Igor (Danielle Radcliffe) is initially a nameless clown, literally, in the circus. Self-educated, he is the default medical doctor who by day is belittled and pounded upon physically for the sheer entertainment of the audience. But all that comes to a halt when Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) attends a performance and witnesses a miraculous “dry surgery” upon a fallen acrobat who happens to be Igor’s love from afar. Frankenstein rescues the hunchback whose deformity is merely a disgusting pocket of infection built up for the last 18 years which is drained before our very eyes, along with a barbaric chiropractic adjustment, and the two become a team to create life from death.
Telling the story of Frankenstein and his monster from Igor Strassman’s point of view allows us to instantly identify with and care for him. With his past abuse and longing for family and love, Igor can still somehow set the moral boundaries from which Frankenstein strays. With a highly intelligent investigator from Scotland Yard who mixes Church and State together in lethal doses, the high intensity between creating an “unholy” being and being caught and stopped keeps the viewer completely engaged and on the edge of your seat. Throw in some amazing CGI and special effects with make up and you have a successfully entertaining film.
Depicting Frankenstein as a man with past issues, a father who blames him for unfortunate circumstances in the past, and drinking a myriad number of shots of whiskey while “creating” and it’s no wonder a monster came to be! Depicting both Frankenstein and Igor’s thought processes brings an even higher level of understanding of the capabilities of these two men. With many references of the future world never knowing Frankenstein for who he really is, creates a empathy for this mad scientist.
Radcliffe creates the caring, trusting, and loving Igor we never knew. And there’s a certain intensity that is mesmerizing with McAvoy, no matter who he portrays. The two together balance each other in a symbiotic way, allowing us to really know the complexity of each character.
“Victor Frankenstein” is an unusual perspective of the dark depiction of this familiar tale. Settings that Shelley probably envisioned, a cast that is intensely engaging, a bit of a love story, high action, and special effects bring life to a story that was otherwise thought dead.