Sometimes things fly under the radar for a good reason. For me, the 2008 film Franklyn is a perfect example of why some things are just best left alone. Added to our Netflix instant queue on a whim because it had an interesting cover (remember, I shop by novelty), Franklyn tells two tales, one set in modern London and the other takes place in the future in a religion ruled place called Meanwhile City. In London, Milo (Sam Riley) is finding life difficult since his most recent break up and finds comfort in a child hood friend. Meanwhile, Emilia (Eva Green) is an artist whose work for her art degree is extremely suicidal in nature. Finally, Peter Esser (Bernard Hill) is a father on the search for his missing son who has disappeared after the death of his sister. The film takes a huge leap in its futuristic setting as Jonathan Preest (Ryan Phillippe) is the only atheist in a city ruled by different religions.
Sound like there’s a lot going on? You’d be right to assume that because ninety percent of the film is so full of different stories and narratives that you spend most of your time trying to figure out how it’s going to all tie together. So while you do that, you’re missing out on plot points and story info that would probably help this crazy story make more sense earlier in the film. It really takes over an hour for the film to start making sense and for things to really pay off. I don’t want to say that “you should avoid Franklyn at all costs”, but the simple truth is that if you’re skimming through a local rental store or want to pick something up at random then you may want to hold off on Franklyn. As I said earlier, it is available on Netflix Instant so if you’re looking for something different and “out there” to watch, you may find Franklyn to be worth your time. It is in no way close to a film like Donnie Darko, which is often strives to be.
On the plus side, the costumes, make up, and sets in the film are extremely well done. For a film I’d never heard of before, I was quite surprised at the level of detail in all the visuals. But at the same time, the entire Preest character has been done before. He’s a weird cross between the Invisible Man, Hollow Man, John Constantine and, of course, Rorschach from Watchmen. Even the character’s personality and what is shown as his fighting style makes you immediately visualize the fight scenes from Watchmen. They’re even shot in a very Zack Snyder-esque way. As I said at the start, maybe it’s best if something stay under the radar because not everything out there is worth the time or the money put into it.