Franklyn

Starring Ryan Phillipe, Eva Green and Sam Riley. Directed by Gerald McMorrow.
Rated MA 15+ (strong themes). 132 mins.

Tantalising.  At least, this is what writer-director, Gerald McMorrow, hopes about the beginning of his new film.  And, if you are tantalised, you will stay with it, puzzling about the two different worlds we are seeing, then gradually becoming more satisfied as the two worlds come together.  But, some may feel exasperated rather than tantalised, finding the two worlds too difficult to understand.

This reviewer was tantalised.

We are put into two worlds without warning, although the central character in a fantasy city that looks to London's Dickensian past as well as showing futuristic touches, Meanwhile City, announces that he is on a mission to kill.  He wears a mask that is not too far away from Friday 13th or Halloween or even The Elephant Man: white cloth, hollow eye sockets...  As he walks down the busy and rather squalid streets of the city, he tells us that religion is the compulsion of the day and that he is the only one without faith.  His quest is to destroy The Individual who is responsible for the death of a young girl.

Suddenly, we are in contemporary England, then in different sections of London, the world of the rich and psychiatrists, the world of an ordinary young man whose engagement and wedding plans have collapsed and an eccentric young media student who seems to have a death wish.

We go backwards and forwards, following the story of Jonathan Preest (Ryan Philippe) in Meanwhile City, his solitary confinement, treatment by the religious police and authority (Art Malik) and his renewal of his mission.  The young man, Milo (Sam Riley) also has his problems but encounters a teacher (Eva Green) who was the little girl companion when his father died.  The suicidal young woman (also Eva Green)  is trying to get the attention of her mother (Susannah York) to admit her father's abuse of her.  And a church warden (Bernard Hill) is searching for his son, David, an Iraq veteran who has escaped from treatment at a mental institution.

Yes, the characters all come together, we understand the nature of the two worlds, the reality and the imaginative creations of disturbed people.

Intriguing.

Icon  Out November 12

Fr Peter Malone MSC directs the film desk of SIGNIS: the World Association of Catholic Communicators, and is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.


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