Franklyn (2008) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Fantasy
Image Entertainment || R - 98 minutes - $35.98 || November 17, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-11-06


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Gerald McMorrow
Writer(s): Gerald McMorrow (written by)
Cast: Eva Green, Ryan Phillippe, Sam Riley, Bernard Hill


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Featurette
  • Interviews
  • Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Gerald McMorrow’s oddity, known as Franklyn, channels Richard Kelly’s Donnie Darko with a little A Beautiful Mind thrown in for good measure. Franklyn isn’t the weirdest movie I’ve seen but it certainly has strange moments but when it all comes together, even though it doesn’t strike a perfect chord, I still found it to be an entertaining little film which originally was released in the UK earlier this year and then finding a home on the United States’ DVD market.

Franklyn is the story about a masked vigilante named Jonathan Preest (RYAN PHILLIPPE) who scours a place known as Meanwhile City, a dark metropolis where you are required to be associated with a religion, doesn’t matter which or what. At the same time, in present day London, we follow troubled young woman Emilia Bryant (EVA GREEN) who is emotionally unstable. We also meet Milo (SAM RILEY), a poor soul who just got dumped by his fiancé and deals with that emotional turmoil which leads to a childhood crush making her return. The third story focuses on Peter Esser (BERNARD HILL), a father who is looking for his missing older son. How do these unusual stories fit together? Quite well in my opinion and although I was a little confused as the pieces started coming together, it all made sense.

The movie features some good performances headlined by Eva Green, a woman I have fallen for since her fantastic role as a Bond Girl in Casino Royale. Her role here takes center stage as her character struggles with various emotional issues including abuse in her childhood at the hands of her father. Her release includes peculiar artsy projects and taping attempted suicides, but not before calling for paramedics beforehand.

The other two – who I consider more supporting actors – in Franklyn are good, if not a little mundane by comparison with Green. For a limited role, Ryan Phillippe does an admirable job with a performance that takes place behind a mask, so he must rely on a gruff, Rorschach-like voice, and body movement to convey attitude and intent.

I must also commend writer/director Gerald McMorrow in his feature film debut with a unique and impressively strange dramatic fantasy. I noticed early on that it had shades of Richard Kelly in there with a topsy-turvy world, self-aware characters and an interesting plot that keeps the intrigue until the end. It’s not as well polished or complicated as Donnie Darko or Southland Tales, but Franklyn holds its own and is, despite some flaws, one of the more fascinating movies of 2009.

Unless you live in the UK, you probably haven’t even heard of this film but I recommend at least a rental as some might find it to be at times convoluted while others will embrace it from beginning to end. Although I’m in the middle, give it a shot, you just might be surprised.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Featurette (4:01) – This is just a primer on the making of the movie featuring sound bites with the cast and crew.

Interviews (32:22) – We get a ton of interview footage with the cast and crew including: Director Gerald McMorrow, Producer Jeremy Thomas, Costume Designer Leonie Hartard, Production Designer Laurence Dorman and DP Ben Davis and Actors Ryan Phillippe, Eva Green, Sam Riley and Bernard Hill. These aren’t exactly enthralling as each talks about what drew them to the script and explaining their characters.

Last up are a few throwaway Deleted Scenes (3:53) and the films trailer (1:53).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Franklyn is presented with a 2.35 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. The picture isn’t anything amazing, but it is free of pixilation as most scenes look fairly clear. However, black levels aren’t the best and the actual image can be at times a little soft. Unlike some HD releases, this doesn’t pop off the screen as well, perhaps due to the director’s intentions or a limited budget.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is effective but a little ho-hum. The majority of the film is dialogue-centric so you’re not going to get a big boost but the music and score come across nicely enough and the dialogue itself is clear.



.::OVERALL::.

Franklyn isn’t deep in story yet effective enough in its execution. First time writer-director Gerald McMorrow weaves together an interesting enough plot to keep you entertained until the end and the performances are all effective. The Blu-ray doesn’t include a whole lot in terms of special features while the audio and video are underwhelming, but I would give this a moderate recommendation.