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Franklyn review

Franklyn
15certificate 15
Running time: 98 minutes
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Bernard Hill, Eva Green, Sam Riley, Art Malik, Susannah York
Rating 6 out of 10
Franklyn is a film that aims high for a low-budget British release. It's directed with plenty of panache by newcomer Gerald McMorrow and produced by Jeremy Thomas, the man behind The Last Emperor and Sexy Beast, which probably explains the access to some very impressive special effect work.

It's also engaging enough to have attracted the interest of a Hollywood name (Ryan Phillippe) as well as Casino Royale star Eva Green (who came to light in another Thomas production, The Dreamers).

Set in what appear to be parallel universes of London in different times, Franklyn has a Matrix-like appeal, and with a main character that spends much of his time in a mask, it ticks a lot of boxes for the eager sci-fi/horror crowd. But they will have to pay attention: the plotlines are complex and the story reveals its hand slowly and deliberately.

Some of these plotlines are more successful than others: in the future dystopian universe - beautifully and impressively rendered - Phillippe's character is a masked vigilante protesting against the oppressive regime. In what may be the present Eva Green is a suicidal artist bent on melding her work and her eventual demise. Finally, and also in the present Sam Riley (Ian Curtis in Control) is a lovesick twentysomething intent on recapturing past highs.

All of the characters are slightly off-kilter, as are the situations they find themselves in. Halfway through you begin to wonder if the script and pace can maintain the impressive style of the first thirty minutes: unfortunately the answer is they don't, and affairs become mired down in the complexities of the plot. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of sparks to suggest that McMorrow has a bright future.

Paul Hurley

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