Directed by Bernard Rose
Country: USA / Germany
Bernard Rose’s artful adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel, “Frankenstein”, is a double-edged sword that probably will only gratify the staunchest fans of the horror genre.
The story, altered to fit the modern days, can be described as extremely violent, highly depressing, and frequently repugnant. These attributes might be an asset for any horror movie, but “Frankenstein’s narrative was weaved with an incessant naivety that shortly makes us disregard the intrinsic concept of its indelible imagery.
Bernard Rose, whose career has been built by more downs than ups, creates a modern monster that sets foot in the outside world after being conceived through an unorthodox experience carried out by a married couple of scientists, Marie (Carrie-Anne Moss) and Viktor Frankenstein (Danny Huston). The boy, who came to life after a long permanence in a sort of a comatose state, is called Adam (Xavier Samuel). He’s the pride of the creators who become marveled with his beauty and perfection. This euphoric state comes to an end when they realize that something went wrong. The hyper-resilient Adam, who shows to have the strength of ten men but the mind of a one-year-old, suddenly becomes pockmarked with ulcers in his face and all over his body.
He’s entrusted to the staff of scientists, who should study the case closely and then get rid of him for good. However, the forlorn Adam learns how to defend himself, killing everyone except his beloved ‘papa’ and ‘mama’.
Unaware of his acts, Adam throws a little girl into the river, becoming persecuted by everyone in town, including a couple of ruthless cops who, unmercifully and in vain, attempt to murder him. He makes of an opulent German shepherd his best friend, and later on, joins the homeless Eddie Child (Tony Todd), a blind guitar player, who asks his prostitute friend, Wanda (Maya Erskine), to take care of the boy’s sexual initiation, leading to disastrous consequences.
From that particular moment on, the film becomes utterly drippy, taking on familiar directions that feel undistinguished and even less convincing.
A worthy aspect here is Xavier Samuel’s solid performance, well followed by Mr. Rose’s regular, Danny Huston, and the outstanding Carrie-Anne Moss, even appearing briefly.
As for the rest, this derivative “Frankenstein” was gruffly conceived, attempting to impress us through middle shots and close-ups of needles penetrating the human flesh, a creepily ulcerous face and body, brain crumbs taken from an open cranium, and extreme violence in its psychological and physical forms. All these assembled gory treats were slim in its degenerated ambition to create a remarkable adaptation of the gothic novel.