In the present we meet Milo (Sam Riley), he is sitting in a church yard and is obviously depressed about something but as we watch we witness him becoming distracted by a red haired woman he keeps on seeing. We also meet Peter (Bernard Hill), a church warden who learns that his son is going to be allowed home to spend the night but receives bad news when he goes missing. And there is art student Emilia (Eva Green - Casino Royale) who has a troubled relationship with her mother and plans to commit suicide as some form of artistic statement. But in another universe, in a steam punk city called Meanwhile lives the masked Preest (Ryan Phillippe - Stop-Loss) who despises the religious and seems hell bent on getting revenge for the death of someone.
The only way I feel that I can review "Franklyn" is to describe my journey through this movie rather than do a normal review. So as the movie started it wrestled to grab my attention as the scenes in the now were so disjointed that I found it hard to become involved in what was going on. But then we are taken to Preest's world the stunning gothic architecture with a Victorian slant was captivating. It was this, the need to understand what was happening in Preest's world which kept me watching.
So set up out of the way and this disjointed formula continues as we focus on the 4 individuals. We witness Emilia's various suicide attempts, we witness Peter trying to find his son and we witness Milo dealing with his issues and the red haired lady who keeps grabbing his eye. And like with the start it is only the regular excursions into Meanwhile and Preest's curiously, striking work which keeps me wanting to watch. Unfortunately what that means is that this story of 4 individuals, 4 lost souls fails to engage as their individual issues fails to make for entertaining drama. The only thing which keeps you going other than Meanwhile is a desire to know what the pay-off is going to be, how these 4 very separate storylines are going to connect.
Now I didn't dislike this, writer and director Gerald McMorrow has obviously got a clear vision in mind and it appears he has succeeded in creating that vision. But the trouble is that not only is that "Franklyn" extremely disjointed but also lumbering in pacing. Maybe I am just use to more traditionally styled movies which have a greater structure and aim for consistent pacing but I am sure others like me will equally struggle with McMorrow's jarring style. And trust me when I say that it is worth persisting with as when things do start to connect it does all become clear and even entertaining.
As for the acting well the actors are part of why it is so intriguing. Eva Green, Ryan Phillippe, Sam Riley and Bernard Hill all deliver fascinating characters, seriously contrasting individuals. And with the movies structure which we see actors playing multiple roles it adds to the movies general sense of intrigue leading us to keep watching out of a necessity to solve the riddle of what is going on.
What this all boils down to is that "Franklyn" is on one hand an intriguing movie which does a good job of keeping us watching out of that need to know what is going on. But because it is slow and seriously disjointed it struggles to fully engage us with the 4 individual characters that is until we eventually get clues to what is what.