LE ELEMENTARY – FRANKENSTEIN
(review) Richard Zywotkiewicz
***** out of 5
The students of Glendale Elementary have produced an hour long film
version of Frankenstein which is truly worthy of Mary Shelley’s
work. The production, which stars many students in rotating portrayals
of the novel’s characters, is a glossy, epic period film which
explores both the horror and the pathos of the central character, a
grotesque yet sympathetic victim of science.
The creature, as portrayed by several Glendale students, is seen to
be a misunderstood outsider who is capable of both sensitive acts,
and horrifying ones. The portrayals by the students are wonderful,
particularly in the monster’s final confrontation with his creator
towards the film’s conclusion.
Other elements of the novel, including the fragmented love interest
between Victor and Elizabeth get equal screen time and reflect upon
the Victorian Romanticism of the times. Again, portrayals of the characters
are strong, weighing equally upon Victor’s commitment to Elizabeth
and his obsession with his scientific theories. Elizabeth is portrayed
with rigor as a woman who is resolute in her trust in Victor, yet weary
of the dark unknowns of his secret life.
There is humour in this sombre story as well. Victor’s confrontations
at the University are played up with rousing exuberance. And Victor’s
friendship with a fellow scientist, Waldman, is explored as a thematic
device, relaying to the audience the dangerous courtship of science
and spiritual philosophy.
All in all, the production is brilliant, given its low budget. The
cinematography by various students is steady and the set design is
clever. The warm lighting of the Frankenstein mansion is contrasted
by the cold bleakness of night. A brilliant stroke by the students.
All in all, the students of Glendale Elementary have produced a fine
film in the Mary Shelley name, one which asks many questions about
the role of science in society. It also shows, with sensitivity, the
tragic consequences of being different in an untrusting society.
And last of all, after the sad and poetic ending, there is a hilarious
stretch of outtakes to lighten the mood and let the viewer feel thoroughly
provoked and entertained by this excellent film.