Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Indie Review: Gods and Monsters (1998)

                                   Hardly Anything 'Monstrous' About This Biopic

                   In this dramatic biopic, Sir Ian McKellen ditches bending metal and casting spells in favor of playing a famed director during his last days and delivers what is probably one of the best performances of his career. I definitely enjoy seeing him bending metal and casting spells on screen, but he really shines in this.

                  Gods and Monsters is a somewhat fictionalized biopic about famed director James Whale (Ian McKellen), who directed Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein, and his last days before his tragic death. He develops a friendship with his gardener Clayton Boone (Brendan Fraser) and the film also focuses on his homosexuality as one of its main themes.
                  What I Liked About It:
                 Of course, the thing that I loved the most about this film was the outstanding performance by Ian McKellen. Before I watched this film, I never had any doubts about his acting ability, so I figured if he was good, it wouldn't surprise me, but he was MUCH better than good. He showcases Whale's struggles with his ailing health as well as his depression, and does it with great force. Glad he got nominated for an Oscar for his performance. Brendan Fraser delivers his best work in this film and gives a solid supporting performance as Clayton, who is uneasy about his bond with Whale at first because of Whale's sexual orientation but he eventually warms up to him as the film progresses. Lynn Redgrave is also pretty good as Hanna, Whale's Scandinavian housekeeper, and in my opinion, some of the high points of the film were the scenes between her and Brendan Fraser.

               Also, one thing about this film that I found interesting was how the storyline was almost a parallel to the story of Bride of Frankenstein. In the end, they show a scene from The Bride of Frankenstein where an old hermit meets Frankenstein and sees him as a friend sent by God. In the film, Whale and Clayton form a bond with Clayton being Whale's "monster". Plus, homosexuality is said to be a theme in Bride of Frankenstein, and it is a central theme in this film.

                What I Didn't Like About It:

              Overall, Gods and Monsters is a wonderfully-done dramatic piece with a masterful performance by Sir Ian McKellen. I may not have seen Frankenstein or Bride of Frankenstein yet, but watching this film makes me want to.

Rating: 4.5/5