Franklyn is a 2008 fantasy drama written and directed by first-time filmmaker Gerald McMorrow. In an ambitious undertaking for a debut film, the story follows the lives of four individuals through two different realities; one in contemporary London, the other in the gothic, religiously fanatical Meanwhile City. Initially, the stories seem fractured and distant from one another, particularly the segments in the fantastical Meanwhile City. However, as the film progresses the threads of these stories begin to weave together one plot.
Eva Green’s character Emilia, battling depression and a rocky relationship with her mother, is working on a macabre art project in which she films herself attempting suicide. She meets a man after one such attempt that tells her that her suicide would not only be devastating for those she already knows, but also for those she has yet to meet.
Milo, played by Sam Riley, has just been jilted by his fiancé. He begins to see a woman around town he is sure is his childhood love, Sally. He comes face-to-face with her but it is obvious that she is not what she seems, as she has Emilia’s face. Milo’s mother tells him Sally was an imaginary friend he had created to comfort him after the death of his father.
Meanwhile, in the aptly, albeit rather obviously named Meanwhile City, we follow Ryan Phillippe’s character, the masked vigilante Jonathan Preest as he seeks to avenge the death of a young girl who died at the hands of a powerful religious sect, and its leader The Individual.
Lastly, Peter Esser (Bernard Hill) is in desperate search of his son David who has evidently escaped a veteran’s hospital after a violent episode. Following various clues, Peter charts David’s rampage through London in an attempt to find his troubled son. As characters Preest has menaced begin to appear in Peter’s search we start to understand that Preest is, in fact, David Esser experiencing a trauma-induced psychosis born from his military service and the untimely death of his sister.
These four stories begin to intersect as characters meet and relationships are revealed, but there is not necessarily a large payoff at the end. The way these four characters end their journeys is much less interesting than the themes that tied them together during the rest of the film.