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Victor Frankenstein | 2015 | PG-13 | - 2.6.3

In a twist on the literary classic, a circus doctor (Daniel Radcliffe) meets a mad scientist (James McAvoy) who is examining animal bodies. The men become friends and share in experimental research in matters of life and death. Also with Jessica Brown Findlay, Andrew Scott, Charles Dance, Mark Gatiss, Callum Turner, Noah Emmerich, Freddie Fox and Daniel Mays. Directed by Paul McGuigan. [1:50]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A shirtless man and a fully clothed woman lie on a bed face- to-face and kiss and the scene ends. A man and a woman hug and kiss for several seconds.
 At a party a woman states that a rich, thin blonde man is a man who prefers the company of other men, and another man hears this and raises his eyebrows in surprise.
 Two female trapeze artists have scoop necklines and reveal a small amount of cleavage; one of the woman performs on a high trapeze spreading her legs in several positions as a man on the ground watches with admiration. A few party scenes show women wearing slightly low-cut 19th century dresses that reveal moderate cleavage, and three or four long dresses are low-cut in the back to reveal bare upper backs. A male creature wears only a band of cloth around the groin area and his pale body and limbs show wide stitches and metal closures like staples across and down the chest, back and arms.
 A man speaks to a few women about in vitro fertilization, in which sperm can be placed into a bucket with eggs and fertilized eggs can result; then doctors could put the fertilized eggs "up your..." (the sentence is left incomplete).


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A dark laboratory at night in a circular courtyard in an old castle features beakers of unknown solutions, generators, small engines that emit steam, flashing lights, electronic buzzing, clanking chains and iron tables; we see a large figure draped and hanging in a metal harness and blood bubbles in a large beaker as the roof opens and a thunderstorm sends in heavy rain and lightning as we hear loud thunderclaps and the sewn-together human male body is lifted as a scientist screams in excitement and the created human exhales cold misty air before the harness breaks and the body smashes against a tall stone wall while men fall off a lift and off-screen and others run and scream; the creature falls to the floor and rises to its feet, growls, chokes a man, and then throws him down (the man's mouth is bloody), another man shoots the creature in the arm (we see a gush of blood), the creature throws the man over a wall and off-screen (presumably dead) and two men fight the creature with metal bars and by throwing lanterns (the creature pulls a thin metal bar from its shoulder and we see some blood), a metal bar pierces the creature, a man hits it with a heavy chain and another man rams a thick metal bar through the creature's back; the creature falls to a kneeling position, with many round red wounds across his chest. Two men take a reconstructed animal to a medical college to demonstrate their findings, two electrical surges fail to awaken the animal, but shock one of the men doing the presentation and dozens of flies fly out of the animal carcass; a third surge shocks both of the men presenting the animal, the men fall, and we see bolts of electricity around the animal causing its eyes to open, it punches a man and it thrashes about, breaking leather straps and jumping onto a woman, who falls but is unhurt; the animal chases one of the experimenters, punches him knocking him into a shelf holding glass bottles that shatter loudly and the man and the animal fall into a stairwell, but hang onto the balcony railing; another man is kicked by the animal and he kills the animal by pounding its head with a fire extinguisher three times below the frame (we do not see the damage). Two men attach electrodes to the body of a chimpanzee with monkey parts sewn into it: The face has skin only on the forehead, revealing gore on the jaw and chin, skin covers only parts of the torso and one arm, metal clamps and leather stitches hold the body together, but we can see muscles and ligaments; electricity sent into the body from generators cause it to breathe.
 A man releases a hunchback from an animal cage and the two men fight off other men; a fire breather breathes fire on one of the men, but does no harm and we see several punches and kicks and a man throws a knife into a wooden wall next to the head of the hunchback before another man subdues the knife thrower and knocks him out; another knife breaks a bottle of wine and it catches fire, burning part of a wagon as the first two men escape and a man throws a knife and kills another man, who falls off-screen (no blood is seen).
 A detective begins to ramble and mutter about body parts and actions against God, he takes police officers to an old factory/laboratory and pounds on the door breaking in without a warrant, he pulls out a handgun and points it at the head of a scientist and the two men punch each other, the scientist struggles and puts the other man's hand behind and presumably into large moving gears and the detective shouts (the man is shown with a cut and bloody face, a milky left eye, and a blood-soaked cloth over his hand); the camera cuts to the detective speaking to his boss, rambling about murder and laboratories, and we see a wood-and-metal replacement hand attached to his arm (he is placed on medical leave for psychological reasons).
 A man takes a hunchback home and pushes him against a pillar in a laboratory full of generators, beakers, specimen bottles, flashing lights and buzzing equipment along with a snake in formaldehyde, stuffed chimpanzees and stuffed monkeys; the first man removes the hunchback's shirt and stabs a giant hypodermic needle into an abscess on his back, draining some yellowish fluid and the hunchback shouts in pain, then the other man attaches a hose, sucks some of the fluid out to start suction, spits it out, and drains the entire abscess into a bowl. A man crunches a hunchback against a pillar to straighten his back and then puts a leather brace on him; now straighter, the former hunchback staggers a bit, his legs tremble and one shoulder is slightly higher than the other. A man shows another man an aquarium of liquid containing two eyes, he attaches electric wires to the eyes, hand cranks a generator to send electricity into the small tank, and the eyes begin to follow a lighted match. A man discovers a large block of ice in a basement room; the ice contains a man with the eyes gouged out. A circus hunchback clown walks unevenly bent over at the waist, and has a hump on one shoulder; he draws sketches of human body systems and organs and acts as doctor in the circus.
 A man argues with his father who yells "Silence!," then backhands his son in the face so hard that it knocks him several feet away and onto his back (no blood). Two men place a hood over the head of a man and throw him into a river, his wrists and ankles tied, but he escapes. In a circus act clowns punch and kick a hunchback clown and stuff his head into a bucket, as the audience laughs; after his act, the ringmaster and a strong man lock him into an animal cage and burn all his sketches and written paperwork. A man slaps himself in the face.
 A woman falls from a high trapeze to the ground in a circus ring with a hard thud; two men rush to her and find her collarbone broken (we hear it is the second time it has broken) and the shoulder separated and she is not breathing; one man takes a large pocket watch, places it against the broken bone, and slams it with his hand to set the bone while the other man replaces the shoulder joint properly and men carry her away on a stretcher.
 Several scenes show overlay sketches of skeletons and body systems on top of the film's characters that include growling lions, monkeys and human beings. Two men sketch a giant body outline on a floor, including body systems and they color the heart red. At Scotland Yard a detective picks up a lion's paw that shows no blood or gore; he has a list of missing body parts of people and animals in London, including a spleen, hearts, lungs and kidneys. A man tells another man that he needs animal body parts for a medical course he is taking. A man brings another man several trays of bloody hearts and lungs to attach to electric wires; we see the hearts beat and lungs seem to breathe (the first man wears a blood-smeared apron). A male creature wears only a band of cloth around the groin area and his pale body and limbs show wide stitches and metal closures like staples across and down the chest, back and arms. A lab features models of human body systems, a stuffed rhesus monkey with snarling jaws, and specimen bottles, the contents of which are blurry. A man finds a black mark on a wall and a large bloodstain on the floor of a balcony in a building. Two men plan to build a giant man with two hearts and two sets of lungs.
 A man lies on his stomach in a bed, with his back uncovered, as a woman rubs medication on his back and he cries; the skin on his shoulder looks rippled where an abscess had been. A carriage knocks a man into a puddle of mud. A woman is shown in a filthy, dimly lit woman's hospital and a man pays a nurse to administer camphor, arsenic and Finch's oil to the patient, but we do not see the treatment; later, we see the patient recovered. A man dreams of a human head on the cobbled together body of a chimpanzee and wakes up with a start.
 A detective becomes obsessed with a case involving the theft of animal and human body parts from zoos and morgues; he visits a crime scene at a circus and we hear unexplained screaming off-screen. A man says that he feels guilty, because he and his brother went out into winter weather and his brother died. A ringmaster shouts at a hunchback clown several times. We hear that a murder or manslaughter in self-defense occurred. A man argues with another man, insisting that there is no God and that life is only advanced chemistry. A detective exclaims that a man is "doing the work of Satan and must be stopped," and the man shouts, "There is no Satan, no God, only humanity!" A man walks into a street and finds a sketch of his face and a male friend's face on wanted posters that line an entire block of walls; he sees caption on the posters: "Wanted: The Hunchback." A man argues with another man and some women, insisting that he wants to save wounded soldiers by removing shrapnel when they are dead and bringing them back to life. A man argues with a male associate and shouts at him in several scenes; in one argument scene, the other man cries. A man places a card that says "Death" on a party table, lights it with a match and the word changes to "Life." A man says that embolisms cause breathing problems in an animal he built from monkey parts.


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LANGUAGE 3 - 4 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (stupid, fool, mad, maniac), 8 religious exclamations (e.g. My God, What In God's Name, By God, May God Forgive You, God Has No Authority Here, She Is Alive In God's Hands, God Entered Into This World Imperfect).


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SUBSTANCE USE - We hear that a dead man overdosed on an unknown substance. A party in a large club features glasses of champagne on tables and in the hands of men and women who drink from them, a man becomes drunk and staggers talking and laughing loudly and slamming his hand on a table several times, a man drinks a short glass of whiskey in a library room in a mansion, two men drink a lot of whiskey in an office from short glasses and one of the men drinks from the carafe and laughs, and a half-full glass of wine is seen on a table.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Mental illness, 19th century medicine, medical ethics, life and death, evolution, creationism, human experimentation, breaking the law, murder, guilt, disappointment, loss, grief, determination, obsession, courage, family relationships, friendship, respect, trust.

MESSAGE - Medical experiments can be dangerous and cannot prove or disprove the existence of God.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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