Terminal Career Velocity.
When you fall off a ten story building, your legs shatter, driving your thigh bones through your hips and into your body cavity. Your vertebrae crack, most likely severing your spinal cord, and if you’re particularly unlucky, your stomach will burst and spill your guts like a wet piñata. When you fall off a step-ladder, however, you just get an egg sized lump on your forehead and invent a new way to work the words “Jesus Christ” and “cock-sucker” into one sentence. Which is why it’s so bizarre that Parker Posey looks so bad in this film; she hadn’t climbed very high in her career, but her fall from grace seems to knocked her around but good, like a Southern housewife who burnt the pork chops.
Formerly an annoying indie darling, Posey must have some pretty heavy gambling debts, because it looks like she’s pretty desperate for money here. The presence of co-stars Adam Goldberg and Michael Madsen are understandable. Goldberg is probably anxious to move out of his mother’s place, and Saving Private Ryan residuals and guest spots on My Name is Earl are probably not paying the bills, and Madsen has been desperate for recognition ever since Hollywood figured out he wasn’t Tom Sizemore. Posey, however, worked up quite a bit of indie cred through films like Waiting For Guffman and The Doom Generation, but she apparently spent that credit buying a house she can’t afford, because she’s really slumming here.
Frankenstein is a modern adaptation of the general idea of a vague concept presented in a poor summary of Mary Shelly’s 1818 novel. Updating the story to an alternate present in which no one washes and interior light-bulbs haven’t been invented, the film is a grim, stylishly cut music video of a movie, which makes sense because it’s from the guy who ruined The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Everyone in this film looks tired, beaten up, and old, especially Madsen and Posey. It also looks as if everyone has seen Se7en, and the fact that they’re ripping it off is the big, uncomfortable pink elephant in the middle of the movie. In terms of the general story, it seems as if the plot is taken from a much larger back story that is barely explained, but I mean that as more of a compliment than as a criticism. It gives the film a surreal feel that would almost keep it afloat if it weren’t continually being sunk by the leaden dialogue. Apparently, Frankenstein was intended to be the pilot for a Martin Scorsese/Dean Koontz TV series, which explains the loose ends and the terribly open ending, and while I wouldn’t watch a sequel to this film, I’d probably watch the show. So, in a way, it’s a shame the series never hit the ground running, though judging from Posey’s face, it certainly hit the ground hard.