Hopes. Fears. Regrets. In our youth, we’re continuously bombarded with questions such as ‘Where would you like to be in X amount of years?’, as we look to create a path to channel our perhaps lofty ambitions. Whilst in our latter years, we tend to dissect or over-analyse every fine detail of our existence, looking to make sense of it all as we crave a sense of significance or meaning to our lives.
The brainchild of director Scott Quinn, writer Quinn Scott and producer Liam Hobbs, Franklin’s Brain provides a wonderfully judged narrative spin on such soul-searching.
Immersed instantly by its 2090’s West Country setting as the heavy breathing of its lead protagonist and the twinkly nature of its opening title dominate, we are introduced to Nathan Sussex’s Tom, a disheveled looking social recluse as he staggers almost aimlessly around his junkyard. Creating a stunning juxtaposition as his eyes peer out into the distance, transfixed by the sleek futuristic tapestry yet overcome with apprehension, his surroundings represent his firm grip on the past.
Tom shares his struggles with an unlikely companion in the form of Franklin (Oliver Hembrough), who was born a mere one hundred years ago. His consciousness and thoughts now confined and projected through a modest scrap metal box, Franklin is awfully inquisitive about his human life and ultimately his death, desperately trying to convince Tom to carry out the task of digging up his grave.
Grounded by its emotional weight and the rustic quality of its visual palette, Franklin’s Brain is a minor miracle as it navigates through its existential story. Gates confining the protagonists. The pensive looks through windows. The film poignantly captures how enclosed mentally we can be to embracing the future, with director Quinn’s impeccable shot selection making a mere step into the unknown for these characters feel truly significant.
Aided by subtle visual flourishes by Quinn which are mightily impressive considering the modest budget and genre of the project intertwined with the exquisite minimalism of its involving score, it creates a genuine wondrous feel that defies the perception of its premise being grim at first glance.
A fascinating power struggle at its core, the nervous, kinetic energy that Nathan Sussex injects into Tom as he wrestles with the morality of Franklin’s request is truly compelling, with one effective sequence spotlighting him through the headlights of delivery lady Suzie’s (Keely Beresford) car almost serving as an epiphany for his troubled state. Whilst the distinctive voice work of Oliver Hembrough as Franklin compliments Sussex’s performance brilliantly, conveying the emptiness and desperation of the character in compelling fashion.
Solidified by the aching beauty and sheer depth of its closing moments, Franklin’s Brain is a thought-provoking and stirring slice of science-fiction that brims with intelligence.
You can view the trailer for Franklin’s Brain below!