What sets this movie apart from many of the Frankenstein adaptations is that it is told mostly through the eyes Victor’s lab assistant Igor (Daniel Radcliffe), while Victor (James McAvoy) is your typical card carrying mad scientist that we’ve seen a hundred times before. This “fresh perspective” is certainly an interesting choice when adapting Mary Shelley’s book for the character of Igor does not exist in the books but was a creation of Universal Studios. Now I’m not saying this is an intrinsically bad idea but this version of Igor, created by director Paul McGuigan and writers Max Landis, is about the most ridiculous character I’ve seen in quite some time, and this is from someone who has watched I, Frankenstein.
We first meet Igor (though he has nameless at the time and only gets one later when he moves in with Victor) he is a hunchbacked clown working in a circus. Through his narration we learn that when Igor was not performing as a clown he functioned as the circus’s doctor (as clowns were known to do) and while fulfilling this unique dual career he became fascinated with the science of medicine and human anatomy in particular. But he isn’t shown just being interested in medicine, we see him pouring over medical journals and making detailed anatomical drawings of his own. We clearly see that his fellow performers ridicule and abuse him, so what crazy logic led them to making this “actual clown” the company doctor and outfitting him with what would be at the time rather expensive books? It’s also during this opening that we meet circus aerialist Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay), who Igor is secretly in love with, and it is when she is injured from a fall that we see the sheer breadth of Igor’s skill as a doctor as he comes up with an instant diagnosis of her injury, and with the help of Victor is able to save her life.