Frank 2014

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Acclaimed Irish director Lenny Abrahamson follows up his award-winning films Adam & Paul, Garage and What Richard Did with an offbeat comedy about a young wannabe musician, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant-garde pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head, and his terrifying bandmate Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Written by Jon Ronson (The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Men Who Stare At Goats), FRANK is based on the memoir by Jon Ronson. It is a fictional story loosely inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the persona of cult musician and comedy legend Chris Sievey.

Starring:
Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 35 minutes
Starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domhnall Gleeson
Director Leonard Abrahamson
Genres Comedy, Drama
Studio Curzon Film World
Rental release 15 September 2014
Main languages English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 35 minutes
Starring Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domhnall Gleeson
Director Leonard Abrahamson
Genres Comedy, Drama
Studio Curzon Film World
Rental release 15 September 2014
Main languages English

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Lister on 22 May 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Jon Ronson also wrote the equally irreverent The Men Who Stare At Goats, adapted for the screen by Peter Straughan. Here, Ronson and Straughan join forces to create something with more emotional meat on its bones, albeit one no less hermetically sealed inside its own barmy parallel world. The pay-off is worth it, though. Just as one is starting to tire of the whimsical `randomness' and the characters' clever-clever put-downs the film finds its heart; something serious and worth saying about the madness at the heart of creativity.

The title character is played by Michael Fassbender, who you've probably seen weighed down by that giant Frank Sidebottom head. But the main protagonist is Jon. Domhnall Gleeson is a dab hand at these nice guy softies, and his presence is well used here. We're wittily introduced to Jon as he tries to make songs in his head based on mundane everyday sights. Blue jackets and suburban housing. A chance meeting with Don (brilliant character actor Scoot McNairy), manager of the unpronounceable "Soronprfbs", gets Jon a gig with the band. Soon the collective depart to rural Ireland, where they spend a year bickering, shagging, dying, and occasionally recording music.

The outsider coming in and causing shockwaves isn't an original idea, but Ronson puts an original spin on it. Normally, the straight guy would have his mind expanded by the free-spiritedness of the band, whereas here the band is in need of a normalising influence. What Jon offers is an element of order to the chaos. Something mainstream. Something "likeable". The film has a bit in common with Inside Llewyn Davis in its theme of balancing artistic credibility with the basic survival of the musical act, although with more silliness and a touch less soul than the Coen Brothers' masterpiece.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By DeclanCochran on 11 May 2014
Format: Blu-ray
(this review is a shortened version of the one I have written on my blog, larsandthereelgirl.blogspot.co.uk)

Frank (Michael Fassbender in a Frank Sidebottom head-mask) is one of those magnetic types who people tend to gravitate towards whilst himself lacking his own centre. Just look at how willingly Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) drops everything, including his job, nest egg and secure suburban life, to join Frank and his band as a keyboardist in recording an album.

In fact, despite what the title tell us, this film is really more about Jon that it is about Frank. The film begins and ends with him, and he is undoubtedly the core of this film. We first see him as he tries to piece together random lyrics by observing the world around him, and these scenes set up the film nicely; by turns absolutely hilarious and ruthlessly honest.

A series of unfortunate events gets Jon playing as keyboardist in the band “Soronprfbs” (nobody else in the film knows how to pronounce it either), of which Frank is the lead singer.

But this is no ordinary band, and their first gig consists of half of one song before one of the instruments blows up and the theremin player Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) storms off. We are also introduced to Don (Scoot McNairy), the band's manager, who is the biggest surprise in this film, and gives arguably the best performance in it.

It's a film built on little details, such as the film’s frequently hilarious use of Jon’s Twitter and Youtube feed. As we get to know Jon, we also realise that he is fundamentally a good person, but also a ruthless opportunist. We do delve into the persona of Frank, mask and all, and it comes as no surprise late into the film that he has mental health issues.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By JOHN GREEN on 18 May 2014
Format: DVD
I think that this film is so open to interpretation that it is unlikely to elicit wildly varying opinions. However, two things are undeniable - it has very little to do with Frank Sidebottom from Timperley, Manchester (other than the head worn by the main character!)...and it is definitely worth seeing.

For me, it draws a great deal of inspiration from the making of 'Trout Mask Replica' by Captain Beefheart and his early Magic Band in the late 1960's, when he locked them in a cabin and made them rehearse all his songs over and over until they were ready to be committed to vinyl. Tales of real cruelty emerged, although Michael Fassbender's creation is relatively gentle and malleable, with the cruelty (and violence) being left to Maggie Gyllenhall's theremin-playing sidekick,

I believe that the film is really about mental illness and being an outsider, and whether such illness helps or obstructs the creative process (the film in the end comes down on the side of the latter). What is for sure is that people who are damaged are not comfortable in the spotlight and should not be dragged there (as the ambitious Jon in the film eventually realises, when it dawns on him that he is the destructive element in this band of misfits, rather than the positive influence he set out to be).

One thing I've not seen before on celluloid is the excellent use of Twitter (and YouTube), with Jon posting messages to indicate how the band is progressing. The films reinforces the truth that, in this age of Simon Cowell, the number of social media hits are certainly no indicator of true popularity, or indeed quality.
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