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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.
Feature commentary with Lenny Abrahamson, Domhnall Gleeson and Stephen Rennicks (composer)
Feature commentary with writers Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan
Behind the scenes featurette
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Top Customer Reviews
Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) wants to be a pop star in the worst way (literally). He walks around writing amusingly bad pop tunes in his head. Life as a musician seems only a dream when as luck would have it a band, playing in his home town for just one night, needs a replacement when their keyboard player goes bonkers, and Jon is in the right place at the right moment. Thus begins Jon's journey with a band of misfits, who may be geniuses or just delusional... or both.
They are led by Frank (Michael Fassbender) an amiable if deeply odd fellow, who wears a giant plaster head that he never takes off, even to sleep. His counterweight is the angry, punky and edgy Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who is fiercely protective of the fragile Frank, and sees Jon's attempts to get the band to go mainstream as dangerous to both their artistic integrity, and Frank's well being. All this leads to adventures, changes, discoveries and insights that are often outrageous and darkly funny, but ultimately quite moving as well.
Also to be noted is just how great the music and songs created for the film are. They have to be "off" enough to be funny, but good enough for us to believe there really is something to Frank's talents. This is done very well, both in the writing and performing, the actors showing some musical chops, and the film creating tunes that, to my surprise have been caught in my head for days.Read more ›
Based on an article by journalist Jon Ronson about playing with Sidebottom's band, 'Frank' starts off as an affectionate, off-beat (or rather, given the nature of the music, no-beat) comedy before addressing serious questions about what fame means and whether, for a certain kind of artist, it is in any way desirable.
Ambitious wannabe-indie musician and social media addict Jon (Domnhall Gleeson) is stuck in a small seaside town. He lives with his parents and has a dead-end job involving a telephone headset. After witnessing the attempted suicide by drowning of the keyboard player of a band called Soronprfbs, he is asked by the band's manager to join them for that night's gig.
The unworldly, messianic leader of Soronprfbs, Frank, (played by Michael Fassbender - is there anything he can't do?), is never without his (obviously protective, or perhaps somehow liberating) papier-maché, size-of-a-watermelon, fake head. His mostly American band (he is from Kansas) play a noisy, helter-skelter, stop-start kind of art rock in the vein of Captain Beefheart or Pere Ubu. Frank's lyrics are more like stream of consciousness poetry and are delivered in a Jim Morrison-esque voice that veers between a croon and a roar. It's easy to poke fun, and most directors would, but laudably that is not the film's aim. Frank obviously has talent; the songs are off-kilter, yes, but also compelling and immaculately played: 'You should be really popular,' says Jon, seriously, to a nonplussed Frank. His musical ability is essential to ensure the film has dimension.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A funny and poignant meditation about creativity and identity. The film owes a big debt to Frank Sidebottom - which is insufficiently acknowledged.Published 2 months ago by chris b.
Story, cinematography, directing, acting... and so on... really great film!Published 4 months ago by leonardo ferri
Crazy! Not exactly what I had on mind. Yet, Michael is surprising.Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
A very unique film and story. My wife hated it, but the story stuck with me for days. And loved the soundtrack even if it was totally weird in places. Great acting as well.Published 5 months ago by SiF
I hope Chris Sievey's family got more money out of this film than Jon Ronson.Published 7 months ago by A. Davies
I absolutely love this film. The soundtrack alone is fantastic and will stay in your head for weeks. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ms. Claire Baker Donnelly