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.
Sorry am I missing something THIS REALLY IS THE BIGGEST LOAD OF DRIVEL I HAVE EVER WATCHED!!!!! Unfunny, boring, stupid, it was like watching a whole series of Towie in one go, this could be used as a form of torture seriously WTF! This is for the brain dead who think it's funny to see an unknown person wearing a pot on his head going mental every so often but then if you like Towie then you would probably like this........
An odd and wonderful mix of comedy and sadness, absurdity and reality, playfulness and originality. The acting is terrific throughout, the cast creating slightly larger than life comic characters that somehow still feel real enough to invest in emotionally. It's a tone few movies get right. "Harold and Maude" comes to mind.
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.
Indeed, the whole film has stuck with me far more deeply than I imagined while I was watching it. There's a haunting quality behind the humor that captures what special about "outsider" art, and it gives the film a resonance and gravity to go along with it's light-handed playfulness.
Without going all 'film-critic' as so many people seem to do on here, I'd like to express my absolute adoration for this film. It's completely strange, a film that will leave you wondering what the hell you just watched - but leaves you feeling things you didn't expect to feel.
I think this is one of those films that can be watched on two levels. I myself found that watching it a second time uncovered a lot more thought-provoking themes once I'd 'got used' to the concept of.. well, the head.
I don't want to spoil the plot, but I urge you just to watch this and see what you make of it. It really is one of those films that could go in any direction, and that in itself is a treat as a viewer.
'Frank' is not, repeat not, a biopic of Frank Sidebottom. Nor is it a satirical swipe at a particular kind of pop/rock music in the vein of 'Spinal Tap'.
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.
Jon, though treated with suspicion by the rest of the band, particularly by dead-eyed keyboards/theremin player Clara (Maggie Gylenhall, excellent,) then accompanies the band to Ireland for what he thinks is a short tour but in fact turns out to be a year spent in a cabin in the woods recording an album. Frank's recording methods are wildly idiosyncratic (reminding me of watching a TV documentary in which Scott Walker hit a side of pork with a baseball bat) and his work ethic uncompromising, just falling short of the verbal and physical beastings that Don van Vliet handed out to the Magic Band. Meanwhile Jon grows a beard and, unbeknownst to the rest of the band, updates the band's progress on YouTube and Twitter (we note the increasing number of hits and his growing number of followers). He also harbours songwriting ambitions of his own; painfully, in one scene, Frank takes the chords of Jon's songs and immediately refashions them into something far more distinctive.
Soronprfbs, thanks to Jon's social media activity, become something of a cult and are eventually offered a spot at the SXSW festival. This chance to go big is of course where things start to turn seriously sour for the band and for Frank in particular.
Although flirting a little too heavily with over-romantic clichés involving genius and mental illness, the film is mostly extremely well-judged by director Lenny Abrahamson, being unafraid to point out the often ridiculous nature of artistic endeavour but simultaneously conveying a plausible sense of a driven, truly creative spirit at work. The film's ending is truly moving.