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.
I'm a Jon ronson fan as well as a Frank sidebottom fan, so I went into this with some idea of what I'd get, however it passed my expectations and went its own way. Weird but watchable, a really interesting look at mental health with some insights into Frank sidebottom.
Dommal gleeson, Micheal Fassbender and Maggie gyhllenhaal all put in great performances, making this a brilliant one off film to watch
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.
I kind of went in not knowing what to expect, I just kind of brought it because it looked different and I went by the reviews on the front of the DVD which sometimes isn't the best idea but this was a total delight to watch. I will say that I've never actually seen a movie so unusual and yet so freaking addictive like this is, sure I've seen usual films but this has a style all of it's own. I enjoyed it intensely, and can some what relate to the dark edge the story has to it. I say worth watching, but not everyone will get it. Emotional, funny in places and just really interesting.