Robot & Frank [DVD]
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Set in the near future, Frank, a retired cat burglar, has two grown children who are concerned he can no longer live alone. Against the old man's wishes his son buys Frank a walking, talking humanoid robot programmed to improve his physical and mental health.
Slowly, and with a fair bit of reluctance, Frank begins to accept his new digital companion, seeing an opportunity to use Robot's unique skills to try their luck as a heist team.
- Audio Commentary
- Interview with Director Jake Schreier and Frank Langella
Just because Robot & Frank is a smaller profile film, that doesn't mean it's not something really quite wonderful. It tells the story, set in the near future, of Frank, played by Frank Langella, once a cat burglar by trade. His children aren't convinced he can live by himself, so they buy him a robot, one that's been specifically programmed with improving his health in mind. Instantly, that concept puts a fresh spin on the old cliched buddy movie, and with a mix of comedy, drama, poignancy and a healthy dab of science fiction, Robot & Frank emerges as a warm and welcome piece of work.
In particular, as you might expect, Frank Langella is quite brilliant here, pitching a difficult and nuanced performance, one that rests heavily on his shoulders, extremely well. It feels different to see a relationship develop between man and robot quite like this, and that adds an edge of the unusual and unpredictable tinge to the film. To its credit as well, the supporting characters in the film are strong, with Susan Sarandon in particular fleshing out what could have been a forgettable role.
Robot & Frank is a distinct, interesting film, that feels different without isolating a mainstream audience. That's no easy task, and all concerned here deserve real credit. It packs more into an hour and a half than some films manage in twice the time. --Jon Foster
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Top Customer Reviews
Oscar nominated actor Frank Langella is fantastic as the aging burglar and his performance is truly touching. For me however, I will always remember him as Skeletor in the Masters of the Universe movie and at times when he spoke during this film, that's all I could picture!
The Robot of the title is voiced by Peter Sarsgaard and is in effect, the straight man in this buddy movie. Governed by Asimovian laws, Robot is eventually, perhaps inevitably, led astray by Frank...
Robot & Frank has at its core, the very serious and real issue of the on-set of dementia and manages to handle this subject matter in a sensitive way, without being demeaning to those who suffer from the condition. I went to see this with my girlfriend, expecting a quirky and charming film with a bit of sci-fi thrown in. I wasn't disappointed on that front but from the trailer, I hadn't expected the Alzheimer's aspect of the story. Given that my girlfriend's grandfather suffered from this, it resulted in quite a few tears in the cinema.
However, a stellar cast, great story and all in all, a memorable movie!
It almost pulls off the trick of having, at his son`s insistence, a robot move in with Frank (Langella in dignified elderly mode - this vigorous, soulful actor was already 74 at the time of filming) and gradually gain his confidence, as well as a kind of friendship.
Where it scores is in allowing us to take for granted a near-contemporary world in which robots can cheerfully do the gardening or cook dinner. Langella acts with the robot (perfectly voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) as if it were the most normal thing in the world. There are no ironic `nudges` to the audience, and mercifully few moments of rom-com sentimentality, though the film does not avoid gravitating towards an inevitable soft centre, especially in its final scenes.
Susan Sarandon underplays and is lovely as a librarian whom Frank befriends - and thereby hangs a tale, which might have been made more of - with Liv Tyler making a too rare appearance these days as Madison, his daughter. (I wish someone would give Liv a whacking good role in a film, where she could show what she`s really capable of.)
The film has a nice, measured pace to it, and Langella is such a joy to watch that a certain lack of dramatic tension at times isn`t too much to put up with.
As has been pointed out elsewhere, the film loses itself a little towards the end, and the last few minutes left me unsatisfied, even a tad confused. It was left both too tidily wrapped-up and too open-ended.Read more ›
It is an odd-couple movie with a twist - the twist here is that his new buddy is a robot, not a robot that is intelligent like C3-PO or Data from Star Trek, but something more likely to be made as a consumer product in the near future. It says something about the script that you can believe a friendship is developing between a man and what is essentially a high tech appliance, albeit with a programmed personality.
Good for a Sunday evening film when you want to watch something a bit more light-hearted.
Anyway, I've been trawling Amazon Prime looking for a half decent film that I haven't seen yet... slim pickings!
I've been getting increasingly sick and tired of brainless action movies, big-budget blockbusters and overly 'slick & stylised' thrillers - feel asleep during the last one I watched this afternoon, despite the high-speed camera work, pyrotechnics and special effects.
This evening I wanted something different to keep me totally occupied for a few more hours - but not an Indie-film 'snooze fest' ... the opiate based medication I'm on for my ankle would have endured I missed the latter half of anything less than totally engaging.
Luckily I stumbled on 'Robot & Frank', a title I remember had a great review in Empire magazine. Something about an elderly ex-Jewel thief, living on his own who gets a Robot to look after him. (I admit the synopsis didn't make me rush to watch it, but like I say, after the stupid formulaic action movies I've been watching, anything was worth a try this evening!)
And what a treat! Robot & Frank is without doubt one of the best films I've seen in a long long time.
Lots of laugh out loud moments, perfectly blended with poignant and genuinely touching surprises that result in a film watching experience which surpasses any I've had in a long time.
I never realised what a good actor Frank Langella is either. I've seen him in plenty of other films, but this one really lets him shine.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A lovely, clever little film that has a neat and rather sad twist at the end. A Langella master class.Published 16 days ago by R. Nicholson-morton
Loved it so much I had to buy my own copy so I can watch it again and again. Funny, a little sad in a spot or two, a really great movie. One of my favourites.Published 2 months ago by L. Emslie