Monday, September 1, 2014

[Review] Frank

Frank definitely isn't the most accessible flick of the Summer, but it's decidedly so. The nature of the film's obscure vibes go hand-in-hand with the characters that occupy this space, as well as the music the band creates. This won't be for everyone, but there's much more to it than an exercise in weird for the sake of being weird, and it goes beyond the novelty intrigue of Michael Fassbender acting a fool under a Pringles-looking mascot head.

Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) is a wannabe musician, humming up trite lyrics in his head while he peruses the streets of his small British seaside town. By a bizarre chance, he's asked to join an experimental synth-rock band that goes by the unpronounceable name, The Soronprfbs. The group is led by Frank (Fassbender), an enigmatic character who wears a giant, round, cartoony mask over his face and never takes it off. Fassbender is forced to do most of his work through oddball vocals, along with animated movements from the neck down. It manages to be an enthralling performance, conveying both an unhinged anxiety and playfulness.

The band retreats to a cabin in the woods in order to record their new album. During the offbeat process, Jon draws inspiration from each of the band's eccentric members, most notably their self-deprecating manager, Don (Scoot McNairy), as well as volatile and gloomy multi-instrumentalist Clara (played greatly by Maggie Gyllenhaal), and of course Frank himself.

After the quirky beginnings, the film transitions into some somber territory as the story's complex undercurrents sneakily begin to resonate. The themes touch upon mental illness, the exploitation of artistic creativity, and the lines between staying true to your heart or gaining fame. The second half of the narrative completely flips any preconceived notions of gimmickry onto its head, and this is exactly what makes Frank such a unique and absorbing experience--one that you might not fully appreciate until long after the final song has been sung.


1 comment:

  1. This one really stuck with me. I wish there'd been a bit more of the music.