Friday, October 31, 2014

Frank (2014)

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Writers:  Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan
Cast:       Michaal Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy

Jon, a young wannabe musician, discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank.

The character Frank is mostly inspired by Frank Sidebottom, the comic persona created by Chris Sievey. It is a fictional story inspired by some other musicians and started off as an adaptation of Jon Ronson's, who was part of Sidebottom's band, writings. Fassbender plays the role of Frank and it is commendable that he chose to play this role where his face is hidden behind a head gear almost whole the way through. He is in good company with both Hugo Weaving (V for Vendetta) and Edward Norton (Kingdom of Heaven) who had played two very memorable faceless characters over the last decade. Film is largely set in Ireland where they go to create their debut album and it is a UK-Irish co-production. 

It would remind one of Spike Jonze's works that converts a very quirky idea into comedic film, with some serious subtext, which loses its steam by the third act. I was also left with the same feeling after his latest film 'Her'. He even made fun of his work in his film 'Adaptation' which has a Charlie Kauffman like character who is struggling for a proper last act for his script. Frank also suffers from a weak and rushed third act. It can be seen as a film on musicians dealing with themes like artistic integrity, popularity of mediocrity, fleeting limelight in the era of social networks etc. It sustains a sense of mystery almost whole the way through and performances are excellent. I don't know whether the soundtrack is a hit but I really liked the quirky music created by Frank's band 'Soronprfbs'. All of it were created live by the actors involved. There is a sequence in the film which is similar to one in 'Big Lebowski' in a good way. It was also good to see tweets getting some screen time though I suspect some of them had more than 140 characters. Overall it is a great watch.

Frank: [singing] Stale beer. Fat fucked, smoked out. Cowpoked. Sequined mountain ladies. I love your wall. Put your arms around me. Fiddly digits, itchy britches. I love you all.

Rating: 3.5/5