Starring: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, Carla Azar, François Civil.
I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when this film went to marketing,
Marketing bod 1: It’s a Michael Fassbender vehicle.
Marketing bod 2: That’s good, he’s so hot right now people love seeing Fassbender on their screens.
Marketing bod 1: Err, yeah. He is actually going to be wearing a massive papier-mâché head for the entire film, no one will actually see it’s Fassbender.
Marketing bod 2: Riiiight.
There’s no getting away from it, Frank is a very odd prospect that quite a few people may not be able to get their heads around, which is a shame because it’s excellent.
Jon is an aspiring songwriter who isn’t very good, in fact is he is terrible. One day he encounters The Soronprfbs, an avant garde indie rock band fronted by the enigmatic Frank, a troubled musical genius who hides his face with a large papier-mâché head. After their keyboard player tries to kill himself, Jon finds himself standing in and whisked away to a cabin in Ireland to record an album. With mounting tensions and Jon’s ambitions to unleash Frank at South By Southwest, is the world ready for Frank and is Frank ready for the world?
This film is utterly ruled by Michael Fassbenders performance, it really is extraordinary. From beneath a papier-mâché head he manages to imbue Frank with warmth, likability and a tremendous vulnerability, a testament to the man’s prodigious skill. Domhnall Gleeson also excels in the film as the constantly out of his depth Jon, wrestling with his own inadequacy in the face of Franks talent and his need for validation as a musician, his character is equal parts likeable and insufferable, a dichotomy any lesser actor would struggle to convey. Kudos has to go to Maggie Gyllenhall, Cala Azar & François Civil who along with Fassbender performed all of the songs featured in the film.
The other star of this film is its soundtrack, barking, experimental and actually pretty frickin good. Composer Stephen Rennicks really did an impeccable job constructing the music for The Soronprfbs, songs that wouldn’t be out of place in a trendy beatnik venue somewhere. Funny, raw, straight up weird and eminently listenable, something that could easily have been an afterthought is handled with as much due care as any other facet of the film.
Frank is funny, engaging, odd and utterly charming. If you want to check out something a little different, a little out there but with enormous heart, this may be your film.