Film Review: Frank

No, you’re not seeing things, that is a giant plastic head.

For the film ‘Frank’, “quirky” doesn’t quite do it justice. Based on true events recorded by Jon Ronson, the film shows Michael Fassbender portraying a mysterious, musical genius called Frank, all from within a giant plastic head which he never removes.

Frank’s band, the Soronprfbs, consists of oddball members such as a slightly psychotic theremin player, Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal), a taciturn drummer, Nana (Carla Azar), and an aloof French bass player, Baraque (Francois Civil). Along for the ride is their band manager Don (Scoot McNairy) who fits into this group of social outcasts perfectly, unlike the newest addition  Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) who’s allowed to join after the previous keyboardist tried to commit suicide.

Gleeson plays this pathetically desperate character who dreams of being a success in the music industry however, he lacks musical creativity. Droning off uninspired lyrics above a painfully dull chord progression, his enthusiasm for the famous life (and endless tweeting) just isn’t enough to propel him into the limelight.

In contrast to Jon, Frank is bursting with new, bizarre songs about such topics like stray strands of a carpet. This abundance of the weird and wonderful is a delight to behold, as is the sight of the cast hammering out these peculiar tunes through fits of intense head-banging. Clara is an always entertaining presence; Jon’s zeal for fame causes an entertaining friction between the two characters and Gyllenhaal sweeps from a terrifying rage to heart breaking emotion with a graceful ease.

Frank’s sweet naivety is perfectly pronounced through Fassbender’s acting, even with the added challenge of no facial expressions. Adoration for Frank and his music pours from his friends and the audience alike; even if this alternative sound isn’t your thing, you couldn’t help but love this deeply likeable character.

With the most eccentric soundtrack of perhaps any film, this joyous and touching journey is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a cinema trip. If odd and lovable is what you’re looking for, then that’s exactly what you’ll find in this film and, to be frank, it is quite brilliant.

[Mia Doyle]

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