Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson
As soon as I saw the trailer for this movie I was completely sold. It looked like a weird yet quirky comedy that had a quite unique premise. The inclusion of Michael Fassbender as the paper mache head wearing Frank was a stellar casting choice and does an amazing job of making an emotionally fragile musical genius. Sadly once I saw the movie I was slightly disappointed by the outcome. Some comedy films are able to strike a chord with me but the comedy here isn’t entirely for me.
Inspired by the comedian Chris Sievey and his persona Frank Sidebottom, Frank begins with Jon (Domhnall Glesson) staring off into the horizon. He is singing songs to himself in his head trying to come up with the next music idea for him. He runs home, still coming up with other song ideas, and when he gets there he finally hits the mark. Once he begins to write the song he realize just how bad it actually is. Yet again he fails with ideas for his dreams. One day he runs in to the band Soronprfbs lead by Frank (Michael Fassbender) who invites him to join the band after the attempted suicide of their keyboardist.
Jon travels with Frank and his band to the hillsides of Ireland. There they begin recording their new album but due to Frank’s perfectionism they spend much more time in the cabin in the woods than anyone would have expected. At the cabin we begin to learn more about Jon, Frank, and the rest of the band.
The strange thing about Frank is that it feels like two completely separate movies. One is a character study taking place in a cabin and the other is the road movie that leads them to the South by Southwest festival in Texas and the eventually destruction of the band. I was fascinated by the first and second acts and how the characters interacted. It was a deeper look into what went into the process of making an album and the people behind it. It was sad the way that the movie ended up going. Slowly as the movie progressed after this point made me like the movie less and less as it went on. What was an enjoyable hour turned it to a complete downer of an ending that really felt different than the premise and first hour promised.
Other than those problems I had big problems with the tweeting and voice over that is in the movie. It became very annoying every time Jon tweets about the events that take place in the movie. I understand the reasoning of it but I felt that the movie would have been fine without it.
Even though it is labeled as a comedy I don’t know if it was truly that funny. It had it’s humorous moments but it felt more like a quirky drama. I am sure that the audience that this movie is meant for will eat this movie up and laugh their asses off but I am not part of the group of people. I was attracted by the sheer strangeness of the movie and not so much for the comedy elements.
Outside of the flaws of the story I really enjoyed the movie. The first hour is fun and exciting. It showed certain things that we don’t really see about the creative side of art. You get the overall sense that these characters care about what they are doing. During the movie Frank may have wanted to be love by people but in the end he gives up on that venture and goes back to the way things were. He grows as a character and the mask only held him back from his true potential. That side of the story is endlessly fascinating and shows the true power of this movie and that is to make you care about a character that never really shows the audiences his true face. The biggest question that it asks is “can you compromise your life and art for popularity and fame” and I feel that the movie answers it completely.
I can’t entirely dismiss this movies problems that are prevalent in it’s final act but I did really enjoy the movie and found a lot of value in what I was watching.
Check out Ryan Gajda’s, who created this poster that I used, blog Sunday Dog Parade. He is quite the artist and provides great artwork of great movies as well.