Cert: 15 Runtime: 95 mins Director: Leonard Abrahamson Cast: Michael Fassbender, Domhall Gleeson, Scoot McNairy, Francois Civil and Maggie Gyllenhaal
When you think you’ve gone far enough, go farther
One movie I missed at the beginning of the year was Fassbender’s Franks. For me it looked surreal and interesting. So what is Frank about? Aspiring musician Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) bites off rather more than he can chew when he joins an Irish avant-garde pop group whose deliberately unpronounceable name is Soronprfbs. The band’s leader is Frank (Michael Fassbender), who keeps his face concealed permanently beneath a large artificial head. As if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, theremin player Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) is unrelentingly aggressive. Jon’s tireless social media campaigning finally lands them a gig at the SXSW festival in Texas. But their troubles are only just beginning.Undeniably, the most compelling aspect of the picture is this enigmatic presence that is Frank—finding out more about his background and personality, as well as witnessing Fassbender’s amazing charm and charisma exude from behind a mere mask. His intriguing and equally amusing diction, next to his eccentric, child-like personality, certainly creates one of the most memorable characters of the year.
The film does get considerably more gloomy and poignant as it progresses, focusing more on the impact of creative failure and mental instability rather than the heavy concentration on music which pervaded the first half. Suddenly, we begin to see different facets of Frank, other than the occasional quirky freak-out’s and pensive postures. He becomes more of an adorable child that’s in frightful need of consolation and encouragement. Frank, while not the most even/consistent of plots and indelible of stories, is primarily fueled by the sheer energy and versatility of Fassbender’s astonishing performance. Will he finally reveal his actual face? What’s behind there? Who really is Frank? The narrative gradually begins to tell us that he’s actually filled with much more humanity and internal trouble than the early cartoonish figure seemed to indicate. If you’re entering this film and expecting some “kick-ass” rock music, Frank is definitely not that kind of hip movie, but you’ll still be pleasantly surprised by the hilarity that ensues from parodying the beginning of a garage band. Nearly every track you hear will make you cringe with its painfully dull and uninspired lyrics, which is exactly what brilliantly makes it so darn hysterical.