Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Running Time: 95 mins
Frank is a British/Irish film about a man who finds himself suddenly becoming a part of an eccentric progressive rock band, full of strange characters with whom he struggles to bond, led by the mysteriously weird Frank.
Basically, this is a weird film. It’s full of some of the most eccentric and surreal characters and story lines I’ve ever seen, and yet, it never comes across as annoying (as I honestly expected it to be having seen the trailer), but rather endearing and hugely entertaining. Pretty much everything about this film is brilliant: the writing, the acting, the music, the on-screen tweeting serving as a monologue, and there’s just never a dull moment here, whether it’s absolutely hilarious or darkly dramatic.
I’ll start with what I thought was the most surprising thing about this whole film: the music. I was not looking forward to the premise of a weird progressive indie rock group playing this sort of stuff, and upon hearing it for the first time at the beginning of the film, I dreaded the sound of it. However, I was delighted by the fact that the music isn’t played that much throughout, and when it is, it’s not so annoying, and is instead actually more important in telling the more dramatic story that lies beneath the zany comedy.
Another hugely impressive part of the film was the performances. Michael Fassbender is absolutely charming as Frank, even though you can’t see his face, Domhnall Glesson (whose performance here is finally the first great one I’ve seen) is totally likeable and easy to relate to, whilst Maggie Gyllenhaal is stunning in this film, making the seemingly psychotic and disturbed main female character hugely unpredictable and fascinating to watch.
The comedy here is also fantastically funny. The first hour of this film is a laugh-a-minute riot, full of unique, unpredictable and intelligent humour throughout, including both slapstick and black comedy, so it was just an absolute treat to watch for me.
However, this film is still hugely dramatic and intriguing in so many ways. It gets into the nitty-gritty parts of some very dark subjects, talking about the role of social media, false perceptions and mental illness, in a sensitive but somehow still entertaining way. Also, the story, particularly towards the latter part of the film, becomes a real high-wire act; a tense and hugely exciting journey through this band’s attempts to rise to the top, and watching it constantly teeter on the point of everything going wrong, in a similar way to Birdman, is absolutely thrilling.
So, overall, this gets an 8.7 from me, because it’s a hugely entertaining movie right from the start, filled with great performances, writing and comedy, along with a surprisingly dramatic sub plot that becomes massively engrossing towards the end.