Thursday, August 30, 2012

REVIEW: Robot & Frank

Robot & Frank

Frank Langella, James Marsden


August 24, 2012 (NY/LA)

Jake Schreier

Samuel Goldwyn Films (Sony)

1 hour 29 minutes



Everyone imagines the future with flying cars, time travel, and all kinds of scientific fantasies that nobody actually has had the capacity to take on the future in a more realistic approach. Nobody's ever made a futuristic film with the most subtle hints at what may come soon rather than showing the obvious glimpses of the future. 'Robot & Frank' is a small movie that will probably come and go in theaters due to its indie nature. However for what it's worth, this is a film that shouldn't be forgotten as the year closes up in a few months. There's a solid cast in here, including Frank Langella and the voice of Peter Sarsgaard. There's a clever and interesting story about how robots can actually be helpful in certain situations, while in others they are practically useless.  This is a film that takes the concept of robots in the future and makes it feel much more realistic.  That is the main reason why 'Robot & Frank' succeeds at being a really good film.

This movie takes place in the near future where there are barely any special cars, phone calls are now done through video chatting on tablets and televisions, and robots are the essential helping hand in human society. Frank is a father who is losing his memory, so his now grown up kids send him a robot to help him with his daily needs. At first Frank doesn't want the robot in his house and telling him what to do. Then the robot starts to grow on him, which makes Frank want to go back into his original profession: robbery. He also has a crush on a librarian that's soon being replaced by a bunch of robots.

Frank Langella's performance is outstanding as Frank. He is a character with a severe habit of stealing random things from places, along with having constant memory loss, saying to their kids "How's school going?" and stuff like that. Throughout the film, the audience sees that Frank is one messed up human being, and how, despite not wanting him at first, the Robot becomes more than a servant to him: the Robot becomes a friend of Frank's, and the chemistry between the man and the machine is great. Peter Sarsgaard's really good as the voice of the Robot. Even though the voice doesn't have much emotion, it just makes the chemistry between the two more enjoyable. Even the rest of the main supporting cast, which features James Marsden, Liv Tyler, and Susan Sarandon, are all really good in the film as well. They unfortunately don't shine like how Langella and Sarsgaard's voice do.

Since 'Robot & Frank' is such a small movie, chances are people might not find it or even try to find it near them. When this movie is available to watch online or on DVD in the next few months, then it's definitely worth checking out. Frank Langella gives one of the year's best performances and a sure fire Oscar contender. The rest of the cast does their job well though not blowing me away. The script is well written and goes into some very interesting places, including some truly heartfelt moments. This film probably won't be remembered by the time awards season comes around. However if you're in the presence of being able to check this film out, then by all means do so. 'Robot & Frank' is a small sci-fi dramady that happens to be one of those gems that should not be missed.

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