Sunday, August 31, 2014



Domhnall Gleeson,
Michael Fassbender


August 15, 2014

Lenny Abrahamson

Magnolia Pictures

1 hour 33 minutes



Who would have ever thought that Michael Fassbender, arguably one of the most talented and best looking men working in Hollywood today, would sign on to a role that requires him to wear a giant papier-mâché head throughout mostly the entire duration of the film?  Well I sure as hell didn't, but thank goodness he did, as we probably wouldn't have gotten as hilarious and fantastic of a performance that he delivered here as "Frank."  Loosely based on the British character Frank Sidebottom, Fassbender is the perfectionist leader of a bizarre band who finds inspiration in literally everything he comes across.  The band members, including one played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, all follow this man and consider him to be an underground genius.  Pretty soon, Domhnall Gleeson's character, an aspiring musician on his own, spontaneously joins Frank's band, and his presence begins to change the way they're all exposed to the world that they live in.

If you can't get past the fact that the titular character wears a giant head throughout most of the movie, then this most likely is not something you would probably get in to.  I'm not gonna lie, this is one insanely weird movie.  It's kind of like a strange breeding of the off-beat humor that "Napoleon Dynamite" possessed and a lot of noises and sounds that this group of misfits and weirdos call "music."  At the center of it all is a quirky character who, past the giant head, is a lot more complex and fascinating than one may expect.  From the moment we're introduced to Gleeson's character Jon as he's walking around his hometown trying to find inspiration for a song, immediately I was grabbed by the line and yanked into the abyss that is this movie.  "Frank" is not a movie for the faint of heart, but if you're able to get sucked in by its absolute weirdness, then I have a feeling you're really going to enjoy this flick.

Michael Fassbender's performance as Frank is unlike anything he's done in his career thus far.  Usually being seen as an antagonist in films like "X-Men: Days of Future Past" or as dark, tortured characters in films like "Shame," one of the main things that makes this performance stand out from the others, aside from the head, is the fact that Fassbender is funny here.  In fact, I'd even say that he was hilarious in this movie.  Since you can never see his face for the most part, what drives this performance is the physicality of the character as well as the way his voice sounds.  However, as the third act comes rolling in, we as an audience get to see a dark and upsetting side of Frank that makes us care for him and actually cry with him.  In fact, the last scene of this movie, without giving anything away, actually made me feel like I was going to tear up.  Me tearing up in a movie is a very rare occurrence, so for a movie to move me like that really says something special at how well something can get to me.  And most of that was thanks to Fassbender's killer performance.

Domhnall Gleeson, probably best known for the overlooked film from last year "About Time," delivers a great performance here as well.  Gleeson's character Jon is like ourselves when we join a group of outsiders for the first time and fall in love with their absurd behaviors and tastes in things.  While I don't think his performance was as strong as his role in "About Time," I still found Gleeson's character and performance to be enjoyable and relatable all at the same time.  Everyone else here, including Maggie Gyllenhaal, are all really good as well.  Having said that, even they couldn't top how method and crazy-awesome of a performance Fassbender gave as Frank.

If you're not into absurd and strange comedies like "Frank," then I doubt that this will change your mind on them.  As someone who digs these types of films, as well as movies that successfully tell a strong three-act story with colorful characters, I personally loved the crap out of this movie.  There's some type of charm that this film possesses that made me happy to invest 90 minutes of my time in the presence of these characters.  The direction is actually well-done and the script is quirky and hilarious while also dark and saddening at the same time, which elevated the movie in quality for me.    Not to mention, the music is strangely enchanting and really catchy, especially the last song in the film called "I Love You All."  If "Frank" is at a local indie theater near you, then do yourself a favor and check it out.  If it's not, then luckily this movie is on all VOD platforms for your viewing pleasure.  If you enjoy absurd films along the lines of "Napoleon Dynamite" and don't mind the titular character wearing a giant papier-mâché for mostly the entirety of the film, then I have a feeling that you are really going to enjoy "Frank."


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