Frank Screen 11 articles

Frank

2014

Frank Poster
  • The problem with "Frank" isn't that it's all-over-the-place; the film eventually snaps into focus, and becomes a melancholic drama about how people are never just the front/personas that they present to the world. Unfortunately, though, by that point so much of the film is defined by toxically twee humor that it's impossible to know the film's characters beyond a point.

  • It doesn’t feel good to watch actors this good look this lost. All the irritation in Gyllenhaal’s performance and the boyish bafflement in McNairy’s appear to arise from the possibility that none of the actors — except Fassbender, who, by the film’s insultingly cheap last act, is in a totally different movie — knows what they’re doing. It’s as if the director is made of papier-mâché too.

  • Definitely memorable but it goes in a drab direction, not just holing up for 40 minutes in a dingy Irish backwater but building to the Message that a man who wears a giant fake head 24 hours a day is probably psychologically damaged, which is true but not very useful (or enjoyable).

  • A lot of this is painfully insidery: Frank plays to the audience that would mock an oily superfan who makes a fawning scene in a diner, when, in fact, that guy is the ideal viewer. But what a rebound—you know the head's coming off and Fassbender delivers moments of heartbreaking fragility that bring to mind the cult music documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston. If you'll pardon the cleverness, Frank takes time to wrap your own cranium around, faults and all, and that's a wonderful thing.

  • [Going by the plot synopsis,] it sounds unbearably twee, but the Irish-born director Lenny Abrahamson excavates real feeling from this setup, as does Mr. Fassbender, whose delicate, fluttering hands and strangulated voice incrementally turn a ridiculous cartoon into a figure of pathos. However imperfect, this is the kind of work, both homegrown and imported, which makes Sundance more than just another stop on the festival circuit, and instead an essential one.

  • Anyone who has ever toiled day-and-night in search of musical perfection, only to reach a point of artistic indifference, will relate to this delightfully screwy black comedy. Yet Frank is also a clever satire on the corruptive power of the internet, as Jon’s ritual chronicling of the band’s extended recording session racks up YouTube hits for all the wrong reasons.

  • It was brave of Ronson to write his own onscreen surrogate as the villain of the piece, albeit an unacknowledged and inadvertent one. Braver still of the film to argue that the rest of us will never understand what it’s like to be a genius, so we may as well stop trying to prise open the damaged heads of our heroes.

  • It’s a rare film that gets the phenomenon of rock outsiderdom, and gets it right, but isn’t swayed by the mystique. It’s sweet, just pithy enough, and brings a touch of critical sanity to the question of insanity as performance—it’s a film that, you might say, has its head screwed on right.

  • Frank is the ultra-stealth, anti-Begin Again. Whereas the latter mocked commercial formula while hypocritically sticking to one, this movie upends seemingly traditional elements to explore them through an oblique lens. It is itself a bit of a disarming, resurrected Humpty Dumpty—an oddly endearing collection of disparate pieces put back together again as an abstract artwork.

  • Fassbender turns out to be strangely perfect for the part. Not unlike Tom Hardy, who had to spend practically almost all of The Dark Knight Rises with most of his face covered, he can work wonders with his sheer physical presence — not just with how he moves, but also with how he stands still. Frank at times seems like a dynamo of random, freewheeling energy, and other times like a puppet, waiting to be moved...

  • The film, co-written by Peter Straughan and Sievey’s former bandmate (and author in his own right) Jon Ronson, revives the character only to reimagine its backstory significantly. The resulting film is often inspired—an ultimately moving portrait of an artist conflicted about fielding an audience, and an impressively sustained look through the keyhole at how genius works.

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