Frank is a comedy about music, talent, and insanity based loosely on the real life English comedian and musician Chris Sievey who wore a fake head and performed as Frank Sidebottom. Good laughs, pretty good music, and interesting characters shepherded by the enigmatic Frank. Not for everyone, but a very enjoyable weird ride.
• Director: Lenny Abrahamson
• Screenwriters: Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan
• Music: Stephen Rennicks
• Starring: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal
A story about a pop star named Frank who wears a fake head and leads the band of misfits known by the unpronounceable name Soronprfbs. When this motley crew finds themselves in need of a keyboard player after theirs attempts to commit suicide, in steps Jon, an office slave who dreams of making it big despite his lack of talent. His presence changes the bands trajectory and threatens to either make or break the Soronprfbs.
• Michael Fassbender: Fassbender is a pleasure to watch as Frank. While he wears a fake head for almost the entirety of the movie, he draws you into the mystery and magnetism of Frank. After a while, you start wanting to be Frank just like all of the other characters do. To make a character compelling without the use of your face is quite a feat.
• Insight into human nature: The psychology of the characters really keeps this story moving. Central to the film is an interesting take on the link between insanity and creativity. Perhaps, as their manager states, Frank really is the sanest.
• The laughs: The humor is well proportioned to the more serious themes of mental illness and suicide.
• The music: The music alternates between mediocrity and the occasional moment of inspired creativity. This is an important part of the story, but centering all of the action around the creative process of recording an album may leave some out in the cold. Having some experience or interest in this world is necessary for the film’s enjoyment.
This film is weird, and that might keep some audiences away, but it is a fun weird ride with surprising insight. The music is not always spot-on, but there are some really nice musical moments, especially the last song. Very enjoyable for those who can get on Frank’s wavelength.
Review by Kate Christian