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Plot: Jon, a young wanna-be musician, discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank. Runtime: 95 mins Release Date: 09 May 2014
Reminded me why I go to the cinema. (by samwardell)
I went to see Frank at the Ritzy Picturehouse in Brixton with my wife. I was not expecting much; I tend to dislike rock biopics and the whole premise of man-in-giant-papier-mache-head thing seemed gimmicky.Frank is wonderful. The comedy is effortless, the dialogue is smart but not pretentious, the performances are elegant and understated. Fassbender is great and the head thing really works for him. One of the real pleasures of this film is its narrative depth. The story arcs of the protagonists manage to be wholly natural and yet surprisingly subversive. At no point does the film simplify or <more>
'talk down' to the audience.The music is good too.Go see it. Go see it while it is still in the cinema.
Odd, funny, sad and wonderful. Has stuck with me for days. (by runamokprods)
An odd and wonderful mix of comedy and sadness, absurdity and reality, playfulness and originality. The acting is terrific throughout, the cast creating slightly larger than life comic characters that somehow still feel real enough to invest in emotionally. It's a tone few movies get right. "Harold and Maude" comes to mind. Jon Domhnall Gleeson wants to be a pop star in the worst way literally . He walks around writing amusingly bad pop tunes in his head. Life as a musician seems only a dream when as luck would have it a band, playing in his home town for just one night, <more>
needs a replacement when their keyboard player goes bonkers, and Jon is in the right place at the right moment. Thus begins Jon's journey with a band of misfits, who may be geniuses or just delusional... or both. They are led by Frank Michael Fassbender an amiable if deeply odd fellow, who wears a giant plaster head that he never takes off, even to sleep. His counterweight is the angry, punky and edgy Clara Maggie Gyllenhaal , who is fiercely protective of the fragile Frank, and sees Jon's attempts to get the band to go mainstream as dangerous to both their artistic integrity, and Frank's well being. All this leads to adventures, changes, discoveries and insights that are often outrageous and darkly funny, but ultimately quite moving as well. Also to be noted is just how great the music and songs created for the film are. They have to be "off" enough to be funny, but good enough for us to believe there really is something to Frank's talents. This is done very well, both in the writing and performing, the actors showing some musical chops, and the film creating tunes that, to my surprise have been caught in my head for days. Indeed, the whole film has stuck with me far more deeply than I imagined while I was watching it. There's a haunting quality behind the humor that captures what special about "outsider" art, and it gives the film a resonance and gravity to go along with it's light-handed playfulness.
Love and insanity in rock and roll (by Quinoa1984)
If Hal Ashby were alive today, he would probably make a film like Frank. Lenny Abrahamson's latest feature from a script from in part Jon Ronson has Ashby's sense of eccentricity but a contentment with that. The characters here are all alive, even the ones who don't have a lot of lines the ones who speak French, yes them too . It's a story about creativity and process, and how it can tear a person apart or make someone who doesn't have it down yet that much hungrier to achieve it.It is extremely funny through its off-beat dialog, how a line will come out from where you <more>
completely least expect it, and yet it's got a core that is very serious. Frank deals with mental illness in a way that is both delicate but subtle; we know a good many in this band are crazy, some maybe just more clinically so than others. But the director and writers never go to mocking them, at least with any cruelty. It's completely sincere, and so, hopefully, most of us buy it too.Frank is a rock and roll movie, but I've rarely seen one as funny as this. And it's disarming in its humor, its asides, and the dark edges that wrap around so much of the storyline and characters. I have to think without a character like John this movie would still be watchbable, but a bit more impenetrable. John gets into the weirdness of this avant-garde group, the kind that records sounds of the wind and water being poured for their album, and experiment for a full year, fourteen hours a day. We feel the weirdness right along with him.For how unusual Frank looks, a great amount of the power of Fassbender's performance is that we don't see him for 99% of the film. Fassbender's voice is enough, and he uses it as well as his body to convey so much. He makes a fully realized character and a soulful, uproarious deadpan satire of rock stars - but without the face, which is quite hard to do; in a sense though he's playing a rock-n-roll Darth Vader maybe crossed with Jim Morrison if he'd gone through five different alternative scenes . But despite Frank's trajectory is that of someone with mental illness, there's not too much of a feeling of cringing when he does some oddball choices for example, for a friend's ashes, he instead tosses out into the wind flour , and the writing hatches on to these folks being true to themselves.So, by the time the group makes its album, and heads by luck to SxSW to play a gig, they're not so unusual anymore. The movie emphasizes this band as family, and it's here that the movie has yet another level, about the dysfunctional brothers and sisters are there even any parents? maybe Frank and Clara, but it could go either way , and John as the adopted child or pet who tries to get in with his music, which falls up short more often than not - at least in the midst of the eclectic and strange. So yet another thing, about who's got it and who doesn't in art; this is a sort of topic that is not new to movies, to be sure hey, Amadeus for one . But here, it gets a fresh take thanks to the characters being likable and unlikable in equal measure. We don't know what could come next for John or Frank or anyone really.And the music itself... it's actually pretty cool. Or maybe it's terrible, but it's a cool-terrible, if that makes sense. Of course, if you don't have any sort of open ear for experimental stuff - whether this goes past like Radiohead or Pink Floyd for you I don't know - it might seem like a big laugh at experimental music's expense. And yet it's all so original and of its own the actors playing the music and Fassbender singing with everything he's got live by the way it's hard to see it being mockable except in almost an intellectual way. I remember before seeing the film the band performed on the Colbert Report, and the initial shock of seeing these actors playing and singing with this giant head included faded in like ten seconds. It's real music, as bizarre and left field it is.A slight downside is that, maybe just at first but here and there, Gleeson is a little one note. Or, maybe that's the character himself, harping on the same beat of 'I want to make good music, here's a song!' Where he goes and how he takes charge and deals with the conflict of this group, while things go from weird to shocking to sad to weird and off-putting and delirious and sad again, makes so much of the film engaging and different and with integrity. And the ending is simply extraordinary. So much leads these characters, through ups and downs, to a point where they're just on a stage in part and find the song a certain way.I love when stories go on such a real but absurdist journey, and there's no lack of humor in the face of a dramatic story that has characters facing personal odds and ends, and can find a place that feels true and heart-breaking in a way. We don't know what will happen to the Soronfbs from here, but they don't lack artistry. Finding a movie that can handle that really well and true is rare.
Frank is a thoughtful, imaginative and amusing piece of work making for a hugely watchable and enjoyable movie. (by sav-982-72544)
Michael Fassbender dons a huge fake head in the enjoyable Frank showing at Sundance London. The movie is a fictionalised account based on a book written by journalist Jon Ronson who also co wrote the screenplay. In the 1980s Ronson played keyboards in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band in which Frank wore a big fake head and nobody outside his inner circle knew his true identity.In a small quiet English seaside town Jon Domhnall Gleeson tries to pursue his passion for writing songs in between working at his humdrum day job. Even given his undoubted enthusiasm for trying to be creative <more>
Jon struggles to actually write anything even vaguely resembling a half decent couple of lyrics. On Twitter he likes to tweet his songwriting status or more the lack of it along with updates on what he is eating for lunch. But when a band comes to town and their keyboard player goes off the rails he sees opportunity knocking to join the band for an actual gig. Shortly after he finds himself travelling with the band to Ireland to record an album which ends up taking him on a pretty epic journey.Jon's new band members are a weird, odd bunch of characters which include the slightly crazed and volatile Clara Maggie Gyllenhaal , Don Scoot McNairy an ex-keyboard player of the band who now operates as a kind of manager, and then there's Frank the band's enigmatic front man played by Fassbender and who insists on wearing an over-sized fake head at all times.Frank is a hard film to easily define and although it manages to remain on the right side of upbeat with plenty of laughs it does gently broach issues revolving around mental health. The exploits of the band trying to make a album touch on notions of artistic endeavour, originality and the sphere that songwriters and musicians have to encounter in trying to be creative.While generally having to be the subject of suspicion and hostility enforced by most of the band Jon is encouraged by Frank's friendship and welcome remarks about his on the face of it tragically lame attempts at songwriting and starts to be become more emboldened about his actual merits and worthiness. Gleeson does a terrific job in portraying his character Jon's transformation and voyage from awkward geeky young dude trying hard to fit in, to feeling like he was the main man in charge of the band's destiny and even catalyst towards the success he so craves. Ultimately though a hard lesson in self discovery awaits him.The movie keeps you guessing about what is going to happen next and trying to work out the main characters and how they interact with each other. In the history of bands there are lots of examples of artistic spats, personal issues and tragedies, conflicts, inner working quirks and inspiration which are all evident in Frank.Summing up Frank is a thoughtful, imaginative and amusing piece of work making for a hugely watchable and enjoyable movie.
Frank - a weird but extremely rewarding watch (by magicninga)
Frank is probably the hardest film that I have ever watched to describe to someone who has never watched it. After viewing I had literally nothing to say. This is because it was a truly excellent watch. I was initially attracted to 'Frank' by its strange and wacky trailer with promised an insane black comedy.The first hour of Frank delivers on this completely and it is hugely entertaining. Some of the funniest scenes that I've seen at the cinema this year. This in my mind is properly revised comedy, until the film which is currently sitting at the top of the box office charts <more>
'bad neighbours.' Anyways i digress.During the last portion of the film there is a massive shift in the films tone, which could have easily been extremely jarring for the viewer but it is delivered in such a way that it only seems natural. This is when I decided that I did truly love the film. Not only was i capable of making me laugh but then also then to look at the more serious end of the coin. I don't think that 'Frank' will make anywhere near as much money as some of the larger blockbuster which came out this week, but I done believe that it will linger in the memory of those who watch it. I can almost guarantee that Frank will become a cult classic over time. Also the soundtrack is bloody brilliant
Melancholic and funny, fantastic (by Red_Identity)
Graceful, melancholic, and sweetly charming even while being very funny, a fantastic film. Very meticulous in its pacing, it's restrained and surprisingly atmospheric too. The performances play a large part as to why it works so well. Michael Fassbender is definitely one of my five favorite actors working right now, he's given great performances all throughout the last several years, and this may stand as one of his very very best. I guess it's going to be hard for many people to look past the fact that we don't see his face especially when it comes to awards season but what <more>
he does with his vocal expressions is pretty magnificent, and a total transformation. Most times it hardly sounds like the Fassbender we've all heard, if at times even not at all. The only other male performance of 2014 to rival Fassbender's here is James McAvoy's turn in Filth. Domhnall Gleeson is also pretty great in a less showier part, especially great in the film's last act. Maggie Gyllenhaal has also never been better, although I admit that I haven't seen a lot of her work. This is truly great stuff, sad and funny in a way last year's brilliant Inside Llewyn Davis was. This also has a scene that is to me the hardest I've laughed this year.
So Frank is a great film. Let's be clear, this is not a bio-pic. It was inspired by Frank Sidebottom in so much as the story is about a band whose front man wears a big papier-mâché head.It's a really lovely story of an odd group of musicians and their new keyboard player Jon. The musicians are all a bit barking and the beautiful Maggie Gyllenhaal is the craziest. The whole cast are superb and Michael Fassbender is excellent under the head as well as showing that he is a great vocalist too.The film is engaging, funny and moving.It also made me jump more than any horror movie ever <more>
has. It has some wonderful scenes that made me laugh out loud and the direction is just beautiful with some truly clever touches.It starts with a very unusual aural soundscape that draws you in immediately and finishes with the band's songs playing over the credits that guarantee you won't leave until the final note of "Lone Standing Tuft".Incidentally a documentary about Frank Sidebottom is in production right now and Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story will be out soon.
An odd film guided by pure truths, "Frank" is worth the weirdness (by Movie_Muse_Reviews)
"Frank" explores the fine and not-so-fine line between creative genius and insanity. Although you might assume a movie about an alternative rock band with a lead singer who wears a giant fake head that he never takes off would be a work of fiction, the truth, as they say, is stranger, and provides a compelling basis for a movie."Frank" is co-written by Jon Ronson based on his experience playing keyboard in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band in the late '80s. Frank Sidebottom was the alter ego of a man named Chris Sievey, who wore a giant fake head almost identical <more>
to the one Frank Michael Fassbender wears in the movie. Ronson based the film's main character, Jon Domhnall Gleeson on himself; both real and fictional Jon found themselves randomly in this band, ditching their existing lives in pursuit of musical greatness, trying to make sense of the enigma of the man in the giant head.With screenwriter Peter Straughan's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" help, Ronson dives into a fictional replication of his experience with the band. Gleeson's Jon is an aspiring songwriter completely lacking in inspiration who gets an unusual opportunity to play a gig for an experimental band called Soronprfbs after he witnesses their keyboardist attempting to drown himself. Jon has the time of his life and agrees to travel to Ireland with the group, only to discover it's not a road trip to play a few shows, but a retreat at which the unorthodox Frank will stop at nothing until he's recorded an astounding new album.For all the mystery shrouding his character, Frank is far from the most eccentric band member. In fact, he's the most congenial. We also learn about the other keyboardist, Don's Scoot McNairy , volatile history with mental illness and musician Clara's Maggie Gyllenhaal propensity for violence. Unsurprisingly, Jon's gleaning from it all is that deep adversity and mental anguish is a pre- requisite to talent.Director Lenny Abrahamson brings a natural yet surreal quality that honors the weirdness of the story, while also helping us access the psychology of the characters and take interest in what's happening in a very rooted way. He keeps the reality of what's going on with its characters in play while experimenting with a number of scenes that push the bizarreness to varying levels. There are elements of black comedy, but also of honest, soul-stirring truth.The first half of "Frank" focuses more on the creative process and the mental headspace necessary to operate at peak creativity. When Jon signs them up for a very promising gig and begins pushing his own creative agenda, forcing the story to leave the confines of the Ireland vacation home, the film turns to examine the real pain of its characters and what happens to creativity when complications of fandom and notoriety enter the mix.Throughout it all we see a gradual change in Jon as a character, and he becomes less likable because of all that his dreams and naiveté have wrought. This has a slightly adverse effect on the viewing experience, making it kind of painful to watch all these troubled characters with their misguided attitudes drown themselves in a sea of expectations and principles. At the same time, this leads to an honest, moving redemptive arc in the final half hour of the movie, when this bizarre flower of a story opens up to reveal its fragile insides."Frank" can feel rough and disjointed tonally at points and grow a little irksome, but much like how a band with a weird sound still has artistic integrity somewhere underneath that drives that creative choice, "Frank" stays committed to looking at talent, creativity and mental illness in a very authentic, productive way that makes it worth the quirks.~Steven CThanks for reading! Visit Movie Muse Reviews for more
If that is all I need to know to be in a band then I can basically be a one man band. Frank shows how weird artists can be but I guess it is a requirement for an artist to be a little weird. The fans and the audience demands it, you have to differ yourself somehow.Despite the title Franks isn't about the titular character as it is about Jon's journey. Jon played by Domhnall Gleeson is an aspiring struggling musician who stumbles upon a opportunity to play with the band "Soronprfbs" led by Frank. They invite him along and Jon thinking it is just a weekend gig later finds out <more>
that they are making a new album. Jon tries to find his place in the band and he also shoots videos, posts pictures and writes about the band online thus creating a viral campaign for the band.Domhnall Gleeson is turning out to be a very sympathetic and promising actor especially after last year's About Time. The film stands on his likable persona and if anyone else would be cast but him the film wouldn't be so enjoyable. Recently I always find myself to be watching a film with Scoot McNairy, who is turning out to be one of my favorite actors. I just never he is in some film and then he pops up and he is just delightful. Really hope this guy will be getting more and more roles. Michael Fassbender delivers a great performance even though we only hear his voice for most of the time. But even with theses limits he has he still can create a compelling and fully fleshed out character. The only problem in the film isn't the pacing or the script or the quirky humor it is Maggie Gyllenhaal. In my opinion she is one of the worst actresses in the world and mostly I find it very hard to look at thus making her character extremely irritating.Jon finds out that you don't need to have an abusive childhood or mental illness to be a great artist - musician in this case. You just need to write songs from your heart and live. Not try to be somebody who you are not. You need to be creative plus a little talent doesn't hurt.