Frank – Review
Bypassing the easier route of crafting a rather typical “Frank Sidebottom goes on holiday” movie in favour of a new and wholly original narrative, Frank instead charts the misadventures of a young would-be musician (Domnhall Gleeson) who finds himself drafted into experimental band Soronprfbs and begins posting their exploits online, generating what seems to be a cult following in the process.
Partially based on the musical exploits of Sidebottom’s real life alter ego Chris Sievey and his band The Freshies, it’s a surrealistic road movie with just a hint of bromance chucked in for good measure. But can a movie involving Frank (the surname is noticeably expunged from the story) possibly work? In short, it does and it doesn’t. Those not already in on the Frank Sidebottom schtick (as it were) will struggle to acclimatise to the film’s overt wackiness, it’s unabashed weirdness and outright awkwardness; those who count themselves as fans meanwhile will no doubt encounter difficulties breaking through the movie’s divergent personality.
With the right level of quirk to maintain it’s charm, Frank is at it’s best when Gleeson and token girl Maggie Gyllenhaal are given room to explore their respective dynamics with the titular character, on a plot level however the film is simply lacking. Michael Fassbender’s performance is top notch, a borderline masterclass in the nuances of body language if nothing else, yet confined within a conventional narrative that strives to be anything but, it fails to embolden the film with any stature beyond that of the average reboot.
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Michael Fassbender, Domnhall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal