Film Festival Movie Review

Film Review: FRANK: A Unique Pathology Explored [Sundance London 2014]

Michael Fassbender Frank

Frank (2014) Film Review from the 3rd Annual Sundance London Film Festival, a movie directed by Lenny Abrahamson, and starring Michael Fassbender, Domhall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Scoot McNairy.

Just as awkward as it is charming, Frank relies on Lenny Abrahamson peculiarly likable direction and Michael Fassbender’s devoted performance with some efficient supporting work from Maggie Gyllenhaal and especially Domhall Gleeson, the second heart of the film. This is the type of comedy that wins you over with its awkwardness, earns your affection with a lot of laughs and then moves you deeply as the drama lurks its way into the story. It is well worth the watch-its running time doesn’t tire and it is more than full of quality work in many cinematic aspects.

Frank is a crazy character, a musician, who wears a big, ridiculous head on top of his head and utters out loud his facial expressions. Why he does it, why does he likes it-you will have to find out on your own and this is where the journey gets immediately interesting. You have an unusual character that you need to explore from the very start so it is impossible for you to get bored at any point whatsoever. Michael Fassbender is awesome for the fact that he can be a great lead character for an entire feature film with a cardboard box fully covering his head. Not only that, he will make you laugh if you, of course, fall for it but odds are that you will.

What is more or less surprising is that the main character is actually based on an actual person, so perhaps in the end it is not so surprising that this otherwise outlandish main character manages to move us in such authentic ways. Nonetheless, this is a crazy film with a lot of crazy characters in it. We are talking about a band of musicians whose group’s name is completely unpronounceable, who try to commit suicide in the very start of the story.

This is where Domhall Gleeson kicks in. He might not have a lot of talent but he is the one who wants to make it all happen and who is the keeper of the balance in the group. So in a way, if Michael Fassbender’s Frank is the film’s insane center, Domhall Gleeson is us-the normal viewer with normal aspirations that gets to be involved with this outlandish group of individuals and their bold, demented world.

The serious stuff, the drama matches the comedy and the lively, likable craziness of Frank quite successfully. Apart from what is funny and crazy, we have what is serious and that is the theme of mental illness. This might be a film that uses the madness of its situation to entertain you and make you laugh but it is just as much a profound psychological investigation of mental illness.

There are definite disadvantages-the music is not something to totally admire as you should since this is, at the end of the day, a film about musicians, apart from the concluding song which is quite good. Also, you will be in quite of a weird experience if you fail to succumb to the film’s style because Frank is awkward before being funny, moving and insightful so unless you manage to cross that border you won’t be able to appreciate the film as its admirers can.

This is a unique experience, with two very good performances in it, which will be enough on their own to keep you interested and involved. Its ending might prove satisfying for some and for some others-not so much but this is up for you to decide. This is a weird film, one that you love or hate but you have to see it for yourself to decide.


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About the author

Deyan Angelov

My name is Deyan Angelov and I am 25. I have written articles for FilmBook. I graduated from the University of London, Royal Holloway in 2014. I have worked as an air operator, sound recorder and camera operator for different TV stations. I have participated in a variety of internships at Nu Boyana Film Studios.

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