From the premise of Michael Fassbender (famous for playing Magneto in the new X-Men films and creepy android, David, in Prometheus) in a big papier-mache head making weird music in the middle of the countryside in Ireland, you may think that this film does not sound promising. If you think that, then you are so wrong.
Leonard Abrahamson (a little-known Irish director) has done a remarkable job of evoking such an unlikely range of emotions from the audience: humour, sadness, confusion, fondness, dislike, and good old uncomfortable cringe. The characters, including Maggie Gyllenhaal’s (of The Dark Knight and Secretary fame) terrifying Clara, are all bizarre but oddly believable. Even though Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) leads the cast as struggling musician, Jon, it is Fassbender who steals the show as the enigmatic Frank.
Not only has the character been written to be absolutely fascinating and totally likable – despite the big papier-mache head – Fassbender’s acting, yes acting, expresses so many complicated emotions even though we can’t see his face.
The character is loosely based on Frank Sidebottom, a comedy persona adopted by Christopher Sievey from 1984 onwards. The film was written by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan and was inspired by Ronson’s experiences playing in Sievey’s ‘Oh Blimey Big Band’.
Unusually, all the music in the film was actually performed by the actors on screen.
Shot in Texas, New Mexico, and County Dublin, Ireland, the film follows Jon who, thanks to a bizarre series of events, finds himself in a ramshackle holiday home in rural Ireland making music with Frank’s band, The Soronprfbs.
Empire Magazine called Frank a “barking-mad but affecting comedy about the side-effects of being a non-conformist genius.” Time Out Magazine stated that “If you’ll pardon the cleverness, ‘Frank‘ takes time to wrap your own cranium around, faults and all, and that’s a wonderful thing.”
As touching as it is weird, as sad as it is hilarious, Frank is a truly unique and moving cinema experience.