Saturday, November 8, 2014

Indie Review: Frank (2014)


              'Frank': A Surprisingly Poignant Black Comedy With Plenty Of Thematic Material Behind Its Big Mask
               "Dying is easy, comedy is hard". That old saying is surprisingly quite true since it is easier to make people cry than it is to make people laugh, especially since there are many different types of humor. But while Frank is labeled as a black comedy, it isn't exactly packed with laughs, yet it still manages to work as a comedy with some poignant dramatic moments.

             Frank follows the story of an aspiring musician named Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) who stumbles across a rather eccentric musical band led by a man who wears a paper-mache head named Frank (Michael Fassbender). Once he figures out the talent this band has, he tries to get them noticed through social media but with uncanny results.

             First off, I thought the performances were fantastic. Even though the film is titled Frank, it is very much Domhnall Gleeson's movie. He is very dynamic as the wannabe musician who is just hoping to fit in and undergoes a subtle yet intense arc. Michael Fassbender once again is fascinating as the eccentric Frank and delivers a 180 from his performance in 12 Years A Slave which is a 180 from his performance in Shame, so he is really proving himself as one of the best actors of our generation. Fassbender is able to capture such powerful emotions even when we never actually see his face. That is remarkable acting right there. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays one of the band members and she is a scene-stealer as Clara, an acid-tongued, theremin-playing nymph.

              Next, I'll get into the story. Now, what surprised me about the story is that while it is essentially a black comedy, it surprisingly had a lot of dramatic moments and (*possible spoiler alert*) deals with themes of mental illness. Yet, I was fascinated by how they managed to weave that into a story about music, as well as social media since there are scenes where we see what Jon is tweeting or blogging. Plus, it works as a buddy comedy. So, the whole story was interesting and shows how the screenplay is one of the films greatest strengths.


              Overall, Frank is a black comedy that may not be laugh-out-loud, yet it still manages to work. The performances are terrific, the fascinating storyline is multi-faceted, the music is even pretty good, and I was simply in awe after I finished watching it.

               Would I Recommend It?:
              If you like black comedies, then I would say "yes". Also, if you are a Michael Fassbender fan, but if you are a female fan and you like to look at him, you may be a little disappointed seeing him with his face covered.

Grade: A