DVD Review: Frank (2014)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Monday, February 16, 2015 0 comments

"Frank" is a black comedy about a keyboardist named Jon (played by Domhnall Gleeson) whom is busy trying to come up with an original song but he can't seem to find his core sound.  While Jon is on a walk he tries to come up with lyrics based on everything he sees that include women in pretty dresses and a band poster for a band named "Soronprfbs" (I don't know how to pronounce it either).  When he is at home all he does is play his keyboard and trying very hard to become relevant on Twitter.  On another one of his outings he spots the police trying to stop someone from drowning himself and walks up to see who the crazy person is.  Turns out the crazy person trying to drown himself is none other than the keyboardist for Soronprfbs and the whole band was also watching the guy try to drown himself.  Jon talks to the band's manager named Don (played by Scoot McNairy) and finds out that they will have to cancel their gig but Jon says that he plays keyboards and gets accepted as the band's temporal keyboardist. 

Jon makes it to the gig while the band is playing only to see that the leader of the band is just some guy named Frank (played by Michael Fassbender) that wears a big fake head with an amplifier installed.  Frank never takes off his mask and even his friends have no idea what he looks like underneath.  Jon also gets lucky as he is invited to be their official keyboardist and then asked to join them for the recording of their album.  Jon accepts and goes with them only to find that they are recording the album in a little log cabin in the middle of nowhere and he has only one pair of clean clothes and no idea how long it will take to record.  How will Jon handle being a part of this band that's a cross-between "Talking Heads" and "Deadmau5" (might seem like a random combination but I'll explain why I used those two bands as an example in the review).  (Click "Read More to read the full review).

The story to this movie is easily something that could've been pretentious and annoying but it wasn't any of those but instead you get a very well written drama film about a guy who was at the right place at the right time.  The drama was quite strong and also very charming and it does really help grab your attention from start to finish.  The comedy styling is defiantly that of a black comedy to where the humor is dark, there is also some lighthearted humor in the film also and I liked most of the humor but the social media jokes at the beginning wasn't my style of comedy but even then it wasn't done terribly.  I did find myself enjoying the social media element of this film as the film went along as it had a more useful purpose to where it made sense to me and not just some guy bitching on Twitter.

The way this film was put together made it feel like that it was a two part mini-series despite this film only being an hour and a half long.  The reason why I say that is due to both halves of the film have different vibes like a "Rise and Fall" feeling and that's all I'll say without spoiling the film.  The mixing of styles for each half of a film can be a tricky thing to get right as it could end up like the film "The Cable Guy (1996)" to where styles can clash to where the film doesn't know what it wants to be.  Thankfully this film does know what it wants to be as it got that element just right as none of the different vibes clashed and both styles bring something to the table.

Earlier in the review I said that "Soronprfbs" were a mixture of "Talking Heads" and "Deadmau5", what I meant by that is that their musical style is New Wave and Indie-Pop just like that of Talking Heads and the band leader is a guy in a creative mask hence the "Deadmau5" comment.  Speaking of music as I really enjoyed the sound of the band as it incorporates everything I love about "New Wave" (my favorite genre next to Heavy Metal).  The music also gives me a very relaxed feeling despite how weird and crazy the lyrics and sound can become.  The music also has a very art-house/avant-garde vibe but without all of the pretentiousness and so you won't find it annoying.

Acting in this film was really good as all the actors played their parts well...  Very well actually as there wasn't a single moment where my immersion wasn't ruined nor did it take me awhile to get immersed as it happened right off the bat.  The best acting in this film has to go to Michael Fassbender's performance of Frank as it was brilliantly done and he did a great job of making the character seem like his own person due to the genuine feeling you'll get from him, I'd go as far to say that it was an award winning performance.  The characters in general are really good as they all have their own unique personalities and are all funny and charming all for different reasons and all reasons were good.  You are going to have a very hard time trying to find a character you will dislike.

There is a decent selection of special features to be found on this release and believe it or not they actually go on longer than the movie.  You've got interviews with the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, a music video for the song "Lipstick Ringo", footage of Frank performing in Melbourne (a city in Australia for the international readers), and the theatrical trailer.  The interviews alone go on for around the same length of the film itself and so good luck on getting through them in one sitting as it'll take some time.  I'm not saying that each interview goes on for the length of the film but the total of all the interviews combined do.

The music video for the song "Lipstick Ringo" is a collection of random clips from the film and the song itself is a song that happens during the film plus the music video also doubles as a trailer for the film.  I wasn't much a fan of this special feature as it was edited to make this film much more of a random and light hearted comedy than what it actually is and so it'll give the wrong impression.  I also wasn't a fan of the song itself and was the only song I didn't like in the film in general as it was annoying but I think that was what they were going for anyway.

The behind the scenes footage was pretty interesting to watch as it was actual behind the scenes footage showing the actors preparing for recording their scenes and also showed the aftermath of recording a scene.  I enjoyed this feature as I do like to see what went on during the making of films as it is interesting ("Godzilla: Final Wars (2004)" also had this feature).  The clips of the character Frank (don't know if it was actually "Michael Fassbender" or not playing Frank) performing in Melbourne was just that and it was an alright feature and showed good clips and good music but it's nothing you'll watch more than once.  Lastly you have the trailer and it was what it was and I had no problem with it also it was well produced and doesn't ruin the movie one bit.

Overall this is a very enjoyable movie and I do recommend it for all to see.  I especially recommend this film to those who like music in general as this film is much sweeter if you like music.  Great film.

Title: Frank
Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Domhnall Gleeson, Scoot McNairy, Michael Fassbender
Genre:  Drama, Black Comedy, Music
Running Time: 90 minutes
Price: $29.95
Rating: MA15+ (Strong coarse language)
Recommended: Yes


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