Sitting in the cinema watching Frank, I kept reminding myself “This is actually Michael Fassbender. This is amazing”. It was glorious.
Watching Michael Fassbender be utterly ridiculous inside a papier-mâché head was a joy to watch. Just wait for him to play his ‘catchiest song ever’ and remind yourself that this same man was the meticulously mental Oscar-nominated slave-owner in 12 Years A Slave. It was still very weird, but a joy nonetheless.
Frank follows the adventures of Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) as he joins a band full of eccentrics called “Soronprfbs” led by the by the titular papier-mâché head-wearing Frank (Michael Fassbender).
Frank is unfathomably weird. But in a great way. It’s the strangest film I’ve seen in a long time, not least because Michael Fassbender (one of the most in-demand actors right now) spends almost the entire runtime inside a papier-mâché head. Despite this, Fassbender puts in a terrific performance, being not only charismatic and funny, but also vulnerable. If anything, Frank is further proof that Fassbender is one of the most talented actors working today.
Domhnal Gleeson proves a warm and charming narrator, contrasting well against a brilliantly cast Maggie Gyllenhall as the aggressive, violent Frank-obsessed Clara.
The first two thirds of the film are like some sort of madcap adventure, full of odd little sequences whilst the band struggle to record their album (Frank opening and closing a door “I could make an entire album out of this one sound”). But, strikingly, the final third searches for a darker tone, and stops being funny at all. In fact, the film challenges you for laughing at what you had seen before. It threw me off, and I didn’t really know what to make of this sudden twist. To be honest, I didn’t really like it.
But Frank is a good film nonetheless, mostly because it relishes its undeniably peculiar premise, pushing the oddness to its furthest boundaries. I’m so glad it went full weirdo, and that it got THE GUY FROM (super-serious) SHAME to star. Fassbender should be credited for appearing seemingly unafraid to tackle any script going.
One last thing: flowers inside a mannequin’s leg. You’ll understand when you see it.