Robot & Frank
Frank Langella gives a touching performance in Robot & Frank, a more melancholy little caper than one might at first assume. In the near future, Ol’ Skeletor is Frank, a retired jewel thief living out his dotage in a picturesque small town. When grown-up son Hunter (Marsden) grows concerned about Frank's ability to care for himself, he provides a domestic Robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard). With this companion, the cantankerous crook discovers a new joie de vivre and returns to his former trade.
This relationship between man and machine is comical and moving as the two become unlikely chums. Allied to unsentimental comment on the nature of aging and how we view our elders, there's also a fascination with the preserving of history and import of memory. Susan Sarandon’s librarian Jennifer attempts to protect classic literature – with books now defunct, retro-chic for the kids – from digital modernisation, as Frank’s capacity to recollect dwindles. A fairly cheap trick towards the denouement aside, this is cutely observed, thoughtful work. [Chris Fyvie]