Frank

Film Review by Philip Concannon | 05 May 2014
  • Frank
Film title: Frank
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, Tess Harper,
Release date: 9 May
Certificate: 15

Although it has been co-written by former Oh Blimey Big Band member Jon Ronson, Frank is not a biopic of Frank Sidebottom or his creator Chris Sievey. Instead, Lenny Abrahamson's film takes the idea of a musician performing inside an oversized fibreglass head and spins off into completely fictional territory. We experience life on the road with Frank's defiantly uncommercial band through the eyes of naïve keyboardist Jon (Gleeson), a man whose hunger for social media-driven fame far outweighs his creative abilities. By aligning us with this perspective, Frank raises the question of what artistic success truly is – maximum exposure, or the creation of something genuinely original and distinctive.

As he has shown in his previous films, Lenny Abrahamson is a filmmaker with a nuanced sense of tone, and he handles the shift from surreal comedy to something deeper and more complex with a typically deft touch. Credit is also due to Michael Fassbender, who delivers a brilliantly deadpan performance that makes this oddball character a very funny but ultimately empathetic figure. [Philip Concannon]