Frank

Frank, 2014,  Lenny Abrahamson

Keyboard player Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) meets weird indie band The Soronprfbs and gets recruited to join them for a gig in Ireland which turns out to be months holed up in an isolated holiday home recording their next album. Jon’s new band members include the hostile Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and lead singer Frank (Michael Fassbender), who wears a giant fiberglass head at all times. Jon begins to post tweets about the band, videos on Youtube and they become a cult phenomenon invited to perform at SXSW. But he’s the only one really pushing the band towards this. Secrecy and isolation seem to suit them better. They’re more like a terrorist cell than a band.

Exploring the fault line between music as career or vocation, Frank is darkly sincere with plenty of deadpan humour, great music, and a proper disdain for the music industry. The complicated dynamics of band life are captured perfectly as they jam and bicker, fame-struck Jon caught between the sweetly blank cartoon face of Frank, a gnomic child’s, and the fierce, weary stare of Clara who identifies Jon as a threat from the start. Quietly undermining the rock myth of cool eccentricity Frank highlights the fragility of the creative spirit and the necessity of masks as psychic protection from fame’s devouring neon. A quintessential cult film.

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