Thursday, September 9, 2021
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‘Frank’ offers a film for the indie musician in us all

Artists are often represented as misunderstood, but extremely focused individuals driven by a mysterious muse that propels them into a creatively fertile, though solipsistic vigil. “Frank” utilizes this representation as a lens of quirkiness and awkwardness.
Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, “Frank” is a movie about Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), a young man who dreams of musical stardom and seeks a path out of his hum-drum life. Sitting on the beach one day, he witnesses police trying to rescue a man who is attempting to drown himself in the ocean.
During this time, Jon meets Don (Scott NcNairy), who is the manager for the band the Soronprfbs. Jon learns the band is playing a show later that night, and the man attempting to drown himself is the band’s keyboardist. When Jon admits he knows how to play the keyboard, he is invited to play with the band that night.
The concert ends in complete failure within the first five minutes, and Jon sees himself falling back into his old life. He later gets a call from Don, who says that Frank, the leader of the Soronprfbs, wants him to join the band for a gig in Ireland.
Jon agrees and gets picked up the next day, but realizes that the “gig” is actually a retreat in the woods where the band will make its album. What follows is assuredly the strongest part of the film as Jon gets to know the band members, and the free expression grows and becomes more and more eccentric.
There are Nana and Baraque, the mysterious drummer and the guitarist (Carla Azar and Francois Civil, respectively). Clara is the venomous and aloof back-up singer. Other band members include Theremin (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and Frank( Michael Fassbender). Frank, the band leader, is identified by the large papier-mâché head he wears throughout the film.
Based on the life and times of comedian Frank Sidebottom, who wore a similar papier-mâché head during his act, “Frank” instantly tears down the viewer’s plot expectations. While many parts are comedic, the film often takes a manic shift into a dark and unexpected place.
Overall, “Frank” is an imaginative and delightful look into not just art making, but what drives people to even consider making something at all. While unlikely to be liked by everyone, its punk sensibilities make it a welcomed change to this movie season.

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