Punk in spirit, but utterly charming at heart, Frank followers a disillusioned 20-something, Jon (Domhall Gleeson), whose dream of a music career is suddenly thrust upon him as an opportunity arises to join the eccentric electro-pop band, Soronprfbs, led by the mysterious Frank (Fassbender).
The group – a gang of misfits that also includes two grumpy French musicians, Nana (Carla Azar) and Baraque (Francois Civil), band manager and mannequin fetishist, Don (Scoot McNairy), and the hate-filled Clara, played by the excellent Maggie Gyllenhall – is firmly held together by the enigmatic Frank. The band, with Jon as their new keyboard player, head to a remote cabin in Ireland to record an album. Many months and plenty of Jon’s money later, they are still at their old wooden cabin struggling to get by, but thanks to their keyboardists online documentation of the bands progress, they land a gig in America that could be make or break for the weird sounding, yet strangely lovable group.
You can not help but fall a little in love with Frank and all its quirky glory. The script is sharp and witty, the characters are troubled yet strangely likable, and although you know very little about what is going on under that big papier-mâché head of his, Frank will charm the pants off of you. Gleeson’s Jon – naïve, somewhat dim-witted, but ironically funny and engaging – leads the way, with Gylenhall also in excellent form as the sharp tongued Clara. But underneath the strange music, funny tweets, hot tob sex and most importantly, Frank’s big, fake head, is sadness. Despite all its funny moments and the kooky musical sounds, these are troubled people led by a strangely inspiring, yet himself a deeply tormented individual, who appears to be finely held together by the love for what he does.
This is not a film that will appeal to the masses, but its mix of wit and dark humour is the perfect blend for its difficult underbelly. It is different, it is strange and it is large amounts of quirky, but Abrahamson’s film still manages to encapsulate so much spirit, good and bad, into its 95 minute running time. Frank is infectious and one of the most enjoyable films this year to date, and has far more going for it than just a fake head.