This movie made no sense and is really bizarre…but it made me laugh.

Frank is not a film for everyone, as it’s totally bizarre and makes very little sense at times, although, it did make me laugh and even smile quite a bit. It has a quirky strangeness that I liked and i’m glad I saw it, but I think it would be a hard film to sell to the average cinema goer–mostly because it is so weird and far from conventional.

The film begins with Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) in Scotland. He’s an apparently talentless young man (who looks a lot like Rupert Grint–the guy who played Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films) and somehow remains quite happy. One day, he meets a guy from a band who needs a keyboard player and Jon tells him he can play. Next thing, he’s in the band with no try-out! Well, he turns out to be horrible and can barely play the keyboard at all–which would be a serious problem with 99.99% of the bands in the world. However, this one is very avant-garde–more like a combination of a New Wave band and performance art. The bottom line is that none of them seem to have much musical talent at all and their ‘music’ is god-awful.

Directed by
Lenny Abrahamson
Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Release Date
5 September 2014
Martin’s Grade: B+

The most talented of the band is Frank–a seriously mentally ill man who wears a giant Jack-in-the Box style head! In fact, he never removes the head; he sings in it, sleeps in it and even drinks nutrients through a straw, rather than take it off! He’s bonkers…but the rest of the band are pretty weird as well and apparently Frank and another band member met while institutionalized. Despite these folk being certifiably nuts, perhaps the craziest in some ways is Jon, as he does not appear to have any talent whatsoever. Yet, oddly, he is able to somehow fit in with this group of misfits. And, by the end of the film they somehow manage to become a sensation.

The bottom line is that the film is apparently never intended for a huge audience–it’s more of a quirky niche film and because of this, and the bizarreness of the characters, it’s definitely an acquired taste. In many ways, this reminds me of Napoleon Dynamite–a film many folks love and many hate because they think it just doesn’t make any sense. It is not a film for everyone–mostly just for folk who don’t mind a meandering plot, a lot of stuff that makes no sense as well as many strange, almost nonsensical characters. As for me…I actually enjoyed it.

And, speaking of not making any sense, when I checked the IMDb listing, the star of the film, Domhnall Gleeson as well as Maggie Gyllenhaal aren’t even listed in the credits! Considering what a strange film Frank is, this seems rather fitting!

By the way, if you think that the idea of a severely mentally ill guy becoming a sensation as a lead singer and songwriter sounds impossible, watch the film The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Johnston, despite a severe Bipolar Disorder and a history of ultra-bizarreness, is both a huge hit within certain circles in both the art and music worlds. I wonder if his life was in any way the inspiration for Frank.

by Martin Hafer