Directed by American independent filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson, an aspiring musician, Jon (Domnhall Gleeson), experiences a journey of self-exploration after joining a band led by the eccentric and mysterious Frank (Michael Fassbender), whose face is permanently covered beneath a comically oversized mask.
Not only is Frank is a good character study; weird behaviour and out-of-control situations are depicted throughout the film. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Clara, Frank’s long-term partner and friend. To say Clara is mentally unstable is putting it lightly – she’s completely bonkers. It’s a very different role to the films I’ve seen Gyllenhaal partake in prior to this. Gleeson does a great job of comically embodying the socially-awkward, talentless Jon, and his quest for the kind of fame he assumes everyone desires. Fassbender however, gives the best performance. For ease of conversation, Frank offers to say his facial expressions aloud, and when he says, “Inviting smile,” you see it because Fassbender’s relaxed posture and soft tone have already made you feel it. Though we may not be presented with his face, his body language, posture and gait are all maintained successfully to make Frank as human as the rest of us.
Ultimately, the film not only becomes memorable for its narrative, but also for its weirdness and distorted sounds. Frank is an uncommonly hard film to pin down. It’s quirky, ironic and heartfelt all at once, with an unexpectedly entertaining blend of humour. Though, I must emphasise, this is a very dark film. Even though I’ve written this review, I’m still not quite sure what to make of it, apart from the fact it was a excellent film and an extremely rewarding watch.