Again, this movie is R.
There is a genre of film cropping up within the avant-garde community. It is the existential comedy that thrives on a really weird gimmick. I'm not sure that Frank qualifies as one of these movies because it is loosely based on a real dude. But the gimmick definitely takes front and center. What else can be said when Michael Fassbender refuses to take off his paper-mache head, pictured above?
There is something quite appealing about the musician narrative. For a guy who has an abysmal taste in music and primarily listens to spoken word snobbery, music movies are awesome. They somehow make me seem cooler than I am. I am ashamed to say that, after finishing most music movies, I'll attempt to buy something on vinyl to give me street cred. This movie really does a number on subverting that expectation. This is a music movie that makes me feel bad about that behavior.
I guess we're supposed to find parallels with our own lives. Teaching a film class means introducing movies that students normally wouldn't want to watch and presenting them as genius. So goes Frank. Frank is aware of his own genius in spite of probably not being a genius. His music is objectively and intentionally awful. Yet individuals like Domhnall Gleeson's Jon find such beauty in everything he does. The music isn't discordant, but it is just bad. Lyrics find home in the absurd, often leading to funny moments.
I think that director Lenny Abramson achieved exactly what he was hoping to. He wanted to generate a little bit a sympathy and a whole lot of alienation. That means that this movie isn't going to hit a lot of favorites list. I found myself getting a little bored of the quirkiness and the intentionally unappealing characters rubbed me the wrong way pretty often. The movie examines mental illness, but not in a way that addresses Frank's background in any meaningful way. Unfortunately, while I overall enjoyed it, this movie will rarely hit any recommendations list. Perhaps it was the aesthetic and the occasional guffaws the movie elicited, but I liked it. I will just never say that it was great.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.