Cinematic Releases: Frank

Michael Fassbender continues to excel in his role as eccentric lead singer, Frank.

"Hello. Is there anybody
in there?"
Perhaps one of the strangest and creatively miraculous releases of 2014 is Frank, a low budget independent film that furthers Fassbender's nearly impeccable resume of diverse and emotive roles.

This is a dark, music infused comedy that drifts in to the rabbit hole of mental illness while telling a great story about friendship, loyalty, and the family-like relationship that is formed between a group of socially awkward band mates. Franks sheds light on numerous topics including our obsession with social networking, the broken modern music business, and how mental instability can fuel the fire of creativity or can be its worst enemy. 

Fassbender has been continually proving himself for several years now. With Frank he does something most actors would never be able to master with such undeniable focus. He pulls off a believable and charismatic role while wearing a mask. There are no visual emotions or features that viewers can connect with other than his body language, tone of voice, or over emphasized physical movements. And holy hell. It works. Fassbender takes the impossible and makes it happen over and over again with absolute mastery of his craft. In Frank, he once again proves himself as the alpha in a pool of gifted young actors that are obviously trying to keep up but are more than happy to let him take the intuitive lead. Everyone here carries their own weight, but Fassbender is the unequivocal standout. 

"That Jason guy is gonna be
really mad when he finds out
this mask is machete proof."
Yet, Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance is nothing to sneeze at either. Her role as cold-hearted keyboardist, Clara, is easily her best in a decade and the type of eclectic embodiment that started her career. Her past indie cred comes to great use here as she returns to her formative days with a character more suited to her Donnie Darko or Secretary years. She's unlikable, desperate, moody, and uncharacteristically sub-human. At times she comes close to encroaching on Fassbender's dramatic space, but falls back without stealing his respective spotlight. 

Frank can't be compared to any other film I've ever seen. This is pure, unbridled creativity that does something brand new. The characters are fresh. The story breaks new ground. The environments are different. And the strange self absorbed music is enjoyable to a certain extent. The real focus of the movie is the commitment to character development and the forward moving progression of Frank and Jon's ambiguous and confused musical partnership. 

If you like movies that don't abide by typical standards, Frank is a must see feature. This is one of the best of 2014. It mixes elements of comedy and drama into the strange but satisfying story of Frank, his weirdo band, and their search for acceptance despite their really weird music. Trust me. It's weird.