Monday, August 18, 2014

Head Trick

Frank (2014) - Abrahamson
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Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) really wants to be a musician. He composes music in his head day in and day out during the commute, at work, on the streets, at home. After witnessing a suicide attempt of a man who happens to be a keyboardist in a band, Soronprfbs, he is scooped up as the replacement by the group's eccentric lead singer, Frank (Michael Fassbender). Jon is told that Frank never takes off that big papier mache on his head and nobody has seen his real face, not even Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal, in her possibly the best role), the band's theremin player who worships him and detests Jon's presence. The group retreats to a remote mountain cabin to record their album. Frank is a musical genius and his methods are truly eccentric. They spend a long time to prepare themselves before recording the album. Jon even spends all of his 'nest egg' to provide the group's food and lodging. Everyone believes in Frank and what they are doing is great. Jon, in the meantime, with twitter and youtube, records his dealings in the band like crazy, accumulating a huge following on the internet. But when he announces that they are going to play SXSW Music Fest, everyone's extremely skeptical, except for Frank, who is sold on the idea of having their music listened by more people. So they go to Texas and everything falls apart. As everyone predicted (except for Frank), Jon turns out to be and unbeknownst to himself, a combination of Salieri and Yoko Ono.

So how to describe Frank the movie? Is it a take on eccentric musical genius, the downside of stardom, selling out, childhood trauma, jealousy, hollowness of hipster scene, desire to be loved? By the end, Frank is not about anything. Definitely not about music. But is it not funny? Tons. Fun to see Fassbender in papier mache? Oh yeah. It's a great, unique, silly comedy.

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