Offbeat doesn’t begin to describe an oddball comedy drama whose leading man goes about wearing a giant papier-mâché head with a cartoon face.
Played by Michael Fassbender, the eponymous Frank is an eccentric avant-garde rock singer who never removes his outlandish headgear, as Domhnall Gleeson’s callow wannabe musician Jon discovers after being recruited into Frank’s band as its new keyboard player, joining a bunch of misfits that includes Maggie Gyllenhaal’s fiercely prickly Theremin-playing Clara.
A year long spell in a remote log cabin to record an album ensues, followed by a disastrous trip to the South by Southwest festival in the US, during which Jon strives to uncover the real Frank and learn the secret of his musical genius.
Frank is very loosely inspired by the cult figure of Frank Sidebottom (aka the late Mancunian singer-comedian Chris Sieves), in whose band the film’s co-writer Jon Ronson played keyboards in the 1980s, with elements of notorious rock taskmaster Captain Beefheart and schizophrenic songwriter Daniel Johnson thrown into the mix, too.
But the film stands by itself as a drolly funny, surprisingly touching portrait of a charismatic musical outsider. Oh, and Fassbender is brilliant beneath that absurd head, conveying all you need to know about Frank’s joys and woes and troubled soul by his body language alone.
Certificate 15. Runtime 90 mins. Director Lenny Abrahamson.
Released on Blu-ray & DVD by Curzon Film World on Monday 15th September.
• Feature commentary with Lenny Abrahamson, Domhnall Gleeson and Stephen Rennicks (Composer)
• Feature commentary with Jon Ronson (Writer) and Peter Straughan (Writer)
• Behind the scenes featurette
• Sound Promo
• Deleted Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer
To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.