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Frank: Papier-Mache Zeppelin

February 6, 2015


Frank tells the story of an eccentric band and their papier-mache loving front man. It is a relaxed movie that takes its time and relishes in the weird little moments of a bands life. What I love most about this under appreciated gem is Michael Fassbender’s performance. Unhindered by the large mask Fassbender lets loose a physical and charismatic performance that proves to be very memorable. Something is obviously wrong with Frank but he manages to be so charming, personable and capable of very odd lyrics that people overlook his odd habits.

Stale beer. Fat f*cked, smoked out. Cowpoked. Sequined mountain ladies. I love your wall. Put your arms around me. Fiddly digits, itchy britches. I love you all.


The film revolves an idealistic young man named Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) joining a band called Soronprfbs. The band just lost their keyboardist/manger in an attempted suicide and as fate would have it Jon was standing around. He is a middling musician who couldn’t write a song to save his life (Ladies have babies. That’s how it works) but plays enough keyboard to impress Frank. So, they pack into a van and drive to Ireland to record their album.

Scoot mnnairy

Little recording is done as they record nature sounds, engage in calisthenics and chain smoke. The band rallies around Frank and some of the band members either love or hate the process. Frank has an incredibly non-mainstream style of music and it becomes obvious a record will never be recorded. Jon becomes consumed with becoming as great as Frank but instead grows a beard and spends his nest egg paying for their time in Ireland.



Jon also continually pisses of fellow musician Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal). Clara has her own problems but she brushes them aside to be Frank’s protector. She hates Jon’s mediocrity and understands that Frank’s style and mindset will never appeal to the mainstream. You are never quite sure why Clara is in the band but as the movie progresses she becomes much more likable and you understand why she stays with Frank. I find it random that they would allow Jon to drain all his money on an album that will never happen. It makes you wonder if they’ve used and abused other ambitious and misguided musicians.

Eventually, the crew head to Texas for the South by Southwest music festival. It all goes spectacularly wrong and ends with stabbings, hurt feelings and a soul crushing performance. You learn more about the characters and it all turns sad quickly. I love that the movie never goes for the easy answers and has something to say about the quest for fame. It could have all culminated in a sold out show that turns Frank into a star but instead ends with some very avant-garde pop music in a tiny pool hall.

Frank is nothing like you would expect. It accomplishes poignancy out of papier-mache masks and has something to say about fame and all its trappings. Watch Frank. Appreciate the Fassbender. Don’t write bad lyrics.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2015 10:58 am

    I felt like the movie loved itself too much to where I couldn’t even get a chance to get to like it myself. Good review.

    • February 6, 2015 11:00 am

      I totally get that. I just like how it felt different. Anything that breaks the status quo makes me happy.

    • davecrewe permalink
      February 6, 2015 4:47 pm

      Yeah, this is kinda where I felt. I liked a lot of the film’s elements and ideas, but the whole thing fell a bit short for me. Love that final scene, though.

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