*Portions of this review were first published during the 2014 Sundance Filme Festival
(Domhnall Gleeson) is an aspiring musician plinking away at his
keyboard in a frustrated attempt to write a hit song. He feigns
sincerity, but in his incessant appeals to social media and his
inability to create even mainstream drudge it is clear that he is
motivated by a pursuit of fame and not by any deeply-held artistic
But in a bit of dumb luck, he crosses paths with a band
fronted by Frank, an experimental musician whose face is perpetually
obscured by a large paper-mâché head and for whom music is an end in
Frank invites Jon into the band as keyboardist, whisking
him away to a secluded cabin in Ireland to record the new album, despite
a cold reception from the other members of the band, including Maggie
Gylenhaal as a cold and volatile theremin player.
eventually strays from a story about a quirky Euro-band recording in
Ireland to one about mental illness and expression with a backdrop at
the South by Southwest festival. But the central question of the movie,
"Who is Frank and why does he wear the head?" is left largely unanswered
even as the band collapses and Frank’s mental state deteriorates. One
would assume that if you cast Michael Fassbender in your movie and spend
the whole movie hiding his face that you would've done so for a reason.
a buzzy film at this year’s Sundance festival and certainly has it's
moments of charm. The actors commit fully to the gonzo setup,
particularly Gylenhaal who is delightful while threatening to stab our
protagonist and, later, making good on her threat.
But in this
critic’s opinion, the film is one that perhaps had grand things to say
if you could just hear them from underneath a muffled mass of paper
*'Frank' opens in Salt Lake City on Friday, August 29.