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Frank is a weird fucking movie full of unbridled Michael Fassbender fun.

Some movies are made for mass consumption—dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. Frank is not one of those movies. Many will not enjoy Frank. I am not one of those people.

Even in a paper mache head, you feel Michael Fassbender’s presence as Frank. I cannot imagine any other actor pulling off this insane performance. If you only know Michael Fassbender as Magneto in the recent X-Men movies, I have immense pity for your miserable existence. While Fassbender is the driving force, Frank is a phenomenal movie because of Domhnall Gleeson and the supporting cast.

Domhnall Gleeson

Domhnall Gleeson is an Irish actor who is the son of Brendan Gleeson—probably most known for his role as Walter “Monk” McGinn in Gangs of New York. It’s not a stretch to say that Domhnall Gleeson is already the greatest ginger actor of all-time. His recent stretch of ridiculously good performances in Black Mirror (a British television show), About Time, Frank, and Calvary have propelled his career into more mainstream movies as he’s slated to appear later this year in Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.

In Frank, Domhnall Gleeson perfectly plays the part of Jon Burroughs. From the opening scene, you can see that Jon is supremely ambitious, but he completely lacks talent. It doesn’t stop him from trying. Jon’s hilariously awful attempt at composing music resulted in a song titled “Lady in the Red Coat.”

As Tom Waits would say, he’s got the sizzle, but not the steak.

You can’t try yourself into being a good songwriter.

While Jon is relentlessly hopeful of creating something great, it’s obvious that his pursuit is hopeless. Jon is searching for inspiration at the beach when people are rescuing a man trying to drown himself. The suicidal man is the keyboardist for The Soronprfbs, who are in town for a performance. By happenstance, Jon ends up with a new job as the band’s keyboardist since he can play C, F, and G. That moment changes Jon’s life forever because he meets Frank, the eccentric lead singer of The Soronprfbs.

Dancing

Although Jon can’t manage to write a song about anything, Frank can write a song about everything. Frank even writes a song about a little tuft of carpet. And it’s fucking fantastic. Michael Fassbender’s voice is also an incredible fit for this freaky, eclectic electric folk music. At times, Fassbender’s voice is emotionally haunting. Fassbender should be applauded for his giant balls to star in this small independent film while wearing an oversized, creepy paper mache head. “Flattered grin followed by a bashful half-smile.”

In terms of the secondary characters, Scoot McNairy is superb in his limited role as Don—the band’s manager and former keyboardist himself. Don fucks mannequins. It’s a fetish of sorts. François Civil isn’t asked to do much, but I enjoyed his role as the band’s guitarist, Baraque. Without speaking a word of English, he manages to induce laughter in a few scenes. François was the best part of As Above, So Below, which was a rather unremarkable and mostly forgettable horror movie from last year.

Maggie Gyllenhaal puts forth the best performance of her career as Clara. Without her to guide Frank and collaborate in the creative process, The Soronprfbs would cease to exist. Don’t mistake Clara as a motherly presence. No, she’s a cold-hearted crazy bitch. Clara will fork-stab you without blinking.

The Soronprfbs

It’s easily the most range I’ve witnessed from Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Along with amazing acting performances, Frank is an in-depth character study that surprisingly touches on thought-provoking themes. What does it take to be an artist? What does it mean to be an artist? Are all artists troubled? You don’t necessarily have to go down a particular path to be a creative genius.

But you do have to accept that not everyone can be a creative genius. We all can’t be Frank.

Currently streaming on Netflix, I hope you will give Frank a chance. I’ve now watched this movie several times and each viewing goes down smooth. Like a nice scotch, it is not for everyone. If you are someone who enjoys Frank, then odds are we would be friends. Except you hipsters with your ironic t-shirts.

Frank proves there is surreal beauty in the wonderfully strange and weird of this world.

“Stale beer. Fat fucked, smoked out. Cowpoked. Sequined mountain ladies. I love your wall. Put your arms around me. Fiddly digits, itchy britches. I love you all.” – Frank

Surprise

4.5 out of 5 stars

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