By Darin Skaggs
Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank at first glance seems like a gimmick film. For the character of Frank, his whole life is a gimmick. He is a musician and every hour of every day he wears a giant fake head. Why he does this, no one really knows, probably to attract an audience. He is kind of an artistic hero to those around him, he is looked up to by his entire band, some throw themselves into the ocean because they do not think they will ever amount to Frank’s greatness. The film starts out as that and becomes a look at what it takes to be you and also be okay with that fact.
Frank is not all about Frank (Michael Fassbender), despite the description. It is all about Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) an aspiring musician who happens upon a man attempting to throw himself into the sea. This man belongs to a band which includes Frank’s may be girlfriend Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) that, with a humorous conversation, takes Jon in as a substitute keyboardist. When he gets there the band begins to play. Frank is there shouting odd lyrics, this is no run of the mill band. After about maybe five minutes on stage the band breaks out in a fight, they chuck items at each other, screaming is involved and eventually only Frank and Jon are left on stage. And just to add insult to injury the bar they are performing at doesn’t even really care. Jon is called back to the group to go out in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and record their album where things get even weirder and at times darker.
Frank is such an odd figure; everyone looks up to him, even Jon. He sings strange lyrics that make no sense, the music him and his band creates would be out of place for casual listeners. In an involuntary way everyone looks up to Frank as almost a God type figure. They think he can do no wrong in their eyes, some slowly convince themselves that they will never amount to anything close to what Frank can do which drives them to their self-inflicting doom. Jon, more interested in becoming a famous rock band, tries to help the group to create more commercial music and play pleasing tunes. This makes the cracks in the band begin to show and everyone slowly falls apart. We find out Frank may not be all that he seems and may be just as insecure, if not more, than the group. The film says maybe being you is the best option. Frank hides under his fake head and plays it off that he is the big head. He feels comfortable hiding, but it won’t amount to anything in this world if he never comes out and shows his true self. The finale is one of the most beautiful of the year complete with the fantastic song “I Love You All”.
Frank takes a look at finding who you are and what that means to accomplishing your hopes and dreams. The characters go through arcs that are emotionally satisfying. You feel the characters could go on to better accomplishments after the film is done.