Fassbender’s Frank

The story of a young musician quite literally in over his head premieres at the 2014 Sydney Film Festival.

Lenny Abrahamson’s new comedy Frank tells the story of Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), a young man with the body of a desk clerk but the mind of a musician. Or so he thinks – Jon has never actually had an original idea. However, when a touring avant-garde punk band arrives in his small town sans keyboardist Jon is given the opportunity to fill in.

He soon discovers though, that he is not the only one suffering from an identity crisis. The mysterious lead singer of the band Frank (Michael Fassbender) hides his face beneath a giant smiling head. Perplexing as it is to Jon, the rest of the band see it as normal. Despite the gig being an utter failure, Jon receives a call back that takes him on a journey across the world.

In what must have been a challenging role, Fassbender is radiant beneath the oversized papier-mâché head. His portrayal of the wide-eyed Frank carries much of the emotional weight particularly as a mentor to Jon. And yet he remains enigmatic. Behind that silly grin lies a rather complex individual.

But the real comedy of Frank comes from the many trials of misplaced Jon. Using Youtube and Twitter, Jon earnestly documents the horrendous experience of living inside this pressure cooker; the lack of nutrition, the insane hours and his daily clashes with the band’s brooding synth player Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal).

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Jon’s civilian presence is an insult to Clara who translates her darkness into a menagerie of sounds. But while it may seem that Jon’s white-bread upbringing is in direct conflict with the rest of these exotic creatures, there may be more that binds them than first expected.

Frank will mean many things to many people. It is a coming-of-age story, a road movie, a music film. But most of all it is about a group of eccentrics trying to collaborate together without killing each other. Ultimately it is about identity, and creativity and how we express our individuality in a world populated by individuals. As Jon discovers being yourself is the first step to becoming who you want to be.

Tuesday 10th June at 7pm or released nationally June 19 at Palace cinemas.

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James is the Founder and Editor of The Versatile Gent.

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