Yup, that’s Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender beneath the papier mâché head. And he’s amazing.
FRANK directed by Lenny Abrahamson, written by Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan, with Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy and Michael Fassbender. A VSC release. 95 minutes. Opens Friday (August 15). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNN
In the late 80s, the journalist Jon Ronson played keyboards for the novelty musician who called himself Frank Sidebottom. Sidebottom wore a giant papier mâché head; his band did not.
Ronson's experience is the jumping-off point for the totally fictional Frank, about a lost young man named Jon (About Time's Domhnall Gleeson) drawn into the world of the enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender - yes, really). Joining the band, Jon finds himself recording an album in a remote Irish cabin and eventually going to perform at SXSW.
The movie takes a central theme of Ronson's work - our fascination with the unknowable - and runs with it. Director Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did) uses that giant head as a sort of emotional mirror, letting Frank's collaborators project whatever they want onto his unblinking, placid gaze.
Even disguised, Fassbender is amazing, often revealing Frank's emotional extremes through body language alone. It's really something. And the music is awfully catchy.