Frank is a comedy centred on the events which follow the introduction of Jon, a keyboardist and song writer, into an avant-garde band called 'Soronprfbs'. The band consists of eccentrics who idolise Frank, the lead vocalist distinguishable by his constant wear of a paper mache head.
The acting and script make this movie one of the stand out indie films to be released so far this year. Michael Fassbender is able to portray the emotions of Frank through the use of his body language throughout the film. He is also able to sing with a tenderness which expresses the love Frank feels for everything in the world.
Maggie Gyllenhal tends to play all her characters as though they have some disdain for mankind and are exceptionally feisty, but in this case these traits suit Clara well. Clara is one of the band members who instantly disliked Jon as she is unable to cope with judgement from outsiders and doesn't want to find an audience for the music they produce, which Jon pursues.
Jon is exceptionally normal; middle class, good relationship with his parents and a full time job. His self-doubt causes him to give up on any music he produces and he is willing to compromise in order for the audience to like his work. However, this very trait combined with a streak of selfishness sets off a series of events which puts the band's future at risk.
The genre of avant garde music is symbolic of the band member's differences to mainstream society. Soronprfbs' music is worthy of a listen in its own right. At first it seems almost as though too many different sounds are combined, but it actually does work to produce a unique and agreeable song. Frank is able to draw inspiration from the smallest things around him such as a lose thread on a rug or the sound of a chicken giving birth. Perhaps the reason Frank is treated almost like the head of a cult by his band members is because they sense that Frank loves them despite the way they would be deemed flawed by everyone else.
A large portion of the film is set in a remote cabin in the mountains, where the band members leave everything behind to delve into any activity that Frank deems to be important for the production of the latest album. This ranges from fighting classes, to learning a new musical notation system, to recording noises in the woods. Seen as a true artist by his fellow band members, the complete immersion into these tasks while almost starving at one point shows the almost cult like dedication they have for Frank.
This film isn't just a comedy, it's about a group of adults who love and protect each other from the pain of rejection by mainstream society. Every few years, independent cinemas screen a film which has unique characters and delivers the tale so the audience doesn't hate the characters but loves them just as Frank would, with all their flaws. Frank is one of those gems worth watching.