I made the mistake of writing-off Frank when I first heard of it: an A-list actor (Michael Fassbender) wearing a fake head for the entirety of a comedy film? Sounded like a gimmick. Well, looks can be deceiving, though some of the blame should be placed on the filmmakers.
That’s because this film is actually about Jon, a young musician who dreams of hitting it big as a famous composer. In a fashion befitting a Spinal Tap drummer, Jon is inducted into Frank’s band as a replacement keyboard player.
The forced union of Jon and Frank’s band “Soronprfbs” isn’t pretty. Almost everyone but Frank is unconditionally hostile towards Jon from the start, and you don’t know why until you watch the film for a second time: they knew.
I didn’t share in Jon’s fixation with who Frank is under the mask, simply because I know what Fassbender looks like. What I did buy into was Frank’s musical genius, which seemed credible and effortless (it helps that Fassbender can sing); especially in contrast to Jon, who is simply dreadful and should be charged with murdering music (if that were possible).
The band’s journey will devolve into a sort of cautionary tale reminiscent of a VH-1 re-enactment, but the trainwreck is redeemed by how deftly the film addresses Frank’s origins. The film’s closing number is also fantastic.
Frank is available on iTunes and Pay-Per-View.