13 July 2013 4:50 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Robot and Frank; Identity Thief; Red Dawn; Fire in the Night; A Field in England

What a strange little movie is Robot and Frank (2012, EOne, 12). Set in the near future, this gentle, sci-fi-inflected oddity finds Frank Langella playing an ageing cat burglar who becomes the unwilling recipient of a robot butler. Initially scornful of his automated assistant (and depressed by encroaching dementia), Frank warms to the robot's charms when he realises that he can become a partner in crime.

It sounds terrible, like some misjudged hybrid of the all too real pain of Iris and the fantastical comedy of Sleeper. Yet somehow it works, with writer Christopher Ford and director Jake Schreier conjuring an unexpectedly touching and bittersweet tale about the rigours of old age and the peculiar twists of unlikely friendship. Peter Sarsgaard provides the voice of the robot who overturns generic conventions by being both utterly practical and increasingly amiable, »

- Mark Kermode

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