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Jon, a young wanna-be musician, discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank.

Director:

Lenny Abrahamson
Reviews
Popularity
4,400 ( 23)
13 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Domhnall Gleeson ... Jon Burroughs
Moira Brooker ... Jon's Mother
Paul Butterworth ... Jon's Father
Phil Kingston ... Radio DJ
Billie Traynor Billie Traynor ... Cafe Lady
Shane O'Brien Shane O'Brien ... Lucas
Scoot McNairy ... Don
Maggie Gyllenhaal ... Clara
François Civil ... Baraque
Carla Azar ... Nana
Chris McHallem Chris McHallem ... Paramedic
Michael Fassbender ... Frank
Michael James Ford Michael James Ford ... Port Official
Mark Huberman ... Management Guru
Rosalind Adler Rosalind Adler ... German Mother
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Storyline

Jon, a young wanna-be musician, discovers he's bitten off more than he can chew when he joins an eccentric pop band led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When you think you've gone far enough, go farther. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site

Country:

UK | Ireland

Language:

English | French | German

Release Date:

5 September 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frenk See more »

Filming Locations:

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$341,649 (United Kingdom), 11 May 2014, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$16,056, 17 August 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$644,906, 5 December 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene in which Frank chases Jon whilst trying to hit him with a shovel and yelling "It'll be worth it!" was improvised by Michael Fassbender. Frank was actually just supposed to be running around, not involving Jon in any way. See more »

Goofs

During the rehearsal at Vetno, the song prominently features the sound of an electric guitar, yet nobody is playing one. See more »

Quotes

Frank: Saddle up / Secure the galactic perimeters / Weak and strong, nuclear bombs / Now what's together / Will soon come apart / When it's all over / No back to the start
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Crazy Credits

The credits roll with colored tiles floating and rotating in the background. At one point for a second, the tiles form Frank's head. See more »


Soundtracks

On Top of Old Smokey
Vocals by Maggie Gyllenhaal
Performed by The Soronprfbs
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
An odd film guided by pure truths, "Frank" is worth the weirdness
3 January 2017 | by Movie_Muse_ReviewsSee all my reviews

"Frank" explores the fine and not-so-fine line between creative genius and insanity. Although you might assume a movie about an alternative rock band with a lead singer who wears a giant fake head that he never takes off would be a work of fiction, the truth, as they say, is stranger, and provides a compelling basis for a movie.

"Frank" is co-written by Jon Ronson based on his experience playing keyboard in the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band in the late '80s. Frank Sidebottom was the alter ego of a man named Chris Sievey, who wore a giant fake head almost identical to the one Frank (Michael Fassbender) wears in the movie. Ronson based the film's main character, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) on himself; both real and fictional Jon found themselves randomly in this band, ditching their existing lives in pursuit of musical greatness, trying to make sense of the enigma of the man in the giant head.

With screenwriter Peter Straughan's ("Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy") help, Ronson dives into a fictional replication of his experience with the band. Gleeson's Jon is an aspiring songwriter completely lacking in inspiration who gets an unusual opportunity to play a gig for an experimental band called Soronprfbs after he witnesses their keyboardist attempting to drown himself. Jon has the time of his life and agrees to travel to Ireland with the group, only to discover it's not a road trip to play a few shows, but a retreat at which the unorthodox Frank will stop at nothing until he's recorded an astounding new album.

For all the mystery shrouding his character, Frank is far from the most eccentric band member. In fact, he's the most congenial. We also learn about the other keyboardist, Don's (Scoot McNairy), volatile history with mental illness and musician Clara's (Maggie Gyllenhaal) propensity for violence. Unsurprisingly, Jon's gleaning from it all is that deep adversity and mental anguish is a pre- requisite to talent.

Director Lenny Abrahamson brings a natural yet surreal quality that honors the weirdness of the story, while also helping us access the psychology of the characters and take interest in what's happening in a very rooted way. He keeps the reality of what's going on with its characters in play while experimenting with a number of scenes that push the bizarreness to varying levels. There are elements of black comedy, but also of honest, soul-stirring truth.

The first half of "Frank" focuses more on the creative process and the mental headspace necessary to operate at peak creativity. When Jon signs them up for a very promising gig and begins pushing his own creative agenda, forcing the story to leave the confines of the Ireland vacation home, the film turns to examine the real pain of its characters and what happens to creativity when complications of fandom and notoriety enter the mix.

Throughout it all we see a gradual change in Jon as a character, and he becomes less likable because of all that his dreams and naiveté have wrought. This has a slightly adverse effect on the viewing experience, making it kind of painful to watch all these troubled characters with their misguided attitudes drown themselves in a sea of expectations and principles. At the same time, this leads to an honest, moving redemptive arc in the final half hour of the movie, when this bizarre flower of a story opens up to reveal its fragile insides.

"Frank" can feel rough and disjointed tonally at points and grow a little irksome, but much like how a band with a weird sound still has artistic integrity somewhere underneath that drives that creative choice, "Frank" stays committed to looking at talent, creativity and mental illness in a very authentic, productive way that makes it worth the quirks.

~Steven C

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