Oxymoronic fictionalized biopic…
So Frank Sidebottom was the alter ego of Manchester based singer and comedian Chris Sievey. Jon Ronson is a famed journalist and author (The Psycopath Test, The Men Who Stare at Goats) who once played keyboard for Frank’s band in his youth. Frank is loosely based on the book that Ronson wrote about this experience except it isn’t… Confused yet? So was I. The best way to enjoy Frank is to kind of forget the back story and origin and take it a fictionalized stand alone film.
Frank tells the story of a band so avant garde they can’t bear to record any music, led by a brilliant but erratic singer, who wears a huge papier mache head over his own. A young keyboard player is accidentally swept along for the ride and so ensues a beautiful and truly original film that can hold its head up high alongside Submarine as one of the best and most touching movies to come out of the UK in the last ten years.
Michael Fassbender throws himself into the role of Frank with gusto and somehow brings emotion and humour to a massive lifeless head as well showing a sense of physical comic timing previously absent from his work. Supporting Fassbender, are protagonist Domhnall Gleeson (Black Mirror) and a brilliant Maggie Gyllenhaal as Frank’s band members in the brilliantly named Soronprfbs.
While all the acting is top notch, it is the snappy script that should take home the plaudits as well as the stunning scenery and excellent pacing that leaves you wanting more as the credits roll.
Frank is one of the oddest films I can remember to hit mainstream cinema in recent times but it never feels disjointed or too surreal and the soundtrack is great which always helps.
A really satisfying piece of work, to be Frank.