‘Frank’ tackles the art-house genre head-on

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When awesome Canadian band Arcade Fire took to the stage at this year’s Big Day Out, each member wore a giant head made of papier mache, at least eight times the size of their actual noggins. The look on stage was surreal, to say the least. Big-headed musicians making an even bigger-headed statement, so to speak.

Watching offbeat comedy flick ‘Frank’, I got that exact same feeling of the sensational and the surreal – namely because it’s titular character goes about the entire film wearing a massive papier mache head and carrying an ego just as big.

‘Frank’ is inspired by the story of celebrated ’70s and ’80s musician Chris Sievey, a.k.a. Frank Sidebottom, who became famous for wearing a huge fake head whenever he played live. He fronted a band called The Freshies, and even went on to host his own television show called ‘Frank Sidebottom’s Proper Telly Show In Black-And-White’. So of course the dude deserves his own biopic!

The film actually draws on the experiences of journalist Jon Ronson, he who wrote ‘The Men Who Stare At Goats’, and who briefly played keyboards for Sidebottom in the late ’80s.

Much of the dialogue, as quirky and modern as it comes across, is indeed from those days, pre-YouTube and Twitter. That said, Frank and company were way ahead of their time so far as rock antics and cool lingo go.

Starring Michael Fassbender as Frank, Domnhall Gleeson as Jon the journo/ muso, and the wonderful Maggie Gyllenhaal as the bitchiest member of the band, this is like ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ meets ‘The Muppets’ – but twice as twisted as either.

Some of the one-liners are sure to be bandied about by ironic folk looking for a laff (Frank: “Would it help if I said my facial expressions out loud?”) and the film itself is destined to become an instant cult classic.

Like ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, with all its quirky characters and over-the-top aesthetics, ‘Frank’ is sure to leap from the margins of indie cinema into the mosh-pit of mainstream appeal.

See it. Laugh lots.

 

‘Frank’ is in Luna / Palace / Nova Cinemas from June 19.

Click on the still below to view the trailer.