29 décembre 2015

"Cheese and Ham Panini #LivingTheDream": A Look at Frank

Leonard Abrahamson's Frank illustrates the mundane realities to which much of fringe artistry is condemned, channeling the often unfocused creative tendencies of a nearly incomprehensible rock band in its exploration of their months of recording sessions—locked away in a remote home within an unending forest—and of their adverse journey from Ireland to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest music festival.

Indeed, Frank is a notation of the repercussions of seemingly unresolvable rifts among differing powerful creative forces when forced together for too long.
Beginning the film, we meet Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), the protagonist, an aspiring singer-songwriter, as he discovers a band called the Soronprfbs, led by Frank Sidebottom (Michael Fassbender), a fictitious representation of the 1980s British rock star, Chris Sievey. Upon confirming to Frank his minimal knowledge of piano, Jon embarks on an odyssey of albatross, in which he joins and finances the band, failing to both blend into the group's culture and divorce his own desires from those of the band.

In the midst of chaptering the story with terse tweets, Jon attracts a sufficient following to merit the attention of those at SXSW and, to the other members' dismay, declares the end of their tenure in the trees by scheduling their next performance in what could be the grand capital of fringe musicianship.

Thus, the Soronprfbs must reconcile their overwhelming desires to create art solely for themselves and the wishes of Jon, their financier, and Frank, their director, to spread their music beyond the corners of their group's hidden residence. The result: spontaneous violence within the group, emotional eruptions, and dissatisfaction from all with the group, its music, and its direction.

Additionally, coursing through this story is Frank's psychological development and retrogression, mirrored in the physical state of his mask, and in his eventual discontinued necessity to block his face from sight any further.

Frank is a story of passion, interpersonal understanding, and self-awareness, appreciable to all, even if its music holds otherwise.

Frank (Michael Fassbender) raises his hand in an oath at the band's forest home.
Image Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

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