Jon (Gleeson) is a talented but hopelessly uninspired musician living with his parents, which is a situation that lacks the dysfunction, he believes, will inspire his inner genius. When ‘Soronpfbr’ ask him to replace their suicidal keyboard player in a chance meeting on the beach he jumps at the chance. Finding the band to be the most dysfunctional group of people in history, the gig ends before the completion of the first song, Jon feels he has found his true home. That lead singer Frank (Fassbender) happens to be wearing a giant papier-mâché-head doesn’t faze him and he accepts an invitation to join them in recording their new album. Entering into the creative process with Frank is a trip, but it may just be what Jon needs to open his creative mind or at the very least jump on the ride of a lifetime.
The journey the band share is at parts hilarious, with particular emphasis on the relationship between Jon and Clara (Gyllenhaal) as they fight for Frank’s attention and praise. There are moments of truly inspired comedy gold with the acidic Clara fighting to quell Jon’s creative spirit and influence on Frank. Fassbender is superb throughout the entire performance and he brings real emotion and feeling to the faceless Frank.
That everyone wants to be loved in some sense is at the heart of everything that happens to the band, but they also delve into the falseness of Internet fame and deal very delicately with the mental health issues that are bubbling under the surface throughout. When the darker elements do surface in the latter stages of the story you will be so invested in the characters that you won’t even notice the jokes are over, you’ll just be hoping that Frank and co. are okay.
In all honesty this will test some people as it descends into utter madness in parts, but those that can engage with the characters and their story will fall in love with it.
Abrahamson has created something truly special as the utterly brilliant Michael Fassbender brings Frank to life for the audience’s amusement and wonderment. Full of energy, wit and heart, Frank is an absolute must.