Ben Oliver

Banner image for Frank


Miserable childhood. Mental illness. Where do I find that kind of inspiration?
20 February 2021

A talentless musician (Domhnall Gleeson) joins an off-beat band fronted by the enigmatic Frank (Michael Fassbender), a singer who refuses to remove his giant cartoon head.

This is a weird but largely effective take on artistry, musicianship and obsession. Starts very strong with the band spending a whole year trying to record an album in Ireland, then falters a bit in the USA before crash landing with a ham-fisted final third.

Gleeson’s mumbling shtick irritates, but sort of makes sense since he also irritates the rest of the band. Everyone else is great; Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy stand out as the well-cast band members trying to push their musical boundaries, manage mental illness and consider possible commercial appeal.

Despite its jarring shift in tone, Frank is charming and funny enough to get a big papier mache ‘thumbs up’ from me.