Domhall Gleeson is an aspiring musician who chances his way into a psychedelic pop group headed by a charismatic and extremely odd papier mache head wearing Michael Fassbender. He soon finds out that he has maybe bitten off more than he can chew and it all goes a bit wrong.
It’s actually very hard to put a genre on this film, it’s not quite overtly comic enough to be a full comedy, too comic to be a drama, and it’s not a biopic at all, with the character of Frank in this, while being based on Frank Sidebottom not following the story of him at all. In fact the story echoes more of Captain Beefheart and the recording of Trout Mask Replica. However that doesn’t stop Frank being a completely engrossing and coherent story.
At the heart of this movie are the performances. Michael Fassbender is absolutely incredible as Frank the deranged musical genius behind the fake head, with his insane lyrical choices and even odder recording techniques. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Domhall Gleeson are other strong performances, with Domhall keeping the film in the real world really and Maggie Gyllenhaal playing the crazy conflicted musician lady fantastically.
Always a difficult thing to get right in films about essentially a made up band, is making the songs good. And in Frank that could even be the greatest success they have, I found really the overriding emotion I encountered during watching this was wanting to go and make some psychedelic rock songs in a cabin in Ireland.
Overall, this was a fantastic quirky british music film, with terrific performances and music. One of the must-watch films from 2014.