Journalist Jon Ronson’s memories of 1980s musician Chris Sievey’s comic persona complete with large papier-mache head, Frank Sidebottom, was the inspiration for ‘Frank’, a musical comedy that is, to be frank, too self-consciously bonkers for its own good.
Ronson’s script, co-written by Peter Straughan, dramatises the efforts of a group of misfits to record an album.
Michael Fassbender spends almost the entire film encased within a giant fibreglass noggin, concealing his emotions from us as well as the other cast.
The unlikely narrator though is Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), a musically challenged, socially awkward young man.
There are undeniable moments of fiery brilliance in Lenny Abrahamson’s film including a sexually charged encounter in a hot tub.
But these cannot compensate for the lunacy that ‘Frank’ wears like a badge of honour. Every member of the band is dysfunctional to the point that we struggle to relate to them. Gyllenhaal sinks her pearly whites into her role with gusto but Gleeson’s delusions of musical grandeur wear thin.