Harland Banks’s review published on Letterboxd:
Frank is a truly unique film that can give you a thrill and an unsettling feeling all at the same time. Yet when it matters most Frank doesn't capitalize on its audience engagement and seems to effortlessly throw a bunch of senseless nothings at the wall hoping that people would love it. Sure, it worked for a lot of people but I've always been one of those people that doesn't get much out of senseless crazy nothingness and to me at the core of this film at it's most important moments this is what I got from the film.
Judging off of that opening you probably assumed I hated it but I did find a lot about this filmed that I liked, not loved but enjoyed enough that I was able to leave the film with a little feeling of satisfaction. I may be a little harsh in that opening but that's because I came in with high expectations and was just kind of let down. This isn't one of those weird, obscure indie films that takes the idea of cinema to another level. Instead, this movie is a wild ride full of a lot of good moments but a lot of stuff that makes no sense.
My biggest problem with this film is that it comes off as artsy and deep but aside from a few small moments that caught my attention the rest of the film was kind of unmemorable or just empty. The film lacks a strong definite message like at times you can tell the film has a lot to say but since it has so much to the say it all gets tangled up into a ball of meaningless thoughts and end up coming out as nothing. I also didn't like the lack of focus on the important side characters, sure Frank and Jon are the most essential characters to the film but it's pretty clear that the other band members and Franks family play a very important role at the heart of this film yet I left the film without any real perspective on them or the overall dynamic between these characters. It left me with a feeling of emptiness when I did try to think more about this film because I feel like we didn't even get close to the full story.
I also don't like how big events happen in this film and they get brushed over. A part of me views this as cynical and I find it hard to get engaged or emotionally connected to a film that runs past such important issues and impactful moments like they meant nothing. At times this movie just comes off as careless. I also thought the pacing of this film was way to slow for the premise and story. I found myself constantly losing interest because it just felt bland and at times they were putting too much into moments that felt unnecessary.
Despite all my issues with this film, I did really enjoy some things. Like the cast was fantastic. Michael Fassbender is incredible in everything he's in but he brings a level of charm and joy that is needed to pull off the insanely unique personality of Frank and I think he plays this role flawlessly. Another actor I was really impressed with was Domnhall Gleeson! Domnhall was a fantastic main character and he brought a lot of heart to the role which definitely made the film more "likeable". The rest of the cast also managed to bring some special to the film and we're perfect for these characters.
At the end of the day, Frank is a weird film that does take you for a wild ride yet at the end of the ride you end up not being very impressed because the film just wasn't very memorable or impressive. The film was definitely intense and the tone was great along with the cast and some of the themes yet most of the themes and ideas of this film get lost in the unnecessary ridiculousness. The lack of focus keeps you out of the film and makes it that much harder to be engaged and interested. The one thing I really did like was how unique the characters felt yet they also felt quite human and genuine, it made the characters more relatable and interesting. Frank is definitely a unique film where a lot happens and it tries to deal with important issues so if your willing to take a risk on this out of whack film then I would recommend it to you because there is some things you can take away from it but if you are looking for something hard-hitting, real and unbelievably fantastic then this isn't the film for you in my opinion!