Movie review: Faceless Fassbender gives oddball ‘Frank’ its edge

First Published Aug 28 2014 04:59PM      Last Updated Aug 28 2014 04:59 pm

Veering from offbeat to just plain odd, the comedy-drama "Frank" is an engaging but sometimes unsettling tale of music and madness.

Wannabe musician Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) is offered a spot in a band of avant-garde musicians — led by Frank ("X-Men’s" Michael Fassbender), a reclusive genius who wears a giant papier-mâché head at all times. Holed up for months in an Irish cabin, Frank drives his band to ridiculous extremes before recording their first album, as Jon and Frank’s longtime collaborator Clara (Maggie Gyllenhaal) clash over who has more influence over Frank’s career.

Director Lenny Abrahamson, working off a script by author/journalist Jon Ronson (who based the story on his own experiences with British performer Chris Sievey, a k a Frank Sidebottom) and Peter Straughan, dances on the line between quirky and annoying in depicting Frank’s strange behavior and everyone’s reactions to it.

Fassbender, his beautiful face hidden from view, gives a nuanced performance, relying on voice and body movement to convey Frank’s mercurial moods.

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Opens Friday, Aug. 22, at the Tower Theatre; rated R for language and some sexual content; 95 minutes.