A movie about a band of hipster eccentrics might sound like an insufferable way to spend 100 minutes, but director Lenny Abrahamson's Frank proves otherwise. His film is nothing but a good time. Well, that's not entirely true, because Frank is also a surprisingly tough drama, thanks in part to Michael Fassbender's performance.
This isn't Frank's film, though. The protagonist is Jon (), an English kid without much talent as a song writer. One day he may get there, but at the moment, he's a far better keyboardist than a writer. When the band "Soronprfbs" -- a name the band can't even pronounce -- comes to his town, they lose their keyboardist, which lands Jon the gig of serving as their third keyboardist. He jumps at the chance for a good time, before realizing how long the journey will take. What makes matters harder for Jon is that the band members are not particularly fond of him. Mostly for good reason; he's incredibly self-involved, but they still give him far too hard of time. The one character that sees goodness in him and everyone else is Frank (Michael Fassbender). He's a warm, kind, and brilliant musician who happens to wear a paper mache head. He never takes it off, either.
What a great head it is too, at least at first glance. For the first few minutes it's strange and funny, until it's just there, where you see Frank and not a man with a paper mache head on. There's so much vulnerability in Fassbender's performance that you stop caring his face is hidden, and the film makes you completely empathize with why that is when his reasoning is explained.
Fassbender makes the character feel even more real than two redundant band members who do not have their faces hidden. He has a bigger part, of course, but it's a testament to Fassbender's performance: he's derived of his face, and yet still gives a performance with the same humanity up there with his best dramatic work.
Frank further confirms there isn't much Fassbender isn't capable of pulling off. He successfully went from playing a horrifying slave owner to a lovable but damaged band leader. He's clearly an actor with no shortage of range. Later this year he'll be returning to playing Magneto in X-Men: Days Of Future Past, and even in a big machine like that production, we likely won't see a lesser performance from Fassbender. He goes all the way, even when he can't show his face.