If you want to test your appetite for the peculiar, consider seeing "Frank." Words like offbeat and quirky don't do it justice. The loony solar system of characters includes the title character, whose head remains hidden under a big-eyed, papier mache globe (think the Jack in the Box head from TV commercials), and an escaping band member whose brief appearance involves being rescued from the ocean and carted off by the authorities.
Frank is the leader of a band called Soronprfbs. It consists of the least energized drummer in the history of drummers, a base player with little to say besides dissing their music in French, and of course the theremin player (Maggie Gylenhaal of “The Dark Knight”). The theremin player swings in mood from unrequited disdain to minor violence. The film is more about the keyboardist, Jon (Domhnall Gleeson of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”), than Frank’s sun-like hold on his orbiting band members.
The film opens with Jon attempting to compose a song. He’s a bad songwriter who slips into joining this band that makes bad music and works hard to perfect it. The music is bad as in bad, not bad as in good, although one might (might) consider their performance art to be a kind of kitschy kitschy cool that’s ripe for the social media era. Twittering toward some twist in the fame continuum, the keyboardist encourages Frank to consider playing stuff that’s more “likeable.”
You may ask yourself a few times along the way whether you want to spend time with these characters, but Jon, the least loony of them, is disarmingly sympathetic. From the opening scene and renewed throughout, there’s enough to keep you curious and to coax relatability.
“Frank” is hardly an automatic film to recommend, but it has a confidence about it. It’s a strangely modest set of people in a modestly extreme film setting. Consider making a peculiar trip to the movies.