Comedy 96 August 15, 2014
In his first gig with Soronprfbs -- the unpronounceable name is the first clue that Frank has no aspirations of radio airtime -- Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) shows up in a hoodie and T-shirt -- and he's instantly outclassed by the band: two French snobs (Carla Azar and François Civil), a theramin-pounding banshee (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and Frank (Michael Fassbender), the Easter Island god of the stage, who has paired his giant head with a scuba suit. Frank never takes off the head. Explains manager (Scoot McNairy), "You're just going to have to go with this." And so we do.
Director Lenny Abrahamson frames the film as a millennial myth, sealing the band away in a remote cabin in Ireland to record its first album, which sounds like whale noises, acid freak-outs, and the B-52s. Frank walks tall -- all Fassbender has to act with is his spine. Like Jon, we're torn between wanting to share his gifts with the world and the looming fear that the world has become so cynical that it will write him off as a joke.