Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

ROBOT & FRANK (2012)
I like this kind of science fiction story: it's not exactly challenging, but it's got an intimacy of scale. Frank Langella plays Frank, an aging former jewel thief whose mind is slowly deteriorating. He lives alone in a small community. His daughter (Liv Tyler) is working in Turkmenistan in some kind of philanthropic capacity; his son (James Marsden) is busy with being a lawyer and family and relations are strained. Frank's son gets him a domestic robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) to help take care of him, which Frank is resentful about until he realizes that he can use the robot to revive his thieving career. He plans to rob the local library, which is switching to an all-digital format which offends him. It's his way of getting back at the changing times, and also misguidedly trying to impress the librarian he has a crush on (Susan Sarandon). I really liked the smaller scale of the movie and the way it can meditate on themes of aging, memory and friendship without having to pressure itself to be more momentous or action-oriented. I'm always interested in movies that explore the relationship we have with our things, and the personalities we imbue them with. As Frank comes closer and closer to being found out, slipping further and further into his old ways, there are some twists that took me by surprise, including one late one involving a lost memory that really broke my heart. Frank Langella holds this all together with a masterful, deceptively casual performance. ***1/2

4 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

I had forgotten about this movie. My take, which is mostly positive.

SamuraiFrog said...

We seem to have felt more or less the same way. It's the kind of thing my Grandma used to call a "nice movie," which wasn't offensive (or challenging) but nice to watch. I don't like that description, though, because it makes it sound like the movie is deficient in ways it really isn't. But it's a nice movie.

Roger Owen Green said...

In some ways, I think the movie WAS challenging. And as a librarian, it resonated at a special level, I suppose.

SamuraiFrog said...

I was glad to see you'd seen it; as I was watching it I was wondering, as a librarian, how it resonated with you.