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Being Frank

Friday 25 April 2014, 16:48

Mark Kermode Mark Kermode

There’s an extraordinary new film out based on the cult character Frank Sidebottom. Here’s my first reaction to it.

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    Comment number 1.

    My first thought would be a comparison with the Serge Gainsbourg biopic: Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life. But should be a rather interesting watch.

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    Comment number 2.

    I have seen this trailer endlessly for the last few weeks and at the end it says "directed by Lenny Abrahamson" and i kept thinking where i knew that name from?. Then it hit me he was the director of 'What Richard Did' which couldn't more different from 'Frank', although having just learnt it's a biopic, this could be slightly more conventional than the trailer makes out. Plus it appears that this movie is going to get a pretty wide distribution, so at least we won't all have to wait for the DVD.

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    Comment number 3.

    I was hoping your word would be 'brilliant!'. As it isn't, I'm guessing it misses the mark (no pun intended). Plus the trailer clips don't make me smile. Could your predilection for this genre of music be affecting your judgement these days? You did go overboard on that Undertones film...

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    Comment number 4.

    Likewise, was hoping your one word was going to be a good one - but it's pretty clear this film has little to do with the real Frank Sidebottom story. Shame really. As a gentleman of a certain age, it would have been great to see a hero of my youth, albeit belatedly, reach a larger audience. Maybe it might encourage a few to discover a real original one-off.

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    Comment number 5.

    Whilst I was admittedly still a child in the 80's, Frank Sidebottom is an image I will never quite forget; maybe it was the enormous comical head that made it somewhat appealing, or later in the 90's when I could more fundamentally grasp the idea that this was a creation which straddled the fine line between absurd comedic genius and genuine fame-hungry wannabe. I remember someone once said that Frank Sidebottom could in the same night have the same audience singing and chanting along, as well as booing and heckling. Frank Sidebottom is, and probably always was meant to be, a complex persona; both someone to aspire to, and be genuinely terrified of.

    I know the movie has nothing to do with any of that though; a sad thought, but hardly a surprise. I'm at least hoping for a wilfully weird romp; something that's not afraid of being both high-brow satire whilst stooping down to the sublimely ridiculous. The reviews I've seen so far have all had their criticisms of the film, so I know I'm not going to get perfection.

    But they've more often than not been rather positive overall; so perhaps "Blimey!" isn't the doom and gloom we're expecting; that said, Dr. K, as someone who was 'there', perhaps you'll have a far better insight into it than I...


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Outspoken, opinionated and never lost for words, Mark is the UK's leading film critic.

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