05/03/2013

Film Review: Robot & Frank

robot and frankIf you have ever had a chat about films you may have come across the type of person who says, "I don't like sci-fi." And you say, "Well, what about t..." and they cut you off and say, "No, I don't like sci-fi." That's the kind of small minded thinking that started the war.

Well, those people should watch Robot & Frank. It's sci-fi, there's no two ways round it. It's set in the future and half of the title is Robot. But just because a film belongs to the same genre as Battleship doesn't mean it is also a steaming pile of rubbish film.

The film is about Frank, and old man with a failing memory and a family that's too busy to look after him. His son buys him a robot to help him out, and that robot lets him reconnect with the more active days of his past. Oh, and by the way, in the past Frank used to be a burglar.  What a thing to reconnect with.

It's actually a really sweet film, and anything that centres around people who aren't shiny, gym-toned sex icons is a nice change for cinema. Frank Langella is fantastic as Frank, along with Susan Sarandon and James Marsden. Liv Tyler plays Frank's daughter, and I'm sure she does a great job but I can never get past what a hollow, haunting interpretation of death her speaking voice is. I realise that's more of a quirk that I have than a criticism of the film.

There are interesting points in this film about memory; losing it or deleting it. And it uses sci-fi well to give a different take on normal issues. That's exactly the kind of point we were talking about in my interview with Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow. (If you have the time, watch it here.)

A sci-fi with no explosions, no women with three boobs, and yet it's a great watch. Go figure.

[Robot & Frank is released in the UK on March 8th 2013]


Here's the trailer...

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