If you’re elderly, or may one day become elderly, then ‘Robot And Frank’ is for You!
Set in the near future, a short-term cure for people suffering from dementia has been found in the form of robots. Frank Langella plays a guy fittingly named Frank, with a last name we can only hope is Langella. He plays a thief who was forced to retire because of Watergate – wait, wrong movie! I mean, dementia. This is a role Langella was born to play (second only to his turn as Skeletor in Masters of the Universe). As good an actor as he is, he tends to choose roles in which he is ill-suited. He never much seemed like Richard Nixon (Frost/Nixon), or a Wall Street fat-cat (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps), because his demeanor is likeable and non-threatening. Finally, this particular role seems the perfect fit for him in Robot and Frank, which is about an old man slowly losing his memory.
James Marsden has overcome his forgettable performance as Cyclops (X-Men), and continues his rise to prominence. He has found a way to be likeable even when not playing likeable characters. Marsden plays Frank’s son who is tired of helping his father with his illness, especially since it takes away from the time Marsden can spend with his own children. The natural solution is to get the man a helper. This is where the best element of the movie comes into play and allows the title of the film to be truly realized. Frank gets his very own Robot (voiced by Peter Saarsgard), whose main objective is to keep Frank healthy. Of course, like any person, especially an elderly one, Frank rejects his new servant. But over time, they become good friends. Just seeing the robot and Frank interact in different situations is enough of a good idea to have a pretty good film… but this isn’t your regular robot film, especially since the robots aren’t trying to take over humanity.
The robot also helps Frank get back to his old ways as a thief, which helps the movie add a little pace and create a little tension. At one point, the Sheriff in town asks Frank if he would help him solve a burglary — a burglary that he doesn’t realize Frank himself was the culprit. This was a funny, ironic twist, and if it were a television show, Frank would have accepted the offer and the robot and Frank would become Tony Shaloub in a Monk type of show where they solve crimes that they committed. The show would be called Franklin & Brass.
I don’t want to give anymore spoilers for this film, because it should be seen. So if it’s in a town near you, check it out. Even if you aren’t a science fiction buff, I highly recommend this film for its creative story and its fresh take on a topic that needed a new hard drive.