Robot & Frank (2012) – 4/5

Funny, unexpectedly suspenseful film that’s not nearly as cheesy or melodramatic as it could have been, or as the trailers for it would lead you to believe. The robot/human relationship isn’t even the main “thrust” of the film really, which is one the reasons it all works so well. There’s also the humor, which manages to be just shy of extremely goofy at times despite the film’s pretty grounded realism. Somehow, though, it works. Don’t ask me how. Good directing, maybe. And strong acting. And, yes, good writing. The whole package.

The film is ultimately a great mash-up of two seemingly incompatible subjects: elderly care and thievery. It all works somehow, and really well, though, again, not sure how exactly. The film is never dull; it’s even downright exciting at times. And Frank Langella gives a very good performance as the old criminal losing his memory and having to deal with this new element in his life that he doesn’t quite trust. There’s a toughness there, a certain world-weariness right behind the eyes, that reminded me a bit of Mickey Rourke. And man did this make me want to get a robot. Get to it, Science. These things can’t be willed into existence fast enough.

So, yeah, good film: very enjoyable, entertaining, well shot, acted, written. And funny. And it wasn’t all that melodramatic. I even enjoyed the sort of twist at the end of the second act. Didn’t see that coming at all. Liv Tyler is the only weak link in the film, but eh, she’s not in it that much. And Susan Sarandon is actually quite pretty here. Who’d a thunk it?

Go see it!



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