FILM: Robot & Frank
It’s not common to come across a film that is both truly original and really well done, especially from a freshman direct, but Jake Schreier’s Robot & Frank is that notable film which succeeds in telling a great story and pushing the envelope. The film tells of a retired cat burglar played by Frank Langella in the near distant future, who’s given a robot to look after him as he deals with his increasing memory loss in a changing world. It features a stellar cast including Liv Tyler, James Marsden, and Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon.
Traditionally, science-fiction films included tons of flashing lights and really unbelievable technology, but what’s really incredible about this film is that the technology is not that far off, at least in Japan. Beyond the technological elements, the film is moving and examines the value of memory, family, and the fragility of life in a really interesting way. The performances are incredible, especially from Langella, and the writing by newcomer Christopher D. Ford is terrific, balancing humor with weightier issues in a style reminiscent of Arthur C Clarke.
It’s really a film worth seeing for the ingenuity alone. Fortunately, like so many other great sci-fi works, the technology teaches us something about what it is to be human and it manages to do it in a genuine way.
Robot & Frank is in theaters nationwide August 17th.