Friday, 6 February 2015

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2014: Michael Fassbender in Frank

Michael Fassbender did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying the titular character of Frank.

Frank is an enjoyable film about a very off-beat pop band.

Although Michael Fassbender plays the titular character the lead of the film is actually Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) the sane newcomer who by chance becomes a member of the very bizarre group of musicians. The leader of the band being a man who never takes off the papier-mâché head he wears. Michael Fassbender must give a performance a la Claude Rains in The Invisible Man in that it's a step above a vocal performance as they are allowed to physically portray the character as well even though they cannot use their face. In terms of his voice Fassbender's has a great voice for a character like this since there is something distinct and unusual about his voice. Fassbender's style of vocalization is rather interesting in that he does keep it a bit of a mystery whether Frank's weirdness is just something that's delightfully eccentric, or rather that he is a seriously disturbed individual.

Fassbender is certainly enjoyable in the role particularly when Frank states his facial expressions and brings a certain warmth as he at least states his interest in Jon's music with his "welcoming smile". Frank though is an enigma though as one can never even be sure of that support exactly since you don't know about his face. The best help comes from the physical expressions which Fassbender handles rather well. In the moments of comforting Jon Fassbender has a strong extroversion about Frank's movements. Again though the possible insanity though are in technically what Fassbender is more well known for is the extreme intensity where there seems to be some possible violent tensions within Frank. His most entertaining physical manner though is when he is performing as Fassbender plays these scenes as an over the top showman as every movement is a bit of a broad gesture.

Although Frank and his band seem to be getting off well enough, well aside from a few setbacks like a suicide, but things turn for a worse when Jon kinda takes over leading them to a concert where they may be very poorly received. Frank starts to break down and Fassbender is effective in portraying Frank's physical manner becoming far more introverted, as though he is hiding in himself all the more, and even the way he speaks becomes far more modest. The film does choose to give the mystery away about Frank, which is that he is merely mentally disturbed which in no way fueled his ability as a musician. It goes even so far to reveal Frank's face so we do finally see Fassbender in the film. His scenes without the face are brief, and Fassbender is fairly straight forward in simply depicting Frank as a deeply troubled man nothing more. Fassbender is affecting in his final scene where Frank finally reconnects with the Band showing that Frank simply never was what Jon saw him as. I must admit on re-watch I found Scoot McNairy's brief performance and Domhnall Gleeson's leading work more noteworthy. This is still fine work from Michael Fassbender, and an example of a good performance that barely makes use of the most expressive part of the human body.

65 comments:

Psifonian said...

I actually preferred Gleeson in this film as well. Fassbender does well with what he's given and it's a nice bit of physicality from an actor that I generally feel is overpraised for his "rawness" despite never sticking the landing.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Well fuck. There goes my predictions. I'll say this: I would have given him a 4.5. Plus I don't really get what everyone saw in McNairy.

RatedRStar said...

I have to say I respectfully disagree that Fassbender is overpraised for his raw nature I think there isn't enough of a raw nature from actors today, I mean his performance in Shame was completely raw and it was amazing. There are so many actors I would call overpraised in some way, Fassbender is not one of them.

Also what was everyones number 8 on their top ten films of 2014? mines was..drum roll......

TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

@RatedRStar: My number 8 was Birdman.

Michael McCarthy said...

Ahhh should've gone with my own choices for the predictions...I had some slight problems with this performance but I totally agree with the rating.

What's your new rating and thoughts for McNairy? I've always said he was the best of the cast, I thought all of his panicked reactions were hilarious and his heart-to-heart with Gleeson was surprisingly moving. Also his delivery of "I used to fuck mannequins" was perfect, oddly casual but with just a very small hint of shame.

Daniel: Whiplash

Psifonian said...

"Shame" could've been a great performance (indeed, my first viewing of it had me convinced it was), but the rewatch showed all the stitching and it was coming undone fast. Fassbender is much better when he's playing cooler, more austere characters; his David in "Prometheus" is his finest performance, encapsulating all of his strengths into one performance. It's funny that he emulates Peter O'Toole in that; I feel he's closer to O'Toole in style and presence than he is, say, a British Marlon Brando. Intensity and physicality aren't his strong suit.

Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Hardy, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Foster... these are the ones who can make their intensity seem more than just posturing. But with Fassbender, I find him to be a fascinating but often misguided actor. He can't do an American accent to save his life and I feel that his "raw" performances are far too glacial and shallow. It reminds me of DiCaprio playing those uber-serious, intense roles that never quite fit his milieu. The ambition is there but it doesn't quite come together in the end. With "Shame," there was great promise, but I felt (in the end) it was in service of nothing. It's kind of how I feel about Eddie Redmayne this year: there's great potential but it doesn't pan out because the material is garbage and he can't turn crap into gold just because he's giving 110%.

luke higham said...

RatedRStar: Frank

Louis Morgan said...

Michael: 4 for McNairy and he made up for whatever he was trying to do in The Rover.

RatedRStar:

#8: John Wick

Anonymous said...

I would have give him a 4.5 and I thought his performance was miles better than Gleeson's and McNairy's (I though the first was very good, the second was good but really he didn't do all that much). He's really the only thing that I felt was really great about Frank. Also, Fassbender is not at all an overpraised actor, I think he's an extremely versatile performer who can play wonderfully very different kind of roles, he has a terrific screen presence that can easily dominate the screen and he adds depth and layers to his characters even when the screenplay does not. He's one of the best actor working these days and in my opinion one of the best period. He was amazing in Shame, Hunger, 12 Years a Slave, Prometheus, Inglorious Basterds and Frank and he should have received many more nominations than he did.

luke higham said...

Louis: Your Ratings & Thoughts on the cast of John Wick.

RatedRStar said...

I honestly thought Fassbender in Prometheus was good, but I thought the film was terrible lol.

RatedRStar said...

@Psifonian: I would love to get your thoughts on numerous actors lol cause your taste is so unpredictable, I mean Fassbender in Prometheus as his best =D.

Psifonian said...

RatedRStar, you don't know the half of it. For instance, Paul Dano in "12 Years a Slave" >>>>> Michael Fassbender in the same film.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

I like Fassbender well enough but I don't know, he doesn't ever 'wow' me. This film didn't do much for me, but then again these sorts never really do.

I'm bored so I wonder whether anyone else is interested in sharing any of their new retroactive casting choices for films?:

Inherent Vice (1970s version)
Doc: Peter Falk
Bigfoot: Gene Hackman
Shasta: Diane Keaton
Dr Rudy: Gene Wilder

The Rover (1950s version)
Eric: Lee J. Cobb
Reynolds: Sal Mineo

Anonymous said...

@Psifonian: I really respect your opinion a lot, but really Fassbender's visceral, haunting and disturbing was worse than Dano's fine but not too remarkable work? Oh well, to each is own. And I also really disagree about his performance in Shame, amazing work and not at all shallow (I've really never seen a shallow performance from him). But of course everyone has different opinions.

Louis Morgan said...

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar: Sure I'll bite.

Nightcrawler (1970's)

Lou: Dennis Hopper
Nina: Patricia Neal
Rick: Brad Dourif

Gone Girl (1980's)

Nick: John Travolta
Amy: Holly Hunter
Margo: Meg Tilly
Rhonda: Sissy Spacek
Tanner Bolt: Morgan Freeman

RatedRStar said...

@Psifonian: What about my hero, what are your thoughts on Mr Rains =D

Michael McCarthy said...

Foxcatcher (mid 1970's)

John du Pont: Richard Attenborough
Mark Schultz: James Caan
Dave Schultz: James Garner
Jean du Pont: Judith Anderson

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

If you honestly think Fassbender's best was in Prometheus, one of the worst films of the past decade, I have nothing to say to you at all.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Also, you should NOT complain about bad accents when your choice for 2012 Supporting Actor is Tom Hanks in Cloud Atlas.

RatedRStar said...

@Donald: Heres some I would like

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (50s)

George Smiley: Alec Guinness (again)
Bill Haydon: Lawrence Olivier
Ricki Tarr: Richard Attenborough
Jim Prideaux: James Mason
Roy Bland: Dennis Price
Peter Guillam: Dirk Bogarde
Control: Charles Laughton
Percy Alleline: Trevor Howard
Toby Esterhase: John Mills

Michael McCarthy said...

Daniel: what do you think of Richard Harris for Ricki Tarr?

Psifonian: What are your thoughts on Gary Poulter in Joe? I thought he was good but I had some reservations, I'd like to know why you thought he was the best of the year.

RatedRStar said...

@Michael McCarthy: =D I would be happy with that definitely, I was rushing my choices if I am honest, but Harris would be great as a womanizer type.

Psifonian said...

Robert: Well, that's how I feel. And yeah, I loved Hanks's performance but "Cloud Atlas" has a very pulpy feel, particularly in the Broadbent section, so I feel he fit that milieu perfectly. Fassbender's land pirate performance felt very miscalculated at times, but I blame the horrid script for that more than him. I won't judge anyone for feeling that Hanks's performance is garbage or that Fassbender is one of the greatest ever; that's their opinions and I respect and welcome them. But if you've nothing to say to me more on the score, that's okay.

Michael: I kinda want to save my Poulter thoughts until Louis does his review, but suffice it to say that I haven't seen a performance so simultaneously horrifying, heartbreaking and haunting. Wade is such a pathetic old man, the sort that exists in every skid row in every small town in America, and you can see so many emotions roiling inside of him. Here's a guy who one second can be a happy-go-lucky trickster, the next a bully, the next a terrifying monster, and the way he veered from one to the other and back again showed a mastery of acting that spooked me to my core. We'll never know if that was a one-hit wonder or if Poulter could do more, but he managed to run a gamut of emotions and characterizations that would make their own little CV in themselves. I'll go into more detail when Louis reviews him, though.

Psifonian said...

RatedRStar: Claude Rains kicks ass. I give him only a sole win for "Casablanca" but I give the man a slew of nominations to boot.

RatedRStar said...

Psifonians opinion kinda reminds me of Sage Slowdive who used to be on the blog, Louis and some others may remember him, in that his opinion was usually the exact opposite of the majority, like Louis will remember when Sage really liked Akim Tamiroff in For Whom The Bell Tolls but hated Claude Rains in Casablanca =D so lol.

Anonymous said...

I kinda hated Tom Hanks in Cloud Atlas... And this is coming from someone who loved the film and thought that Doona Bae should have won the Oscar for that film. And also, a part from his very shaky accent in The Conselour, I never thought Fassbender was bad with accent. And while I think his performance in Prometheus was fantastic, I agree with kook that it isn't his best and that the movie itself is not very good.

RatedRStar said...

=D thank you Psifonian I take that comment back that I just typed about Akim and Rains lol

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

@RatedRStar: Ah yes I remember and he hated It's A Wonderful Life haha

Anonymous said...

Anyway while I really disagree with you on Fassbender, I respect a lot your opinion and I'm also thankful because your Youtube videos of your personal winners made me discover great performances that I hadn't seen or sometimes even heard before. I can't wait for your new videos for the female categories.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Well shit, now I feel like a prick. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

My last comment was referred to Psifonian.

Psifonian said...

Anonymous: I'm about to debut Best Actress. Before I do, though, I have one last performance to see (Rinko Kikuchi in "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter"). But there have been some major changes in the last few years since I've updated the female categories, so I'm hard at work redoing them.

RatedRStar said...

Ah well not everyone can agree on everything so lol I mean I haven't forgotten Gerard Depardieu, Mr Morgan =D lol.

Michael McCarthy said...

Psifonian: my main problem with the performance wasn't really his fault, it was the way the film wanted me to see his character. That "pop and lock" scene suggested a character that I was supposed to feel sorry for, but I found I couldn't feel sorry for him at any point during the rest of the film.

Psifonian said...

I should also point out that I don't hate Fassbender. I nod him for "Hunger" and "Prometheus" and I actually really liked him in "The Counselor" (his character was kind of bland, but I found him far better than Pitt and he anchored it admirably; then again, I liked "The Counselor" more than most). I have high hopes for what looks to be a banner year for him in 2015; he's got the potential but hasn't yet lived up to it for me, and there are several roles that might do it.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Out of curiosity, what did you end up thinking of McAvoy in Filth, Psifonian?

RatedRStar said...

@Psifonian: Well being that Fassbender is still quite a young actor by most actors standards he still has plenty of time I am sure to give that defining performance you want, Tom Hardy as well I mean Tom Hardy has never ever given a bad performance in a film which gives him the chance, This Means War was just a minor mishap that wasn't down to him I am sure.

I know I keep mentioning Tom Hardy but, the mere thought of him being considered an Oscar Contender in 2015 is just, ahh I am in love =D.

Psifonian said...

McAvoy is another one of those actors I never quite got the love for. He's always come off as a very skeevy sort, like a Scottish Dylan Baker, rather than this handsome leading man they keep trying to make him. "Filth," however, did to him what "Wolf of Wall Street" did to DiCaprio: it took their typical presence and perverted it and did so magnificently. I've only liked him in "Filth" and "Welcome to the Punch" (and even then, he isn't Oscar-worthy). He's okay in the X-Men films and was decent in "Eleanor Rigby," I suppose, but he's just not my cup of tea. "Filth" was outstanding work, though, proving that any actor can give a great performance if you give him the right material/director.

RatedRStar: Fassbender's young, but there are actors in his age group that are giving consistently great performances and digging deep. The guys I mentioned about (Hardy, Schoenaerts, Foster, etc.) are all doing that. I think we seem to want raw powerhouses in our young actors, but Fassbender is more comfortable (to me) in cultured, mannered parts. Icy austerity is what he's best at.

GetDonaldSutherlandAnOscar said...

@RatedRStar: If he is nominated which performance do you think it will be, Legend, The Revenant or Child 44?

luke higham said...

GDSAO: The Revenant

Anonymous said...

@Psifonian: I certainly hope Sissy Spacek will keep her many wins, I love her and I'm glad you love her too! She might be my favorite actress. Also, among the female lead winners I hope won't change, there are Simone Signoret in Les Diaboliques and Ingrid Bergman in Hostsonaten... And I hope you'll give Best Actress 1951 to Vivien this time! Anyway I can't wait for the video :)
P.S. Despite the accent, I too liked Fassbender in The Conseulor but I have to say I thought the movie was quite bad.

Psifonian said...

Anonymous: I'll say this -- one of those will be changed.

Anonymous said...

@Psifonian: Too bad I really like McAvoy also :( Oh well, at least we agree he's great in Filth. I personally loved him in Atonement and X-Men: Days of Future Past also.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Here's the thing; I loved McAvoy in Filth, but sort of hated the film. It struck me like it was trying way too hard to be edgy, almost like Mark Millar ghost wrote it.

Psifonian said...

Anonymous: If I never see "Atonement" again, it'll be too soon. Saoirse Ronan was great but I hated the rest of it. It's another film I'll never see the appeal, but I'm glad that it has its fans.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

McAvoy was actually my favorite thing about Atonement. He might be in my lineup that year, actually, but I need to think about it.

RatedRStar said...

@Donald: Best Supporting Actor for The Revenant.

@Psifonian: The reason I say Fassbender as opposed to Foster and Schoenaerts is because well, Fassebender I would now call a big star with this critical buzz going for him, like a Cumberbatch or a Hardy. Foster is a very very underrated actor, who unless the Lance Armstrong film does well, I just dont see him being a consistent leading man type or a big star will get all the great roles, he often seems to get the short end of the stick.

Mattias Schoenearts is really an actor I cant put in the categories of the other actors because well, he aint done much really so far, I have seen him in 3 films, Bullhead, Rust and Bone, The Drop and I thought he was good in all 3 but I cant really go too far and say he is amazing. I think Rust and Bone was his best but even in that I thought he was overshadowed.

RatedRStar said...

I mean I am probably alone in this, but I have always hoped the likable Ezra Miller will turn out great, I mean I really loved him in We Need To Talk About Kevin, and he was adorable in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower so.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I actually thought Miller was pretty bad in Kevin. Too obvious and self-aware.

RatedRStar said...

Ah ok fair enough I am alone =D lol

Psifonian said...

RatedRStar: My argument is that I feel Fassbender's critical praise is largely unwarranted. He's good and has been great a couple of times, but the ones that really got the critics buzzing (Shame and 12YAS) didn't work for me, and in the latter's case I feel he was verging on "bad" territory at times. Very inconsistent. I mentioned Paul Dano earlier; he may not be as talented as Fassbender could be, but he also fit 12YAS's world and the character better.

Ezra Miller is one that completely passed me by. He was awful in "Kevin" and while he was the only decent thing about "Perks", he wasn't great.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I will never get the hatred Perks gets.

RatedRStar said...

Well if it makes you feel better Robert, Perks would be in my top 10 for 2012 so =D.

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

Call me a sentimental asshole, I guess because it was my favorite that year.

RatedRStar said...

I mean I will say my favorite moments of Perks involved Ezra, particularly when Lerman sticks up for him in the fight, and even the kiss scene I will give credit to Lermans character that he was very respectful about it which I loved.

RatedRStar said...

I just thought Perks was a loving film with a big heart, in the same way that I thought Pride was a film which had a big heart =D.

Michael Patison said...

I hated Dano in 12YAS and found his work unintentionally funny instead of troubling in any way.

I also liked Perks because it had a big heart, but it's script faltered too often for me to think it was great. Miller was also my least favorite part of it.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke: With all that commotion I almost forgot.

Nyqvist - 4(He is surprisingly affecting in the role and manages to create a rather sympathetic villain while still bringing enough menace to the role. He's good in conveying Viggo's relationship with Wick in both the fear at hearing his name, but as well a certain pride as well. He's equally good in showing the required love a father must have for his son even though he clearly hates him, and his acceptance scene is great)

Allen - 3.5(He's great at being a guy you want to see very bad things happen to, although he's suffered enough on Game of Thrones. His role is purposefully rather thin but Allen plays both the boisterous posturing of his early scenes then the intense fear of his later scenes rather well)

Palicki - 2.5(She was okay, but I don't think she did anything particularly notable in the role)

McShane - 3(Appropriately cool and mysterious and really who would run a hotel for hit men other than Ian McShane?)

Leguizamo - 3(Small part, but this is actually one of his better performances and bring the needed frustration and disbelief when he realizes the stolen car belongs to John Wick)

Dafoe - 3(Brings the needed cool and slight hint of warmth to the part, I actually would not have minded a few more scenes between him and Reeves)

David Patrick Kelly - (Great cameo, it's good to see his slimy face again)

luke higham said...

Louis: I'm happy enough with the rating and as a Fassbender fan, at the end of the day, I'm pleased you liked him well enough, just please don't put the rating down any further.

Anonymous said...

@Louis: if you had to pick a best scene for each of the female nominees this year, which ones would you pick?
@RatedRStar: I think you previously said that you watch How I Met Your Mother. I kinda love it, what do you think of all the actors in it?

Anonymous said...

Also, about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I liked it. The screnplay was good but odd sometimes, especially those final twist about Lerman's character's aunt, but I still liked the movie. Lorgan tried a bit too hard to be meek in the beginning but improved a lot later and he was quite great in the final scenes despite the fact that I didn't buy the twist. Miller was very very good and I thought he was very moving, and I also thought Emma Watson was pretty great.

RatedRStar said...

@Anonymous: I am afraid it wasn't me that said I watch How I Met Your Mother, =D I dont really watch much TV I am purely a film and Video Games person.

Anonymous said...

I think I assumed it because you said NPH was very likeable in hosting shows and in HIMYM previously, but really never mind :)

Louis Morgan said...

Anonymous:

Actress:

Cotillard - Hearing the results of the vote.

Jones - The break up.

Moore - Her speech.

Pike - The Murder

Witherspoon - Reaction to her mother's diagnosis.

Supporting Actress:

Arquette - Nothing.

Dern - Her giving of advice.

Knightley - Her final scene with Cumberbatch.

Stone - Confrontation with Keaton.

Streep - Her song to Rapunzel.