Directors: Jake Schreier
Actors: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, Peter Sarsgaard, James Marsden, Liv Tyler
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: February 12, 2013
Run Time: 89 minutes
Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 2 out of 5 stars
When I saw the trailer for “Robot & Frank”, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. Frank Langella gives a wonderful performance as Frank, an aging thief, who gets a second life with the help of his robot. The story is very simple but really keep you on your toes. I loved the futuristic aspect but without really needing to show too much of the future. If you are wondering who Peter Sarsgaard plays in the film, he is actually the voice of Frank’s robot. He really delivers a great vocal performance. This is a rare little gem and really deserves some attention.
Even though the film is set in the future, I like the fact that their are only a few subtle differences including snazzy cars, transparent phones and, of course, robots. Not to different from now, yes even the robots, have you ever seen what Japan is doing? The phone and TV displays were designed by Justin Ouellette, who works at Tumblr. Most importantly, the robot’s costume was designed by Alterian, which is the company behind the LED helmets worn by the electro duo Daft Punk. All very impressive since the film was very low-budget at $2.5 million, so don’t expect any major special effects. This film is all character and story driven. The little touches just add the charm to the film.
Official Premise: Set in the near future, Frank, a retired cat burglar, has two grown kids who are concerned he can no longer live alone. They are tempted to place him in a nursing home until Frank’s son chooses a different option: against the old man’s wishes, he buys Frank a walking, talking humanoid robot programmed to improve his physical and mental health. What follows is an often hilarious and heartwarming story about finding friends and family in the most unexpected places.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment only released this film on DVD, which is a little disappointing since I would have loved to see this film on Blu-ray. Still though, the film looks great with its 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The special features on the DVD are a bit of a let down but worth checking out. There is a commentary track from the director Jake Schreier and the writer Christopher Ford. Lastly there is a photo gallery included for the Robot posters created for the film. I would have loved to see a feature on the Atlerian’s robots and Justin Ouellette’s designs.