Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Robot & Frank" [B]

"Robot & Frank" is a quiet, subtle film about a man and his robot. The man is a retired burglar, played by Frank Langella. The robot is an automated care companion foisted upon him by his son. He hates it. When the nameless little appliance demonstrates it might have skills beyond cleaning and cooking and the occasional enema, Frank decides it might be useful afterall. It's the sort of heartwarming setup that could easily descend into mindless humor and cliche. But it is saved from that fate by decent writing and a sly, low-key performance by Langella.

The story dances the knife edge of Frank's issues with memory and loss. It's obvious he's slipping away, more obvious to others than himself. But his flashes of insight and craftiness keep the audience guessing about his true mental state right up to the very end.

This isn't a science fiction film, or a caper film. It's the story of man grasping to hold onto what's left of his life. And the surprising helper that shows up just when he needs it.

Robot & Frank (IMDb)

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