Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Review: Celebrity, Notoriety & Living In Public As 'Frankie Go Boom'

The Playlist By James Rocchi | The Playlist October 10, 2012 at 7:34PM

'Frankie Go Boom' opens with a home video from a long-ago washed-out suburban childhood, as Bruce tricks his brother Frankie into a pitfall prank that's both caught on tape and a trap for the two of them; flashing forward to adulthood -- or something like it -- Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) has exiled himself from everything, holing up in Death Valley to write. And Bruce (Chris O'Dowd, with a solidly American accent) is just getting out of rehab, convinced that the "films" he makes -- really, just footage -- of disasters like the one that befell Frankie's wedding three years ago, mean he's a director, what with their huge online "hit" numbers…
0
frankie go boom

'Frankie Go Boom' opens with a home video from a long-ago washed-out suburban childhood, as Bruce tricks his brother Frankie into a pitfall prank that's both caught on tape and a trap for the two of them; flashing forward to adulthood -- or something like it -- Frankie (Charlie Hunnam) has exiled himself from everything, holing up in Death Valley to write. And Bruce (Chris O'Dowd, with a solidly American accent) is just getting out of rehab, convinced that the "films" he makes -- really, just footage -- of disasters like the one that befell Frankie's wedding three years ago, mean he's a director, what with their huge online "hit" numbers…

3,2,1...Frankie Go Boom Lizzy Caplan Charlie Hunnam

Capturing an L.A. of thwarted and foolish ambition, as well as a family dynamic between two brothers who may be more similar than they would like, writer-director Jordan Roberts' 'Frankie Go Boom' is at heart another rumination on the Tolstoyan observation that all unhappy families are unique. At the same time, it takes a few well-earned digs at Hollywood and Internet culture, and a value system that can't distinguish fame from notoriety. Frankie is easily frustrated; Bruce is, easily, frustrating, bragging about how he's going to parlay his rehab connection into a filmmaking gig and constantly shooting video, even at the E.R. "This is a public place," Bruce notes when Frankie admonishes him for surreptitiously videotaping an old man with a head wound; "If they didn't want to be photographed, they shouldn't have come here …"

Shot on the digital Red camera, 'Frankie Go Boom' looks lovely, from the barren desert-sunburned day to the busy quiet of the streetlit L.A. night. After Bruce's "graduation" from rehab -- the only event that could usher Frankie home -- he literally runs into a woman named Lassie (Lizzy Caplan), or the other way around, as she crashes into his car on her bike, heartbroken, drunk and wearing a long coat over fancy lingerie and a bra made of candy necklaces. They then embark on the least advisable -- and, for several hours, least consummated -- one night stand of all time. Which Frankie films. And posts online. And then realizes that Lassie is the daughter of Bruce's fellow rehab resident, Jack (Chris Noth), a faded movie star with blustering charm and a terrible temper who, as ruined as he is, could still be Bruce's ticket to the big time.

3,2,1...Frankie Go Boom Lizzy Caplan

And so the road to redemption -- or something like it -- is set upon, as Frankie tries to buck up the courage to tell Lassie and Bruce tries to keep Jack from finding out his darling daughter is in a sex tape he made. There'll be burglaries, negotiating with pornographers, Internet "fame" as an impotent man, and life-lessons combined with computer hacking courtesy of one of Bruce's old cellmates, Phil, who is now Phyllis, played by Ron Perlman as a cigar-smoking battleship in a dress who is nonetheless every inch a lady. There are plenty of L.A. weirdos -- including two A.A. members with dreams of using their dentistry money to make a movie "about the angels around us" -- and the sense of the film industry as a swamp of foolish dreams and unsuitable ambitions is ever-present.

Roberts' comedic instincts are spot-on: The ludicrous sight of Noth exercising on a treadmill in a jockstrap, glistening with foolish pride and greasy sweat, is followed by a cut to a different angle that makes the scene even more funny. Caplan and Hunnam's tentative romance is sweet, and even as Frankie learns to be more like Bruce and put himself out there -- ridiculously, like something out of a bad movie -- the film manages to have that big moment both utterly fail and completely work. In a lot of ways, 'Frankie Go Boom' is about how grown-ups can stay kids, but it also demonstrates that the only way to grow up is to make childish mistakes and learn from them -- or, to paraphrase the title, yes, Frankie goes boom. The question is if Frankie will get back up again. Bright and warm with a stabbing-switchblade sense of flicker-fast folly, 'Frankie Go Boom' and its quibbling siblings have a lot more heart than you might expect. [B-]

This is a reprint of our review from SXSW.

This article is related to: Frankie Go Boom, Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates