By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
Michael Shannon isn’t typically the kind of actor you think of when you hear “Romantic Lead”, but here he is starring across from Imogen Poots, who is young enough to be his daughter. You know right there something else is up.
Sure, I can see this up on sorority walls across the nation.
Frank & Lola does indeed star Shannon and Poots as lovebirds, but oh wait, there’s a deception, cheating, sordid backstories, stalking, and a whole lot of the best glowerer in the biz getting to work out those brow muscles.
Sure, they’re not the most intuitive couple, but Poots and Shannon sell the romance excellently- both are very natural performers and comfortable with each other and in their own skins. In a way, their romance is the most believable part of this film. Also, Michael Nyqvist is a fitting likely villain, of course.
He’s had practice.
Director Matthew Ross and DP Eric Koretz’s cold, clinical shooting style, paired with Saunder Jurriaans and Daniel Bensi’s ominous score, works equally well under bright Las Vegas Strip lights or drab Paris dawns. This is a very polished film all around production value-wise
The second act in Paris, despite its awkward transition, also has its pleasures- the cooking sequence was very interesting, and the turn into darker territory largely works as well. Many critics had an issue with the genre-type turn it takes, but I think it works fine when the film as a whole is viewed as that sort of tawdry thriller that doesn’t seem to have been made right since the 90s.
The drama ratchets fast, maybe too fast, and Shannon makes some very Hollywood decisions to get that plot headed into that darker territory. You kind of just have to roll with it, as Frank & Lola turns into a different kind of a movie, but not so much on a dime as a novelty gigantic wooden nickel.
I knew Google and America wouldn’t let me down with this one.
When we finally get the whole sordid story in monologue, the script shows its seams. Ross thinks he’s saying something profound about fucked up relationships, but none of it really feels remotely like anything a real person would say, in any sincerity at least. That pretty much goes for the characters’ principal plot-driving actions as well.
Frank & Lola is a throwback to the kind of romantic thriller Adrian Lyne excelled at, for both largely good and somewhat ill.
Frank & Lola (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever Michael Shannon cooks
Take a Drink: whenever Michael Shannon acts jealous
Take a Drink: for every trip to Paris
Take a Drink: whenever Justin Long shows up, straight up
Take a Drink: whenever anyone mentions the Encore Hotel
Do a Shot: for rough sex