Robot & Frank
Directed by: Jake Schreier
Written by: Christopher D. Ford
Starring Frank Langella, Peter Sarsgaard, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Susan Sarandon, Jeremy Strong
Samuel Goldwyn Films
Rated PG-13 | 90 Minutes
Release Date: August 24, 2012
I don’t know much about Jack Schreier. Luckily, it doesn’t seem like anyone else does, either. According to IMDb, Schreier is the ex-keyboardist for Francis and the Lights, a pop-synth indie band that has toured with the likes of Drake, MGMT, and Ke$ha.
Aside from Robot & Frank, Schreier’s only other directorial credit is a 2005 short film, Christopher Ford Sees a Film, in which Christopher D. Ford (Robot & Frank‘s writer) sees a terrible film that presumably affects him deeply. As for Ford’s work as a screenwriter, he’s got a couple of projects in the works, including Eli Roth’s Grindhouse-inspired horror slasher, Thanksgiving.
I say all this only because it is extremely rare to watch a smart, thoughtful, and altogether well-made film like Robot & Frank and discover it was the feature-length debut of an earnest, young filmmaker and a no-doubt talented scribe. There are plenty of great first films by directors, but Robot & Frank feels like the work of an established, tenured filmmaker – someone who has matured and refined his style through other films.
The premise of Schreier and Ford’s film is simple, and delightfully so. Set in the near future, Frank, an ex-convict and master thief (Frank Langella), receives a gift from his son, Hunter (James Marsden): a robot butler programmed to look after him.
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