Film review: Robot and Frank

THREE STARS
By Alex Dymoke

AS ROBOT and Frank’s opening credits fade, we are told this is all taking place in the “near future”. Apparently the near future is exactly like the present, apart from the addition of voice activated answering machines and servile carer bots designed to provide companionship and domestic assistance to doddery OAPs.

Frank Langella is one such OAP, although there are question marks over just how doddery he really is. In his early years he did time for burglary. We are told he was an expert at avoiding security cameras. His family are exasperated. Is that mischief, flickering in his demented dough-eyes? Even as his cognitive faculties start to slip away, Frank remembers how to pick a lock. And with his new robot friend, an opportunity arises for one last job.

This is gentle, endearing stuff elevated by a classy cast. Frank Langella adds complexity to a character that would have been opaque in less capable hands. Peter Sarsgaard also excels. The delicate lilt of humanity in his robot voice is what makes this film an understated success.