Frankly speaking, we all go a little crazy sometimes. Who doesn’t have one or two decomposing corpses in their flat, with whom you debate your fears and desires, and who can cheer you when you feel sad and lonely? They are far more loyal and reliable than living humans. Clearly, that’s something we all do, and Frank – the protagonist of the eponymous movie – is of course no exception to this rule.
Frank is a lonesome and disturbed young adult, played by Darren Beaumont, who lives in a small flat in a grey coastal town somewhere in Britain. He suffers from OCD, which sees him tiptoe down the street, and step home in a highly ritualistic geometric fashion. He has virtually no contact with the living, except for the occasional visit from his elderly mother and – to his despair – his intrusive child neighbour who often confronts him about his unusual habits.
Tidiness and cleanliness are not Frank’s forte. The flat is dirty and derelict. He preserves vegetables (or are they perhaps body parts?) in large jars as well as in his bath tube, and snails are also a constant presence. His decomposing corpse friends are not particularly good with personal hygiene either. He has a habit of gradually cutting Fidel (Con O’Neill) open, removing his organs and stuffing him. He looks a lot like Twiggy Ramirez from Marilyn Manson with the scales and make-up on his face.
Lucky for Fidel, the corpse of the suicidal bridal Polly (Con O’Neill) washes up on shore, and Frank promptly invites her to live with them. The two dead people quickly become very intimate and develop a sexual connection. Frank is once again an outcast, even amongst his faithful and departed friends.
Despite stuffing and talking to corpses, Frank is not Hitchcock’s Norman Bates. He’s not evil and manipulative. In fact he’s very weak and fragile; he often walks around town in his underwear, a strange reminder of his vulnerability. He’s also naive, clumsy and yet highly likable. He epitomises the little bit of eccentricity and insanity that we all have inside us.
Film director Richard Heslop toys with death, decomposition and snails in a way not dissimilar to Peter Greenaway’s Zoo: A Zed and Two Noughts (1985), just much more lighthearted. Frank is an elegantly dirty and repulsive ode to lunacy, with an outstanding cinematography (the film is technically immaculate) and riveting acting. You’d be mad to miss it!
You can watch the entire movie Frank online and for free here: