DVD & Blu-ray Reviews

Robot & Frank (2013)

Langella is superb in this mix of comedy, drama and suspense. And the robot isn’t bad either.

Published on January 21, 2013

Robot & Frank (2013)

Cast: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Peter Sarsgaard
Studio: Sony Pictures 40539 (2/12/13)
Video: 2:40 anamorphic/enhanced for 16:9
Audio: English, Spanish or Portuguese DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
Extras: Commentary track by director Jake Schreier and writer Christopher D. Ford, Robot poster campaign gallery, Previews
Length: 85 min.
Rating: ****½

Another film with a near-future setting, like Branded. The main advancement has been that versatile human-sized robots have become a rather standard thing in society. Frank is a retired elderly man who has served time for being a cat burglar. His adult son and daughter feel he can no longer live alone since he’s become depressed, distracted and forgetful. His son drops off a robot programmed to improve Frank’s physical and mental health.

At first Frank could care less about the robot, but he becomes much more interested when he finds he can use the robot’s assistance to commit one last heist of  jewelry from some of the wealthy contributors to a foundation connected to his friend, played by Sarandon. He also becomes connected to the robot as a friend.

The film is an odd mix of a character study, a family drama, a buddy movie, some suspense, and it has some delightful comedy in it. It is certainly deeper and more humanist than most films today. Langella was seriously involved in the original script (by a director and writer in their 30s), which when he first read it, failed to depict the challenges of a man in his eighth decade. Peter Sarsgaard also does a wonderful job of the voice of the servant/robot. I found it a total joy to watch.

—John Sunier




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