Review: Robot and Frank
Those that know me know that I have a deep love for movie robots. (Not pictured – the icons for my external harddrives are Robby the Robot, and Hal.) The Iron Giant, R2D2 and that lovable paranoid android Marvin were some of my favorite characters as a kid. Then Wall*E, K9, Gerty and the DRDs upheld that tradition in more recent years. So when I read this article* and saw the trailer for Robot and Frank I knew I had to have this movie in my life.
While I am categorizing this as a review, it is not one directly as such. But I will give you a few brief thoughts on the technical stuff about movie itself before going off on my tangent. This movie was amazing. Cinematographically stunning, well written, perfect cast and amazing story. The music, which isn’t something I usually pay attention to, was spot on. There isn’t a single thing I would change. The robot was even amazingly acted. It is just a really sweet movie, that is simultaneously funny/a buddy heist movie, and a great critique on humanity.
I think that is what I most enjoyed about this movie, the characterization of the robot. This is a story where the robot itself is constantly reminding us that it isn’t a human. It doesn’t exist the same way. It is hyper aware of its limitations and its programming, and encourages Frank not to think about him as a person. It isn’t worried about losing its memory the way we are, it doesn’t have the same concerns. And yet, Frank still considers it his friend. He objects to his daughter turning it on and off when it is convenient, treating it like a slave.
In some ways it is a nice reflection of how we connect to technology, like our phones cars and computers. We go as far to give them names, something Frank never does in the movie, and even talk to them on occasion. Yet we are aware that they are not human. The anthropomorphic nature of the robot makes it difficult to create this distinction, but in the end Frank is forced to accept that fact. (Not majorily spoilery) One of the last scenes where Frank sees other models of the robot he has, and it seems as though he cannot tell them apart and finally acknowledges the difference.
For me, this movie is already included amongst the classics of science fiction. I think there is amazing potential in a tripple feature of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Moon, and Robot and Frank. They each present a very different relationship between man and machine. I would love to watch them all back to back (or over the course of a weekend) and then have a conversation about them…Maybe this is something I should organize.
*Yes I am aware about 90% of the links on this blog are to io9 articles. What can I say, I am a io9 fangirl and that site is what really inspired/s me to blog about science fiction.