Robot & Frank is a comedy drama set in the near future with a unique concept. Frank (Frank Langella) is a single, retired ex-jewel thief. He doesn’t have much to do anymore and spends a lot of time at the local library chatting up the librarian, Jennifer (played by Susan Sarandon.) He is also slowly going senile and his grown-up children Hunter and Madison (James Marsden and Liv Tyler) do not have time to look after him. One day Hunter visits Frank at his home and leaves a robot butler there to take care of him. The robot is sophisticated, useful and also able to speak (Peter Sarsgaard provides the voice.)
In the near future setting of the movie robots seem to be slowly taking on roles as domestic helpers and other duties. Frank is initially reluctant to have a robot around interfering with his life. Gradually the robot starts to improve his quality of life and this dynamic duo become friends. Frank begins to realize how useful his robot companion is and he decides to go back into the heist business with his new friend. Together, they plan to rob a wealthy couple by stealing some valuable jewels from their safe. Things start to unravel in the aftermath of the heist as the police get involved and try to solve the crime. Frank then has to try and stay one step ahead of the cops and find a way out of his predicament.
Frank Langella is a veteran actor and he is well cast here as the aging thief. Susan Sarandon plays a nice supporting role as Jennifer and it looks like she has nice chemistry with Langella. Peter Sarsgaard’s voice acting is also a bonus and he delivers his lines with a flat tone almost reminiscent of HAL the dangerous AI computer from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The robot here is far from malicious though and is actually quite cute. Liv Tyler and James Marsden should also provide solid support as Frank’s grown up children. It seems as if the movie has an underlying message about humans and how dependent we are on technology. Frank seems to have a better relationship with the robot than he does with his own children. The robot is always there to care for him while his children are not.
The director Jake Schreier has done well with his relatively low budget for the movie. The robot looks realistic and is similar to ASIMO the walking, waving automaton created by Honda. it will be interesting to see how Frank and Robot survive the events that transpire in the film.
Robot & Frank is a quirky comedy drama that will hopefully entertain audiences when it is released on March 8th.
Have a look at the trailer and let us know what you think.