I just recently viewed this flick for the second time, and I liked it even more than on my first screening. Matthew Ross, a former reporter for Variety and editor of Filmmaker magazine, crafted an intense psychosexual drama with the 2016 indie Frank & Lola, a film that features extremely strong performances from the always-superb Michael Shannon and the ever-alluring Imogen Poots, with an eclectic supporting cast filling out the edges, including Michael Nyqvist, Justin Long, Rosanna Lisa Arquette (fantastic!), and Emmanuelle Devos.
The story centers on a hot and heavy relationship that builds between Shannon and Poots, and then comes crashing down when she strays, but for reasons that aren’t exactly so clear. The film then takes an interesting detour into revenge territory that was more emotionally interesting than possibly logistically plausible, but it’s all so cinematic and seductive that you roll with it despite any thoughts to the contrary. Shannon is such a magnetic actor, with the ultimate thousand-yard stare that it becomes impossible to look away when he’s on screen.
And the sexy and exciting Poots (she’s got great taste in material) yet again demonstrates range as an actress, giving a heavily internalized performance with moments of cathartic explosion that propels the sad and potentially dangerous narrative forward. This is a film that explores a relationship that becomes defined by infidelity and tragic events from the past, and how two people attempt to look to a better future together, all the while knowing that permanent damage has likely already been done. Frank & Lola is available on Blu-ray/DVD and via various streaming providers.
Review by Nick Clement