When we first meet Frank (Shannon) and Lola (Poots), we find them in bed. As Frank begins to instigate a little foreplay Lola stops him, asking him only to ravage her. Feeling weird and in an attempt to break the loveless mood, Frank suggests they wait until the next time they’re together. Lola laughs. Because this is not only the first time we’ve met Frank and Lola, it’s the first time they’ve met each other. Will there be another?
A story about love/jealousy/revenge with a side plot of gourmet cooking thrown in for good measure, FRANK & LOLA delves deep into the lives of the two title characters. Frank is a chef working in Las Vegas with the hopes of opening his own place. Lola is a spoiled rich kid who means well but isn’t mature enough mentally to understand she is ruining not only her life but the life of the man she loves. A dinner with her high society mother (Rosanna Arquette) begins well when mom offers to introduce Frank to Wayne Newton, only to quickly go downhill when Lola thinks her mom is flirting. In a similar circumstance later in the film, Frank becomes jealous by the attention Lola’s boss (Justin Long) is paying to her. It’s curious how two people that literally just met each other and who were looking for someone to be with immediately become jealous when anyone pays their significant other a little attention. It’s this inane jealousy that drives the two apart, into someone else’s arms, and then back to each other.
Things get scary when Lola divulges to Frank that she was recently raped by a friend of her mother. The attack occurred in France. Coincidentally, Lola’s boss has arranged for Frank to go to Paris to “audition” for a man looking for a new chef. While there, Frank confronts the alleged rapist, only to learn that not only was the sex consensual, it was a little bizarre. With his new career being decided, Frank must return to Las Vegas and decide what it is he truly wants.
As I mentioned in my recent review of NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, I have quickly become a fan of Michael Shannon. With his long, angular face he is neither movie star handsome or unattractive. He’s an everyman and he plays the everyman quite well. He is truly the rock this film survives on. Poots has less to do because her character is not as well developed as Shannon’s. The supporting cast, including Long, Arquette and Michael Nyqvist, acquit themselves well.
Technically, the film is rather oddly paced. Reportedly this is director Ross’ second feature film, but I could not find any information on his supposed first feature, 1997’s A HERO’S WELCOME. Visually the film makes great use of the Vegas night scene as well as the beautiful countryside of France. If you’re a fan of Michael Shannon, I’d recommend giving FRANK & LOLA a watch. If not, like at the crap tables in Vegas, choose to pass.
Video: The film is presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio and is well presented. The bright lights of the Vegas strip blaze brightly as does the sun draped countryside of France.
Audio: The soundtrack is presented in DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 and is mixed well. Shannon is one of those actors who can deliver his lines almost in a whisper and not a word was missed at a nominal volume.
There are no extras on this disc.