Remember John Robie the suave cat burgular from To Catch A Thief? In Robot and Frank it’s as if a similar character finds himself old and outcast. Set in the near future, perhaps tomorrow, such a retired criminal now needs a caretaker, which in this case is a robot.
Frank Langella brings his A game to this rather charming movie, filled with a wry sense of comedy amidst its tale of forgotten people. Langella reluctantly accepts the help of his care robot mostly egged on my relatives and friends. At first he almost wants to short circuit his automated house mate, but then a kind of bromance developes and the duo plan a daring robbery at a nearby mansion.
The robot is actually played by two actors: Rachael Ma inside the robot, and Peter Sarsgaard as thye voice. Susan Sarandon plays a librarian who figures into the plot, with additional support from Liv Tyler and James Marsden as family members. The futuristic setting takes place in your mind as most of the movie looks like a technologically updated version of our current reality.
You would never root for someone to break into your house to steal valuables yet Robot and Frank operates on just that assumption. We might all soon need companions like this robot. Robot and Frank moves into the River Oaks Three this weekend.
– Michael Bergeron