Frank, a Las Vegas chef who does not easily fall in love, meets Lola, a
young fashion designer. He falls hard for her and when she cheats on
him, becomes embroiled in her murky past until he no longer knows who to
trust and what to believe.
Genre : Drama
Country : USA
Imogen Poots : Lola
Michael Shannon : Frank
Justin Long : Keith
Director : Mathhew Ross
They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Clearly
screenwriters believe that the way to a cinema goer's heart (and wallet)
may be through the stomach too. In the past few years we've had a
gluttony(!) of films where food, more specifically, those who cook it,
chefs, have been the main protagonist. "Chef", "The Hundred Foot Journey",
"Ratatouille", "Burnt", "The Chef", "Julie and Julia" and "No Reservations" have all
centred around the life and dramas of cooks. Michael Shannon is
the latest actor to don an apron and sharpen his kitchen knives - in
this case for possible nefarious purposes in "Frank and Lola", which is out on DVD now.
He plays Frank, a chef in Las Vegas who trained in Paris and dreams of
opening his own restaurant while grumpily serving up exquisite meals for
dinner parties held by demanding wealthy private clients.
However, his culinary skills begin to play second fiddle to his emotions
when he meets and quickly falls in love with Lola (Imogen "Green Room" Poots), after
saying he doesn't easily fall in love. Lola is a troubled young woman
who is clearly hiding something beneath the artsy fashion designer
persona Frank first sees. When she cheats on Frank in an anonymous hotel
room on the Vega strip and explains it as being the result of an
abusive experience when much younger, Frank becomes embroiled in her
past as well as intense emotions he has hitherto not revealed. Is Lola a
glib liar messing with Frank's head or is the Frenchman from her past
playing him and her? Whether it's the golds of Vegas or the deeps
reds of Paris, the film is beautifully shot and lit. The glamour and
shine of the surroundings enveloping the glamorous, wealthy people who
inhabit them. But the passions of these people are dark and the film
wears it's noir palette well too.
"Frank and Lola" is
Matthew Ross' first feature as writer and director and it took him the
best part of a decade to get it made, moving the setting from New York
to the glitzier Vegas at the request of producers. The change works well
enough. The town and subject matter complement each other black and
gold tend to do. The film is ultimately about male jealousy, the
betrayal within love and the primeval desire for revenge which can
overtake the most mild mannered once passion is involved.
director, Ross makes a more assured debut than as a writer. While he
puts in enough twists and turns to keep you guessing what might happen
next, the characters aren't compelling enough to care a great deal
about. Both Shannon and Poots do their best to imbue Frank and Lola with
the believability that a film like this, based around a relationship,
needs and although the writing doesn't always help them, they keep the
story going with their efforts.
The food isn't as central as it is
in other foodie films but a group of us were invited to have our very
own 'masterchef' moment when we attended to cook a three course meal at
the Underground cookery school in London, in honour of the DVD release
of Frank and Lola. It was a fantastic experience not least because we
got to eat the fruits of our endeavours at the end.
As we cooked,
Frank and Lola was playing on a screen in the background. It provided a
stylish and beautiful backdrop to a great evening.
Frank and Lola is out now on DVD and digital download
Labels: Crime, Guest Blog