Directed by Matthew Ross
Starring Michael Shannon, Imogen Poots, Michael Nyqvist, Justin Long, Stella Schnabel, Rosanna Arquette and Emmannuelle Devos
On UK DVD and Blu-ray April 10th, 2017
Watch on iTunes or Amazon
by Joanna Orland
Frank & Lola is a stylish noir romance with a wonderfully brooding performance by Michael Shannon, and an equally infatuating turn by Imogen Poots. Frank (Shannon), a talented chef living in Las Vegas, falls in love with Lola (Poots), an aspiring fashion designer. Their love affair begins innocently enough as the two vulnerable people are on the road to a committed relationship. The film then takes a sharp turn to examine some of the darker sides of love – passion, betrayal, obsession.
Things are going very well for the couple, until one night when Lola cheats on Frank with another man. Confessing her betrayal, Frank forgives Lola, but the damage has been done. Forgiveness turns to obsession as he begins to doubt the intentions of the men in her life, later seeking revenge against a particular man from Lola’s past who did her harm. Harm which he believes is responsible for their own damaged relationship.
Seductively stylish, this film is far from a classic tale of romance or even the typical noir fare. While the mood and themes of noir are captured in Frank & Lola, the scenarios are depicted in a much more intimate and plausible fashion. The romance has its natural flaws which develop progressively with the veneer of noir demonstrated through cleverly framed shots, stealthy cinematography and Michael Shannon’s stoic performance. While I wouldn’t naturally put Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots together as an onscreen couple, their chemistry works very well between their natural dynamic and the passion each portrays within themselves in two very different types of performances. Poots is more outwardly emotional while Shannon uses the inward approach to portraying his character’s feelings – both using exactly the right methods to telling this story.
Captivating from start to finish, Frank & Lola has the soul of a film noir and the heart of a love story. It is an alluring film that is infinitely heightened by two excellent lead performances.