Robot and Frank
The children of a grouchy former jewel thief invest in a robot butler to ensure their father's care.
Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.
- Director Jake Schreier
- Producer Galt Niederhoffer, Sam Bisbee, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, Lance Acord
- Screenwriter Christopher D Ford
- With Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden
- USA 2011
- 89 mins
- UK distribution Momentum Pictures
Frank Langella plays Frank, a grouchy former jewel thief with absent, grown-up children (James Marsden and Liv Tyler) who worry about his memory-loss and invest in a robot butler, as much to soothe their own conscience as to ensure their father’s care. Immediately suspicious of his new companion, Frank’s sulky protestations soon turn conspiratorial when he realises that the robot’s skills can be useful for more than just the housework. Frank’s crush on the local librarian (Susan Sarandon) turns protective when a wealthy local developer threatens to acquire their beloved library. The old cat-burglar and his shiny new companion (superbly voiced by Peter Skarsgaard) hatch a cunning revenge plan. Set in bucolic upstate New York, in a ‘near future’ that bears a remarkable resemblance to ‘now’ (with a few glossy technological improvements), Jake Schreier’s wholly inventive riff on odd-couple comedy is also a poignant mediation on ageing and loneliness.
We did research on robots, [but] the most fun was to research jewel thieves. When you read about those guys – really high-class jewel thieves, ones that pull off these big heists – they talk about their work like artists. They’re not doing it for the money, because you really can’t spend it, if you’re stealing famous jewels, they’re hard to spend, so the heists are like these little art projects for them. It’s all about proving what they can do; they love it in the same way that an artist does. So that was sort of fun. It’s buried in the movie, and I don’t know if many people would pick up on it, but for me it’s sort of about how being an artist can screw up your relationships – what that did to Frank’s family. I think that’s something that most people that try to do this stuff can relate to, how hard it is to kind of juggle that passion for the craft while trying to maintain real relationships with people.
A graduate from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a founding member of the Brooklyn-based filmmaking collective Waverly Films, he began his career making short films, commercials and music videos. Jake signed with Park Pictures in 2006 and has appeared on ‘Best New Directors’ lists for Creativity, Shots, Boards, and Shoot magazines. He has helmed campaigns for clients like Absolut, Comcast, Playstation, EA Sports and Verizon, among many others, and directed a number of music videos for acts like My Morning Jacket and Francis and the Lights. His feature directorial debut, Robot and Frank, is the first movie from Park Pictures’ newly formed feature division.
2005 Christopher Ford Sees a Film [s]
2012 Robot and Frank