Review by Jay Bowman
Bad Frank is a suspense thriller of a different sort. The story sees Frank Pierce (Kevin Interdonato) struggle to keep a grip on his quiet married life while trying to hold his anger issues in check. The first act is dedicated entirely to character building as we learn of Frank’s troubled past of violence, crime, and alcoholism. His wife Gina (Amanda Clayton) has secrets of her own, though nothing so dark as Frank’s. An encounter with Mickey (Tom Sizemore), an old accomplice, unwinds what little control Frank had. The plot proper takes off in the second act after Gina is kidnapped; unable to get help from his father, with whom Frank has a strained relationship, he becomes the Frank of old and abducts Mickey’s daughter in his own scheme to rescue Gina and put his old life behind him for good.
It’s an odd film in many ways. It’s definitely a slow burn that pays of well in the early going. Interdonato makes Frank the most believable character of the bunch, often without words. Subtle elements of how he composes himself communicate a lot of the character’s restless nature. Despite being sold on violence there is a surprisingly small amount of that in the film, particularly from Frank himself, though his few outbursts are absolutely brutal. Much of the film’s weakness lies in the other characters. Mickey and his henchman verge on cartoonish gangsters, with Mickey himself tossing out Goodfellas-style quips in almost every situation he’s in. Outside of Frank much of the dialog lacks credibility. When Crystal, Mickey’s daughter, wakes up blindfolded and tied to a chair, it takes her far too long to recognize that something is amiss. The conversations that follow between Frank and his victim are just as odd given the situation, though they lend to both characters’ back stories. The movie’s only true shot of adrenaline is in the closing ten minutes or so. Earlier moments of action are muted by the audience knowing what’s going to happen next. This is far from the case with the resolution.
The most interesting thing about Bad Frank is its lack of heroes. Throughout the story Frank continues to make a bad situation worse and loses sympathy, but not in any way that transfers it to another character. What hooks the audience is wanting to see how bad the mess gets, and in this respect it’s very entertaining. It also looks like a big-budget picture despite only costing around eighty-thousand dollars. Whether the flaws in the writing or the flat characterization of the supporting cast undermine this will depend on what the audience is expecting; it’s somewhere between an action film and a mystery without really meeting either end all the way. A good watch if you don’t expect it to follow in either genre’s footsteps too closely.