Set in the very near future in a rather nice part of upstate New York we find ourselves in the company of Frank an elderly retired cat burglar who lives on his own and whose memory is not was it was. His lawyer son Hunter, on one his infrequent visits, try’s to persuade his father to go into a care home but the old man refuses. Instead Hunter buy’s Frank a personnel healthcare Robot who is programmed to carry out the housework and improve Frank’s fitness and diet. At first our senior citizen does not get on with this new piece of technology and he does every thing in his power to ignore this wee iron man and would turn him off if he could! But when Frank realises that the Robot has not been programmed with morals he decides to teach him the tricks of his previous trade and to restart a belated career in burglary and from this point onwards bonds very nicely with his new found friend.
Jake Schreier worked on music videos and commercials before directing Robot & Frank (2012) his debut feature film. It’s also the first screenplay produced by Christopher D Ford who was a classmate of the director while they were both at the New York University Tisch School of Art. Ford’s senior thesis carried out while the pair where at Tisch formed the basis for this films script. The movie stars the 75 year old award-winning actor Frank Langella, who was nominated for an independent film award for Best Actor; Susan Sarandon is Jennifer while Liv Tyler and James Marsden play Frank’s daughter and son. Japanese robotic technology inspired the design of the Robot used in the film with Rachael Ma as its body and Peter Sarsgaard as its voice. This unusual buddy movie probes the questions of old age and ever worsening dementia and how modern technology can affect our lives all in a quite charming but unchallenging way. Although I must admit the lightness of the story does not detract from its enjoyment.