18 – 87mins – 2017
LOVE IS NO FAIRY TALE
Opening on an intense lovemaking scene between Las Vegas chef Frank (Michael Midnight Special Shannon) and aspiring fashion designer Lola (Imogen Green Room Poots), I honestly thought I was in for a Fifty Shades-style erotic thriller with debuting director Matthew Ross’ protagonist-named straight-to-DVD feature. But aside from this brief and surprising snatch of nudity from the gorgeous Ms. Poots, this is as titillating as Frank & Lola gets. The ensuing 80-plus minutes does deal with sexual themes, but in a far darker and less intimate manner.
“So now I’m rotten. So are you. So is this.”
Theirs is a fresh relationship. He is older, but she is not without a past. A past which comes to haunt a cripplingly jealous Frank when Lola’s reaction to the words “I love you” is to go out and sleep with somebody else. Is the damage of her betrayal irrevocable, or can Frank find solace in tracking down the catalyst to his cheating partner’s long-repressed misery?
Travelling to Paris for a job audition, Frank takes the opportunity to delve into Lola’s heartbreaking confession and test how far he can trust her… Despite the continent-hopping, this is a small film with a singular drive, largely involving three main characters and a couple of peripheral figures. Poots and Shannon are remarkable, carrying the drama as very different but equally intense personalities. He becomes consumed by paranoia and a quiet rage; she is a frazzled and erratic “troublesome little girl.”
Co-starring Justin Long, Michael The Colony Nyqvist and Rosanna Arquette, Frank & Lola is an engaging noir with some gripping and jaw-dropping disclosures, but it is not a pacey, light or comfortable film and it does linger in a lackadaisical fug, ending before it truly feels like it has reached top gear.
CR@B’s Claw Score: