Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots Star in ‘Frank & Lola’

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Frank & Lola” is a brooding noir about love, sex and jealousy shown through two very damaged people. Michael Shannon plays a chef in Las Vegas who meets Lola (Imogen Poots), a wannabe fashion designer. When they meet it sets off a tsunami of passion and they feel instantly connected. Frank’s psyche is tested when Lola comes home one night crying and confesses that she cheated on him. The script is not unlike other movies we’ve seen but it is heightened by the level of talent in both of the starring actors.
The indie is written and directed by Matthew Ross. Michael Nyqvist plays a creepy, wealthy Frenchman from her past. Lola’s mother is played by Rosanna Arquette. And Justin Long plays her new boss. Frank bristles at the thought of any other man near Lola. It’s as if he felt starved for love so he squeezes it too tight in a complex maze of fear, anger and envy.
I’ll watch anything with Michael Shannon in it. The towering actor can look terrifying one minute and vulnerable the next—but there is always something creepy lurking behind his eyes. I’ve met him twice and he seems just as intense and mercurial in person. Shannon as Frank is fascinating because it’s hard to think of him as a love interest.
In person, Shannon gives off the energy of a guy sitting on a pressure-cooker of rage, yet he seems polite enough. During press events he didn’t seem to like eye contact and appeared uncomfortable in his own skin. But that fragility, and otherness, is probably what makes him such a compelling actor. He looks haunted—and troubled people often work harder in an attempt to outrun their demons.
But for all I know, he’s a calm, serene guy. Yet I don’t think so. Especially based on what some of his colleagues have said. They all seem to admire Shannon but describe him as strange.
When I interviewed him for “The Iceman,” Shannon talked about his character, serial hitman Richard Kuklinski, in unexpected terms, “I found him to be a very fragile person embalmed in a facade of machismo. He’s actually a very delicate person.”
In an interview for ‘Elvis & Nixon,” Johnny Knoxville told me, “He’s very focused and very intense. And that intensity, that energy, pervades the whole set.” When I mentioned to Ray Liotta that I’d be interviewing Michael Shannon next, Liotta rolled his eyes and said, “Good luck.”
Lola’s character is intriguing, and Poots did a fine job, but the main focus in this flick is Shannon’s portrayal of Frank unraveling.
“Frank & Lola” is in theaters and available On Demand. Unrated. 88 min.
Watch the trailer: