Frank Pierce (Kevin Interdonato) leads a seemingly normal life in a small town. However, when he helps his friend Travis (Brandon Heitkamp) out on a shady deal, things go wrong and soon Frank is in trouble with crime boss Mickey Duro (Tom Sizemore), which might cause his suppressed violent urges to rise to the surface.
Bad Frank doesn’t win any awards for originality for its premise. It’s something seen time and again, changed former criminal falls back into the old world when one last job goes wrong, the best variation of which was David Croenenberg’s brilliant A History of Violence. However, there is a lot to like for the most part in Bad Frank.
For a debut feature, it’s a solid calling card for writer/director Tony Germinario. It covers any low budget issues well and doesn’t stretch its ambition to breaking point. Interdonato is good as the troubled Frank, a man with a shady past living in regular domesticity. He has given up drink but something inside him is trying to break out, to the point where he smacks his own hand with a hammer. He’s ostracised his self from his family; he has a mother who won’t return his calls and a father who lives close by but who seems to not want to talk to him. The relationship between father and son is nicely drawn and played by Interdonato and Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini. Tom Siezemore turns up as crime boss Mickey Duro, playing that mix of aggressive crazy and loud pal that he does well. The film is entertaining and quite compelling as we watch Frank try to repair fractured relationships and wonder what he did to make them that way.
It’s in the final act that Bad Frank falters. When everything kicks off, battle lines are drawn and people get kidnapped, the film starts to feel sluggish and loses what it had going for it. It needlessly lingers on Frank and an important character in Mickey’s life, only for a disappointing payoff. Frank becomes the violent guy that has always been hinted at and immediately becomes less sympathetic and interesting. Instead of Frank being a creation of his environment, he turns out to just be a bit of a dick. Attempts are made to make you feel like his actions can be justified because of the poor decisions of those around him but it doesn’t come off, and Interdonato doesn’t get to do much more than be aggressive. A shame as all the subtlety goes flying out the window.
With strong performances and some solid direction, Bad Frank is enjoyable and compelling through its first half but starts to fall apart in the final act.
BAD FRANK / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: TONY GERMINARIO / STARRING: KEVIN INTERDONATO, BRANDON HEITKAMP, TOM SIZEMORE / RELEASE DATE: UK RELEASE TBA