starring Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy and Michael Fassbender
written by Jon Ronson and Peter Staughan
directed by Lenny Abrahamson
This Irish film is supposed to be a clever story about an indie band called “Soronprfbs” and its attempt to record an album and play at an indie rock festival in pursuit of success. But it’s mostly just a piece of shit film. The story drips with mental illness and disintegration. Not want I want as entertainment.
I was attracted to it because the trailers I had seen looked interesting. But it was worthless as it turns out and just too demented for good taste.
Jon Burroughs (Domhnall Gleeson) is a shy Irish kid living with his parents in Irish suburbia. He’s a keyboardist and wannabe song writer. We are introduced to him walking around his hometown observing people and trying to invent song lyrics. Most of what he invents is shit.
Then by chance he stumbles on the band Soronprfbs who are in immediate need of a replacement keyboardist. He goes off with them to a remote island to record. Soronprfbs is led by a singer, Frank, whose gimmick is that he never appears without donning a giant paper maché fake head. He wears it literally all the time, so no one knows what his face looks like. Not his band mates or anyone.
Soronprfbs is an experimental, avant-garde indie band. Their ‘music’ is barely credible as music at all which is a problem for Jon whose musical senses are a lot more conventional and who harbors hopes of conventional commercial success. However convention and commercial success are not what Soronprfbs care about, so there is tension between Jon his bandmates. They are a collection of screwballs held together by Frank’s charisma.
Through Jon’s efforts to popularize the band through Youtube Soronprfbs approaches a mass audience. But the terror of success in the real world tears them apart until nothing is left but Jon and Frank alone is a motel dive, penniless and hopeless.
I kind of sympathize with Jon because I know firsthand what it’s like to be in a band led by an impractically conceptual vocalist and with no chance of success.