Robot & Frank review

Man and machine make for an electrifying double act in this geriatric sci-fi flick

Frank Langella stars in this heartwarming sci-fi buddy story that manages to deal with some pretty heavy issues with the lightest of touches.

Set in the near future, the titular Frank (Langella) is a retired jewel thief living out his latter years near the small town of Cold Spring, New York. There he splits his time between flirting with the local librarian (Susan Sarandon), stealing trinkets from a local store and looking for restaurants that no longer exist.

With his confused mental state becoming more of a concern, Frank’s son Hunter (James Marsden) presents him with a Robot helper (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) to assist around the house. Initially resentful of the Robot and the way it intrudes on his life, Frank has a change of heart when the Robot proves to be the perfect partner in crime…

Picture: Robot & Frank arrives on Blu-ray with a very appealing AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode. Colour reproduction is a particular strength, be it the warm interiors of Frank’s house and the town library or the lush greens of the woods that surround the town. Detailing is also exceptional throughout, from the wrinkles on Langella’s face to the creases in the clothes he wears.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: As you can probably guess from the synopsis above, Robot & Frank isn’t the kind of film that sets out to dazzle you with audio fireworks. However, this doesn’t mean you should write off the Blu-ray’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track as it still manages to create an engaging soundscape. Naturally, the dialogue is the main beneficiary of the lossless track, boasting a naturalness and clarity that is impossible to fault. Music and Foley effects also sound 100 per cent authentic and convincing.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: Director Jack Schreier and screenwriter Christopher Ford deliver an excellent audio commentary that traces the film’s origin back to their days at film school together before launching into a very detailed account of the production itself. Also included on the disc are the trailer (1min 53sec/1080p) and an interview with Schreier and Langella (5min 24sec/1080i), with the latter proving so witty that you wish he’d been persuaded to take part in the audio commentary as well.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: A charming and witty exploration of ageing and memory that reminds us that sci-fi cinema can do more than deliver empty spectacle on an epic scale

Robot & Frank, EntertainmentOne, Region B BD, £20 Approx