Bad Frank, 2017.
Directed by Tony Germinario.
Starring Kevin Interdonato, Amanda Clayton, Tom Sizemore, Brian O’Halloran, Russ Russo, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Brandon Heitkamp, and Lynn Mancinelli.
Construction worker Frank Pierce, formerly a baseball player and a Marine, goes on a brutal path of righteous vengeance after a scummy crime boss kidnaps his wife.
Bad Frank, the debut feature of co-writer/director Tony Germinario, is the kind of testosterone-fueled kidnapping drama that you’d expect to stumble onto on late night television. While the story is relatively generic, it is elevated by a fine performance by Kevin Interdonato as the titular Frank, some great cinematography, and by a gross, bonkers conclusion.
The film introduces Frank and his wife Gina (Amanda Clayton, appealing but underused) as a happy couple with some obvious darkness in their past. Frank is sober, but has apparently burned a lot of bridges, as his mother won’t speak to him and his relationship with his father Charlie (retired boxer Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini) is rather prickly. It’s also immediately apparent that Frank is suffering, relying on medication to deal with debilitating headaches.
Predictably, Frank is pulled back towards the dark side by an old buddy (Brandon Heitkamp) who needs some help getting out of a bind. However, in returning to his old ways, Frank stumbles upon an old acquaintance, Mickey (Tom Sizemore). Things really kick off when Mickey kidnaps Gina, sending Frank into a violent spiral.
Bad Frank’s biggest strength is how believable Interdonato is as a troubled man struggling to keep his life on track. His performance is incredibly physical, and he gives Frank a heaviness, in both movement and expression, that portrays a lot of pain beneath the surface. When Gina is kidnapped, Interdonato’s Frank is Hulk-like in his range, and the combination of strength and hurt is well-portrayed.
Though Bad Frank’s budget was obviously quite limited, Mike Hechanova’s cinematography masks it, as do smart locations that make Frank’s haunts feel like real, working-class haunts rather than movie sets or warehouses. There is a troubling lack of music, which goes beyond austerity and into awkwardness.
Though some of the production credits are sharp, they cannot rescue Bad Frank from its script, which is at best predictable and at worst offensive. Of the two significant female roles, one (Gina) is underwritten and the other (Mickey’s daughter Crystal, played by Lynn Mancinelli) is the kind of undeveloped, hypersexualized, physically brutalized character that has no place in movies today. And though it is fun to watch Interdonato’s acting as Frank goes off the edge, it isn’t at all surprising.
Bad Frank does slightly make up for its predictable storytelling with its graphic conclusion, which is admirably vicious. However, the frenetic brutality of the end makes the rest of the movie seem especially tame by comparison, and it is hard not to wish that Germinario and company had spread the wealth.
Though there are some solid performances and below-the-line work on display in Bad Frank, there is little else to recommend it by. However, its occasional high points do give the impression that several of the folks involved have bright futures, particularly lead actor Kevin Interdonato.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★/ Movie: ★