Frank & Lola' is a mix of 'Eyes Wide Shut,' 'Blue Velvet' and Hitchcock

Check out today's just released "Frank & Lola" trailer HERE.

"Frank & Lola" slyly snuck into its Sundance premiere this past January. In fact, I don't think I wrote anything about it, almost too consumed with the bigger films that premiered over there. That's not fair. "Frank & Lola" is an engrossing, narratively patchy, but visionary work from writer-director Matthew Ross. It didn't deserve the shrug it got in Park City, but I do hope people will get a chance to see this film. Its take on male jealousy, but more specifically the male psyche, is hauntingly rendered. Notice I said narratively patchy, that's because you've never seen a film quite like this one. It's a very hard film to absorb in just one sitting. Ross manages to balance various different tones and moods that it's very easy to be taken off guard by the film. Ross is a talent to watch.

Frank (Michael Shannon) and Lola (Imogen Poot) are lovers that, after an old flame of Lola's reappears, have their lives shaken up and delivered into a surreal nightmare: think "Eyes Wide Shut" meets "Blue Velvet." The film has all the familiar elements of a noir turned inside out to reveal a story that is so frightening all based on the sheer fact that you really have no idea what's coming next - a rarity these days. It starts off as a "boy meets girl" romance, but shocks you in its change of style and pace with twist after twist slowly being peeled off.

Shannon is phenomenal in the film, his Frank is the only person you can trust and he lets you ride along with all the emotional shifts that happen in his head and there are PLENTY. Shannon is one of the best working actors at the movies right now. He's had three exquisite performances this year in "Frank & Lola" "Loving," and "Nocturnal Animals" where he completely steals the show from the leads. That role should nab him the second Oscar nomination of his career this coming January.

As previously mentioned Ross does a great job balancing the various moods and does manage to maintain coherence with his story. His influences are all over the map, but Polanski comes to mind for the way the Ross continuously has you second-guessing the motivations of his characters, I'd also add in De Palma, and since we have both of these directors mentioned, I might as well add the man that influenced them: Alfred Hitchcock. Now that I think about it, what Ross has done here is not completely different from the way Hitchcock toyed with his audiences many decades ago. What bigger compliment can you ask for as a filmmaker? [B+]

The film opens on December 9th, seek it out.