ANDREW COLLINS: FILM OF THE DAY Robot & Frank★★★★ 11.00pm-12.25am BBC2
If you’re looking for a film that treats dementia seriously and explores the profound fallout of the condition on family and friends, try the Oscar- winning Still Alice. If you’d prefer a whimsical sci-fi fable about an old man whose mental degeneration is a device rather than a helpline issue, try Robot & Frank. Septuagenarian Frank Langella brings a brilliant world-weariness to the titular retired burglar living in upstate New York, whose selfish son James Marsden foists an automated nurse (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) upon him. A genuine oddity from first-time director Jake Schreier, which invites us to sympathise when Langella shuns Robot’s automated care, and smile when he realises he can trick the machine into picking locks, allowing the pair to plan a heist. There’s a romantic subplot involving Susan Sarandon, who works at a library that’s symbolically due to close down – which doesn’t pan out as you’d expect – but the relationship that counts is the one between man and machine.
The Disney studio proved it still had the magic touch after a few lean years with this adventure yarn in which intrepid moggies come to the aid of an orphan girl. And with the wonderful Bob Newhart providing voices, it couldn’t fail.
Master director Akira Kurosawa turns his hand to Shakespeare with this stunning drama based on King Lear. The action takes place in 16th-century Japan where family feuds (sons replace the daughters of the Bard’s version) escalate into civil war.
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