Frank & Penelope: Opening in Theaters Everywhere in June – Horror/Thriller Movie Review


By Geno McGahee

FRANK AND PENELOPE is a film written and directed by Sean Patrick Flanery and has gained comparisons to TRUE ROMANCE and THELMA AND LOUISE and it’s easy to see why. This is an intense film with a great cast and remarkable writing.

Frank (Billy Budinich) has the world but it comes crashing down when he finds his wife being unfaithful and that leads to an adventure and an addictive love. Crossing paths with Penelope (Caylee Cowan), an exotic dancer, begins to change everything and the two immediately click. The idea of a road trip and finding beauty brings them together and that’s when the film really kicks in.

Caylee Cowan is a real standout in this film. She is able to bring a seductive nature mixed with innocence so well that it made the connection to Budinich in this so believable. Investing in these characters is easy and the story keeps moving forward, making a few stops I didn’t see coming.

During the trip, the duo come across some very unsavory people and the film goes from a gritty adventure to a dark toned thriller and it does it seamlessly. I began thinking that this film is starting to go from TRUE ROMANCE to VACANCY and the unlikely match is really good.

There is so much focus on the look and feel of this film and it is done well, but they understood that substance is as important as style and brings that as well. From the outset of the film, it was shot so well and in a very interesting way. The strip club scenes with Cowan and Budinich are done so well. It captures the seediness but has an overtone of genuine love between the two main characters.

It was nice to see Lin Shaye in a small role in this, and it was a somewhat different character for her. Shaye proved that she can own any material that she is given and she stood out, as she always does.

Chisos (Johnathon Schaech), without giving away much, shows up in the beginning of the film and the motivations and character develop as it goes on and he is the glue that brings the conflict together in the end. Schaech was really impactful in his role and seemed to really enjoy it. In many of his scenes, dialogue was key, and Flanery understood that too as he wrote some really good stuff.

Another character that deserves mention is Mabel, played by Donna D’Errico. She was so good in this and played so well across from Cleve (Brian Maillard). It was about as uncomfortable of a scene to watch as they traveled in a tow truck together and the two sold it very well.

FRANK AND PENELOPE is a breath of fresh air. It deserves comparisons to THELMA AND LOUISE and TRUE ROMANCE, but it’s not in their shadow. This is a very good film, written well and featuring a stellar cast. Without question, Budinich and Cowan stole the show. They are likable and easy to root for. I loved their performances.

I highly recommend FRANK AND PENELOPE. It’s what indie film needs to be. They decided that they were not relying on gimmicks or trends. They told this story from the heart and put it out there in their own way and I respect that and the execution is spot on. This is a must see.

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