What to Watch on Kanopy This Weekend: Robot & Frank, Leave No Trace, and Unsane

WHAT TO WATCH ON KANOPY THIS WEEKEND

Kanopy provides its viewers with great, unsung movies that deserve consideration, interesting documentaries on a range of different topics, and some of the best films that have been released within the past few years. Below are two movies on Kanopy that you can watch this weekend if you are looking for some thoughtful and thought provoking entertainment.

Robot & Frank

The 2012 film, Robot & Frank, takes place in the near future where technology becomes a more prominent part of the average, middle-class community that still values places such as the public library. Frank Langella convincingly embodies a divorced, elderly ex-jewel thief. His children worry about his memory and overall health, and Frank’s son, Hunter, decides to give his father a robot that should complete chores such as cook meals and clean up around the house.

However, Frank gets the clever idea to use this robot to help him steal items such as a copy of Don Quixote from the public library. A cocky businessman named Jake wants to remodel this same public library into a community center, so Frank also plans to use this robot to punish him. The law eventually finds out about Frank revisiting his former days as a thief, and it reveals an unexpected surprise about Frank’s relationship with his family. Society’s ongoing dependency on technology like robots reshapes how Frank lives one day at a time and even perceives himself.

This movie is quirky, charming and surprisingly heartbreaking. The interaction between Frank and his robot shows how swiftly technology can shift friendships, family, and the work environment, especially the public library.

Leave No Trace

Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace stands as one of the best, most compelling surprises of 2018. Throughout the entire film, the story’s tension never feels forced or exaggerated, and it allows Portland, Oregon’s nature to shine through its lush forests and rural neighborhoods. This movie’s grim, serious tone provides viewers with a sense of empathy towards a father and daughter who do not live by society’s expectations.

Based on the 2009 novel, My Abandonment by Peter Rock, this drama follows a troubled veteran and his daughter who live in the woods. Ben Foster plays the father, Will. Thomasin McKenzie plays his meek daughter, Tom. Rangers catch them living in a forest park, arrest them, and contact social services to arrange a suitable home for them. Amidst these sudden changes, they learn more about themselves and what they want in life.

Will’s past hardships, especially with post-traumatic stress disorder, make him desperate to stay in the woods. Tom realizes that she should not be afraid to look out for herself and chooses to break away from her father’s decision to live in exile. Leave No Trace seems poignant at first. However, it ends with a sense of hope as Tom makes the hard decision that they both need.

Unsane

Steven Soderbergh always takes risks whenever he makes movies, and he knows how to surprise his audience with each new film. He does this incredibly in Unsane, as he uses an unnerving and frantic style to film this story using an iPhone 7 Plus. This movie’s mazelike plot takes viewers into the dimly lit, narrowing hallways of a mental institution where an ambitious, young woman faces institutionalization against her will.

Claire Foy’s character, Sawyer Valentini, appears to live a successful life. She works at a bank and enjoys life outside of the workplace. Unfortunately, a stalker followed and harassed her for years. After making all the logical attempts to cut this man out of her life, he still confronts her at the mental institution. He reappears as one of the nurses who gives medication to all the patients and monitors them. The movie never makes clear, however, whether the stalker is truly bothering Valentini, leaving the audience to debate it among themselves. While this clarity would improve the premise, Unsane still fulfills everything a psychological thriller should when it comes to holding its audience captive and in suspense.

By William Anthony, Page and Movie Enthusiast