on 5 October 2014
This is an unusual film, but one that I liked quite a bit. I have also read the book, so can compare the two. Interestingly, I felt that the film actually got more to the heart of the story, so to speak. For some reason, I felt the dad as a marine biologist worked better than dad as a historian. Also, I thought the film captured the atmosphere in a slightly better way than the book. The film appeared to be set in the late 80s / early 90s and the book towards the later 90s. Therefore, I feel that I could relate more to the film than the book. Craig Roberts is a promising actor and was supported by a very good cast. The Welsh setting was good, and the film makers certainly captured the British coastal life, slightly decaying but never dying. Please read the book too, it is good as well.
on 12 September 2012
Considering that 'Ben Stiller Presents' on top of each DVD do not put you off! This is only funded by that source,
the film is wonderful, and the book is different. Both are wonderful, so do it, it's only money
more please Richard
This starts out SO great, with an opening title card that had me laughing out loud, that the modest decline during it's running time is more frustrating than it really should be,
Two flaws grow as the movie goes on. The narrative gets more forced in it's eccentricity, straining a bit for effect, and robbing the dark comedy of some of the emotional power it promises to deliver, along with all the quirks. (The ending especially feels a bit of a cop out). Beyond that, over time, the explicit stylistic references to other films (the list is long but Wes Anderson in general and "Rushmore" in particular lead the way) started to make me question the seeming originality of the film's voice.
This is yet another off-beat film about a moody, pseudo-intellectual self-involved mid-teen odd-ball outsider. But unlike "Rushmore", or "The Graduate" that tale doesn't seem to have been made over in a whole fresh new way for it's time, and unlike "Harold and Maude" or even "The Joys of Being a Wallflower" there isn't an emotional wallop to pay it all off.
So why did I still quite like it? For one thing, the performances are very good. Young actors are always tricky and Ayoade gets excellent and subtle work from his self-serious lead Craig Roberts, and the anti-romantic and edgy object of his affections Yasmin Page. And any supporting cast with Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins is always going to deliver. The first half really feels original and organic, in spite of the stylistic lifts. And for every time the film trips over a slightly unbelievable or convenient twist, or a too obvious homage, there is another moment that feels fresh and honest -- giving us an amusing unreliable narrator who clearly has his flaws, and ending up with a very good and inventive film about being an outsider teen. I just wish it's first sections hadn't set me up to want an even more original and all time great one.
This 2010 directing debut film from (previously) comic actor and writer Richard Ayoade is, for me, certainly not an unqualified success, but still has enough going for it - a mostly hilarious and witty script plus a great visual sense - for it to fit into 'very promising newcomer' territory. Essentially a 'coming of age' drama, it is, of course, not exactly original, but its 'other-worldly' qualities - with dream-like elements, at times reminiscent of films such as Billy Liar, or more recently The Young Poisoner's Handbook - are enhanced by some great cinematography (luscious skies, freeze-frames, fast montage, split screen, etc) by Erik Alexander Wilson, plus a number of haunting songs by Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner.
Central to Ayoade's film is Craig Roberts' nervy, geeky Welsh school-boy (and narrator), Oliver Tate - permanently duffle-coated, carrying either satchel or attaché case - whose time is split between his obsession with fellow pupil Yasmin Paige's brazen and daunting Jordana Bevan and acting as marriage guidance counsellor for his dysfunctional parents - Noah Taylor's (still more) geeky, ex-Open University lecturer (and, boy, it shows), now marine biologist, the put-upon, Lloyd ('He knows the number for the pot-hole help line by heart') and Sally Hawkins' neurotic over-enthusiastically motherly, Jill, whose feelings of romantic nostalgia are aroused when Paddy Considine's smooth talking, outrageous mullet-bearing, 'new age showman' ('Psychic and Physical Excellence'), Graham Purvis moves in next door and tempts Jill from her celibate lifestyle. Indeed, Oliver knows his parents are celibate as he monitors their activities by the position of the light dimmer switch. For me, the success of the film hinges on Roberts' portrayal - if you find this funny and endearing (which I do) then you should like the film. Taylor and Hawkins are also both good as the troubled parents, whilst the 'ever-dependable' Considine struggles a little with this one-dimensional characterisation.
There are a number of great set-pieces such as Oliver imagining his own 'lauded' funeral (satirising the typical OTT press coverage of such celebrity events) and that where he presents a 'pamphlet' to bullied schoolgirl Zoe on 'how to break out of the victim cycle'. Similarly, the troubled school-boy reinforces his imaginary 'ideal' view of the world by declaring that 'This is the moment when .....', as if life should really mirror fantasy. Ayoade also has a great knack of dropping in funny lines at the most 'serious' moments of drama.
Thus, overall, despite the fact that the 'comic effect' does admittedly wane slightly during the film's final third, I would still rate Submarine as a commendable first effort from a promising new British writing and directing talent.
on 15 August 2013
Submarine is a sweet little film.
If cliches were potholes in the road, then this film would deftly swerve between them in a flash of style and panache, unlike a lot of it's predeccesors. As far as rom com-cum-coming of age films go, Submarine actually captures some of the lesser travelled aspects of love and war, despite being centered around a rather unconvential teenage boy. And despite the main character being an unconventional kind of a guy, I actually relate to him far more than a few of the poster boys for this particular genre (I'm thinking Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 500 days of Summer but I'm not sure why). For example, the unexplainable lighting of matches, and an aversion to overly romantic settings - ok, really I'm relating to the love interest here.....but ultimately I'm relating to the high standard of script/novel writing.
Which reminds me, I really should pick up a copy of the book!
And added to that, the beautiful cinematography - wow - it perfectly complemented the idiosyncratic script (courtesy of comedian Richard Ayoade and author of the novel Joe Dunthorne). Not exactly original in its execution, but BLOODY refreshing to see in a film such as this. I think John Luc Goddard would have sent his heartfelt and boldly fonted words of congratulations on this one. I especially liked the fades to RED, which lended the film a sense of age and cinematic aesthetic if nothing else.
on 1 September 2011
Submarine is quite an odd film.
That's in no way meant to imply it's not enjoyable, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but at times... odd.
It tells the 'coming of age' story of Oliver Tate, a somewhat pretentious, equally deluded boy. It runs through the things that concern him, and while they are potentially ordinary things (parents relationship, girlfriend, sex) for his age, his personality amplifies them, and he had difficulty handling many of them, leading to situations that can be highly entertaining!
The comedy is a steady stream of amusement, it doesn't really go for laugh out loud moments very often (there are some), but it's difficult to watch the film without a fairly constant smile on your face. Especially at the parts aimed at being heart warming (not saying where, don't do spoilers).
The acting, particularly in the younger leads is excellent and the characters, particularly Jordanna and Oliver are difficult not to like. The direction by the IT Crowds Richard Ayode is subtle and lets the story develop to perfection. Really looking forward to seeing more of what he does.
Some bits feel a little forced, which is the reason I will not go for top marks, but this film is an absolute treat. Heartily recommended.
on 8 September 2011
This film should be commended as a great debut for its director. However, I would flag up that some of the reviews and quotes are completely misleading in the marketing of it - this is not a "laugh out loud" comedy or especially hilarious. It is instead a moving and sometimes dark coming of age drama that has the occasional comic touch. Set in Wales it follows Oliver Tate as he daydreams and attempts to save his parents stale marriage whilst embarking on his first romantic relationship. The characters are ambivalent - definitely not black or white - even the "mystic" that Oliver's mum has a fling with has more depth to his character as being a simple villain. It is also gratifying to see a film that does not romanticise youth in the way we see so many Hollywood films doing so, and the portrayal of the characters allows you as a viewer to come to your own conclusions as to their motivations. Definitely worth seeing.
on 23 May 2012
I was really excited to see this movie but it was a bit of a disappointment. The movie just sort of plodded on with out it being cute, quirky or funny in the way that was portraid in the trailer. I didn't pay that much for it so it's fine, but not worth buying unless it is at the same price as a rental.
on 9 September 2012
typical good quality british film. the dialogue is sharp and witty, charming moments, the story is enjoyable and the fast pace keeps you interested. starts out a bit like Grange Hill but ends up being a drama/love story of your average teenager. its a good film! what else can you say?
a gripe which took the 5 stars off this film would be that it felt rushed and too short. notably there were a lot of comedy scenes that were blink and you miss them over in 2 seconds. british directors have this habit these days of doing super-fast scenes one after another after another to make the film seem more interesting which is good, slow films are almost never good, but not if some potentially laugh out loud/entertaining scenes are reduced to size zero. i like the fast pace style just dont over do it please directors, dont sweat the technique! keep the balance!
overall, an enjoyable watch.
on 2 March 2012
I'm too tired to write a review because I stayed up too late watching this movie on repeat. Get it.