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FILM REVIEW: Submarine

21st March 2011

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Based on the Curtis Brown Prize-winning novel by Joe Dunthorne, this dark indie comedy is about a 15-year-old boy who “must fight save his mother from the advances of a mystic and simultaneously lure his eczema-strafed girlfriend in to his bedroom.” It is a coming of age story which is equal parts Rushmore, Election and Squid and the Whale

The film is quirky, but not overly so. The book is told entirely from the perspective of a witty 15-year-old named Oliver Tate, which allows the movie to use a bunch of clever narrative devices, including a couple fantasy montages showing what might or could happen. Submarine is shot through nostalgic eyes but isn’t clearly a period piece, giving the film a timeless quality.

Newcomer Craig Roberts is fantastic in his debut, and Yasmin Paige perfectly walks the fine line between the unromantic playground pyromaniac and the girl next door who just needs someone to connect with. Oliver’s parents Lloyd and Jill are played by the wonderful Noah Taylor (Almost Famous, The Life Aquatic) and Golden Globe-winning actress Sally Hawkins (Happy Go Lucky, Never Let Me Go).

Ayoade has an incredible command of tone, character and cinematic grammar and thus makes it difficult to believe this is first movie. The film will certainly raise the standards for British cinema.   

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