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Cinema Review: Submarine

April 4, 2011

There are many reasons to bemoan the recent abolition of the UK Film Council, and Submarine may just be one of the biggest.  Without funding from the Film Council, film audiences may well have been deprived of one of the best British films for years. 

Written and directed by Richard Ayoade (perhaps best known as Moss from Channel 4’s The IT Crowd), Submarine is simply superb; a funny, inventive delight of a film.  It follows the trials and tribulations of Oliver Tate, a somewhat unique 15 year old, as he attempts to establish a relationship with long-time crush Jordana, all the while fighting to keep his parents’ marriage from falling apart.  Oliver and Jordana make for an instantly memorable couple, both misfits trying to manoeuvre their way through teenage angst and family issues.  Both are portrayed brilliantly by newcomers Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige, who manage to balance dry comic timing with real teenage emotion.  The rest of the cast are also outstanding, with special mention going to Noah Taylor for his portrayal of Oliver’s depressed, awkward father. 

The real star of the show, though, is Ayoade.  His script is magnificent, full of dark humour and real pathos, with each character well-rounded, interesting and believable.  His direction, meanwhile, is bold, quirky and imaginative.  It’s hard to think of many directorial debuts as poised and confident as this.  The use of colour, music and camera techniques all blend together to create a wonderful, memorable whole…and the exciting thing is, at 33 years of age, he’s only going to get better.  If there was any justice in the world, this would be a huge hit.


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