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I recently took this movie in at the 2007 Sundance film festival and am
quite glad that I made the effort to sneak this little gem in. The
movie was made by the very talented Garth Jennings of the famed music
video production team Hammer and Tongs known for their visionary music
videos and previously Hitcherhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Set in an
average English town in 1982 the movie revolves around the interesting
life of a 12-13 year old boy named Will whose family is part of a
strict religious group that prohibits him from having any friends
outside the group and strictly forbids him from watchings any TV or
Movies. Without these usual sources of childhood entertainment Will
finds other ways to pass the time, namely in drawing out his
flourishing imagination that he scribbles and doodles all over the
pages of his bible. One day Will unexpectedly crosses paths with the
school terror Carter who also happens to be an amateur bootlegger at
the local movie theater. Will, whose never seen a movie before is
caught off guard when at Carters home he sees Rambo playing on the TV,
the visuals of the movie explode in Will's imaginative mind and from
there on out Will is forever changed. An unlikely friendship begins
between Will and Carter as they begin production on Carter's home movie
masterpiece, Son of Rambow. The two children begin coming closer before
their friendship is tested by a new-wave French exchange student Didier
Revolve. As the friendship between Will and Carter begins getting
twisted so does his relationship with his family, as the church group
starts taking notice of Wills more worldly interests. In the end Will
must stay true to himself and the film must go on.
The performances by all the children were exceptional, especially Carter who is the movie's sparkplug and provides comic relief frequently. As well as Didier the french exchange student who is a text book example of how absurd the whole new wave trends of the day were, his appearances are all wildly amusing. The movie also has a fair amount of quirky animations and dream sequences that offer visual pleasures for the eyes and bring childhood doodles to life. The movie is just a brilliant little idea and it plays out so very well in all the settings and the characters are extremely likable in all manners, the movie should play great for almost all ages
I was lucky enough to see this film at a private screening in London
and i'm happy to say it really does live up to the hype. You can see
why Paramount bought this film for $8 million (a record for any film
being bought at Sundance) as they will surely make ten times that.
This film has something for everyone; laughter, emotion and enough nostalgic material from the 80's to keep any generation from that decade and previous ones happy.
I was also extremely impressed with the two young unknown (at the point of this review) leads. It's worth seeing this film just for their performances.
The film the two boys make within the film is quite charming too and is itself better than most of the crap being made today, even if it is essentially a home movie being filmed in some woods with a camcorder.
Quite simply a modern day classic and will no doubt hold a space in all film buffs DVD collection.
If you sometimes feel like all you watch are big-budget 'blockbuster'
movies this is the film to remind you what movie-making should be.
Attended a preview screening this week, and can't wait for the weekend so I can go back and watch it again. The screening was packed, and the general reaction definitely agreed with my own.
There are several 'laugh-out-loud' moments, from the opening titles, to the touching climax, and at many points in between, in a well written, perfectly paced film. I am someone who goes to a lot of movies, and sometimes find myself checking my watch, but this draws you in from the start, and it never loses you.
Probably has most appeal for those , like myself, who were in the UK in the 80's but I'm sure it has appeal for all, and hope the two leads go on to further success in the future. There is an innocent charm about the lead pairing, and the movie as a whole, that should transcend national and cultural boundaries.
A fairly straightforward story of friendship, rebellion, and creativity
becomes an outlandish ride through comic absurdity thanks to a bevy of
inventively eccentric characters clashing with the notions of order. A
kid's movie with a mix of laugh-out-loud moments and weirdly clever
ones, Son of Rambow plays out like an Eagle and Shark vs. Terabithia
where unconventional morals collide with redeeming themes and several
Sheltered to the point of solitude by an overprotective mother and a smothering religion, young William (Bill Milner) resorts to expressing his creativity in elaborate illustrations in unlikely places. His diminutive world is forever changed when he crosses paths with school troublemaker Lee Carter, who bullies him into helping film an amateur action movie. Initially reluctant, his outlook changes after unintentionally viewing a bootlegged tape of First Blood. The explosive violence and unrestrained mayhem ignites Will's imagination, and an unlikely friendship forms when the mismatched duo set about making "Son of Rambow." The storyline follows a rather predictable progression, but what makes the film unique is the multitude of exaggerated stereotypes and off-the-wall characters. Will's heavily sheltered childhood has created an introvert desperate to escape the confines of his lifestyle, and he is alternately eccentric and sweetly innocent. Conniving and obnoxious terror Carter is contrary to Will in almost every way. Clearly a product of his disruptive upbringing, he rebels against authority as often as possible and scoffs at the idea of order. Both boys suffer from a common ailment the lack of a father figure and a stable home, and watching their friendship grow is easily the most entertaining aspect of the film. Complementing these two are several conflicted characters whose eccentricities easily rival their own. Most notably is Didier, a French foreign exchange student whose outrageous style and attitude awes the English boys into forming a cult of followers. Even many of the teachers and the no-nonsense Brother Joshua seem infused with peculiar traits in their personalities.
While the most recognizable themes of staying true to one's heart and the bonds of friendship readily exist on the surface, more unconventional morals frequent the underlying story. In this offbeat tale of growing up, rebellion is viewed as comical and a necessary implement for combating the evils of order. Religion is shown as a suppressing tool of control, confining both creativity and imagination, as well as forbidding socializing with those outside the faith. Rarely in kid's movies do we see religion as the villain and rebellion the key to success.
Paralleling the overactive imaginations of youth, the fantastical characters and events are both the highlight of the film and it's only downside. So often the visuals and madcap occurrences will leave you torn between laughing out loud and raising an eyebrow in bewilderment. In the end, this refreshingly bizarre take on the delirium of growing up entertains with its unconventional characters and antics plus, seeing a dead crow knock a kid off his bike never fails to amuse.
- Joel Massie
Son of Rambow, set in 1980's England, tells the story of two young
schoolboys making a home-video addition to the Rambo series. This
promising theme gives rise to one of the most hilarious comedies in
recent cinema, memorable not only for countless laugh-out-loud moments
but also for its engaging and unexpectedly moving story.
Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) and Lee Carter (Will Poulter) are a chalk and cheese pairing, thrown together by chance after being summoned to detention at school. Will, from a fatherless family in the grip of the austerely religious Brethren, is a heart-warmingly polite boy harbouring a boundlessly artistic imagination; Carter, from a parentless household, is a lonely rebel with a total lack of respect for everyone except his astoundingly self-absorbed brother, marvellously played by Ed Westwick. And yet, following their chance encounter, the situation where naïve and amiable Will is exploited by sharp-witted and seemingly cynical Carter is replaced by mounting empathy and friendship between the two, alternately spurred and severed by their family backgrounds and their turbulent film-making.
The two leads are remarkable debut actors, making the story touching and believable and realising the film's comic potential. Poulter is hilarious in the role of Carter, delivering stinging wit and outraged putdowns with aplomb. The shooting of the film provides some hysterical contrasts between grown-up pretensions and childlike absurdity, with gun-battle sequences ripped straight from 'Rambo: First Blood' interspersed with footage of a flying dog attack.
The overlapping secondary story, portraying the school-playground infatuation with the New Wave style of French exchange student Didier, is also a rich seam of humour; the stinging parody of teenage culture culminates in Will and Carter's visit to the school common room, populated by posing, pogoing teens. The supporting cast of adults also includes some fine comic actors, including Jessica Stevenson (notably of TV comedy Spaced) and Adam (of the Adam and Joe Show fame).
Writer-director Garth Jennings skilfully weaves together the overlapping worlds of children, teenagers and adults in this film with excellent dialogue and cinematography. The camera-work is striking in many places, particularly the opening montage of front gardens, with Lee riding his bike past and casually causing havoc. The film also benefits from its bubbly soundtrack, composed by Joby Talbot. This is a superb comedy and definitely the best Rambo film ever.
It helped that I'd been warned to expect something a little more
substantial than just a Rambo spoof (apparently suggested by trailers
and bus advertising), which is possibly why my flatmate's boyfriend
didn't enjoy it.
That doesn't mean though that guys won't enjoy this film as much as my girlfriends and I did. It follows similar themes to 'Stand by Me' (the classic starring River Phoenix), such as childhood loyalty and comradeship, but in a typically British fashion with understated humour, quirky comedy, and some nice references to 80s Britain.
Genuine laugh out loud moments, poignant and uplifting, and it can also just be appreciated as a well made film, with good acting, dialogue and direction.
When I saw the trailer for this film, it looked like another corny British comedy. The film itself is much, much better than that, as someone else has said it feels more like a Michael Gondry film. Very idiosyncratic, quirky and confident in what it does, with many laugh-out-loud moments. What I enjoyed most of all was how some really nice themes and subplots started to innocently dovetail with the story, never feeling contrived, or overly sentimental. There were some great touches where the writer/director chose to imply or suggest something without going overboard - which makes for a much more warming experience than the usual obvious and clunky approach in British screen writing. The acting was superb. This film will appeal to many, many people for different reasons - I just hope they are encouraged and inspired enough to go and see it. I hope that word of mouth does this film the justice it deserves. Go see it!!
I had high hopes for this film as it's very much the era I grew up in.
I too wanted to send a film for 'Screen Test' (an 80s UK film quiz show for children's TV with a regular slot for home-made films) though I didn't get tosee Sly eating snakes and stitching up his arm till much later.
I'm happy to say that it didn't disappoint at all. The performances were wonderful (especially the young leads) and as well as having more than its fair share of laugh out loud moments, there's a real warmth and emotional truth to this story of friendship, growing up and blowing stuff up.
I really hope 'Son Of Rambow' is the hit it deserves to be.
This movie just screened at the Florida Film Festival in Orlando, Fl. The crowd applauded, laughed and cheered throughout. This should be a big hit if it has a wide release in May. I loved the fact the film was set in the mid-80's, when I was also a student in junior high school. The soundtrack to the film was a lot of fun with hits by Depeche Mode and Cars by Gary Neuman. Also, I swear that I saw the band members of Travis in a scene shot in the faculty lounge of the school. I think the film is equally rewarding for both children and adults and will also be appreciated by anyone who love the art of cinema. I honestly can't imagine anyone not being moved and amused by this little film.
Greetings again from the darkness. The Sundance favorite is finally
making the rounds and I found this to be a very entertaining and
charming film, despite its relative simplicity.
A semi-autobiographical piece from writer/director Garth Jennings ("The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"), the film focuses on the escapades of two young boys making a movie. Along the way, many topics are addressed ... family, religion, friendship, loyalty, idol-worship, etc.
Bill Milner (as Will Proudfoot) and Will Poulter (as Lee Carter) are the newcomers who play the boys. Poulter is a near reincarnation of River Phoenix as Chris Chambers ("Stand By Me") as he carries so much bottled up emotion stemming from his longing for attention. Milner's character is the more sensitive, creative type being suffocated by his family's religion. Quite a pair.
As a commentary on film and celebrity, the two boy's world is rocked when their film-making is discovered. Now everyone wants a piece including the French exchange student, Didier, played hysterically well by Jules Sitruk. Character issues to follow!
The boys are so endearing that most kids would enjoy the film and certainly most adults who were still growing up in the 80's will get a kick out of it.
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