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'Submarine' is a wonderfully engaging film. Along with being very
funny, It genuinely understands and insightfully explores, teen anxiety
and communication/perception troubles. While watching it, I felt like I
was experiencing the story first hand. As a result of an artfully made,
endearing and enjoyable experience, the film gently implies a
progressive and positive message.
The film also shows the tremendous versatility and courage of filmmaker Richard Ayoade. 'Submarine' has created its own category, as it's quite different from Ayoade's brilliant TV comedies, It has a very unique, personal language and sensibility, which is equally thrilling and satisfying for the viewers. The casting is perfect as well, each actor makes their character ring with an authentic and lively human truth.
A delight, Highly recommended!
There's nothing better than walking into a screen to see the debut film
by a writer and director one that you have only heard very little
about and walking away 90 minutes later feeling more moved,
entertained and uplifted by a movie than you have been in years.
Perhaps cinema-goers in the mid 1990s had this experience upon seeing Wes Anderson's first film Bottle Rocket. And maybe even those who witnessed Spike Jonze's big screen debut, Being John Malkovich, only a few years later will understand it too. However, for those of you who, like me, were too young to witness the birth of these auteurs of independent cinema then you don't have to worry, because Richard Ayoade's film Submarine is almost as good as both of them put together.
It tells the story of Oliver Tate who is caught at the junction between childhood and adulthood as he struggles with his first feelings of love, desire, heartbreak and must choose what path he wishes to take that'll define who he is for the rest of his life.
Sure, it may sound somewhat similar to all the coming-of-age stories that have hit the cinema recently, but what makes Submarine so special is Richard Ayoade's ability to capture the essence of growing up; the joy, the optimism and the tenderness alongside all the angst, confusion and depression too. I defy anyone to not see themselves plastered up on that silver screen in the film's opening as Oliver fantasises about the adoration and attention he'd receive if he died.
The ups and downs of this British comedy are mainly due to Ayoade's wonderful screenplay and direction that are touching yet never slip into sentimentality - he often playfully pokes fun at it in many cases but what also deserves credit are the poignant score by Arctic Monkey's singer Alex Turner, the cinematography that effortlessly shifts between comic framing and beautiful imagery and the note-perfect performances by the entire cast.
Craig Roberts plays Oliver Tate in a star-making performance that will surely see him become one of Britain's finest young actors in the next few years. His character is a complex, multifaceted one yet he is able to make it wholly believable. Similarly outstanding is Yasmin Page as his love interest Jordana. It's essential to the story that she is a mystery to Oliver for much of Submarine's opening half, only revealing the reasons why she is so rebellious, unromantic and mischievous in the final act, and Page brilliantly portrays this with a careful mix of enigma, seductiveness and humanity.
What also excels Ayoade's film from being just another British coming of age story is the stylishness of his direction. Presented in the fashion of a French New Wave film like Jules Et Jim or A Bout De Soufflé he gives Submarine an aurora of quirkiness and creativity that you rarely find in British cinema. The "kitchen sink" is gone and has been replaced by jump cuts, inventive sound design and a somewhat disjointedness.
This style, moreover, helps to complement the personality of our aforementioned protagonist who sees the world in a unique way to everyone else.
So what lies in the future for British cinema? Some could argue that it's the big dramas like The King's Speech, others could argue that it's the low budget affairs like Monsters and many will say that it's spectacles like Harry Potter. However, on the evidence that Richard Ayoade presents here, Submarine might just be a glimpse of the great things to come.
We had the pleasure of seeing and listening to Richard Ayoade in person
at last night's screening at the Glasgow Film Festival.
I am normally a bit scared of coming-of-age movies, mainly because of potential cheesiness and annoying child actors but Submarine managed to an accurate, funny portrayal of the hell of teenage UK school life. There were some slightly Adrian Mole-esque moments but that's not a bad thing.
The audience at the screening seemed to think that the whole thing was a rip-roaring comedy and laughed at points which were obviously supposed to be more poignant or sad. Overall, however, the tone is one of wry comedy at the horrors of growing up and even subjects such as brain tumors & divorce are treated as lightly heartedly as possible.
Don't be put off that Ben Stiller's production company was behind funding the film - it has nothing in common with a Hollywood teen movie. One of the best British films we have seen.
A wonderful debut feature from Richard Ayoade with two sensational
principal performances out of nowhere making it happen. I loved the way
this film wore itself lightly, with a surface wit and nouvelle-vague
jump-cut skip to its step. At the same time deep - Submarine deep? -
things are stirring, not least in the uncompromising but nicely pitched
score by Andrew Hewitt.
Submarine is a film that borrows the spirit but not the meat of ideas from other films. Woody Allen's diaphanous urban romances are clearly a touchstone (Oliver has a sketch of Allen above his bed). Ayoade's sensibility extends the comedy without making the reprisal bittersweetness too heavy. Everything is similarly tempered, compassionate. I laughed at characters (Paddy Considine's new age numpty being the obvious target) but never with the scowl that attends Mike Leigh's sightline.
Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige have a decade of acting work behind them but I've never heard of them before. There's no excuse to be had any longer. Both of them are simply outstanding. Paige manages to be that ideal, semi-opaque teenage girl twisting between knowing the secrets of the world and a contradictory fragility. Roberts - the prima inter pares, it's his story - pulls off the dead-pan without simply being dead look (and also has a wonderful, heart-rending running style). Between them they manage a wonderful updating of the parochial romance of the movies of Bill Forsyth, like Local Hero and, of course, Gregory's Girl.
It's not without its shortcomings. It's a rather tightly wound film in places, with meaning in frames where perhaps it would benefit from being allowed to breathe. However it really is a four-star debut and deserves a warm reception. 7.5/10
Whilst watching Richard Ayoade playing uber-nerd Moss in the hit-and-
miss sitcom The IT Crowd, or playing TV producer and actor Dean Lerner
in the criminally underrated Garth Merenghi's Darkplace, the last thing
I pictured him doing was confidently directing a feature-length film. I
don't mean to knock him, as I've always felt he was an extremely
talented comedy performer and writer, and he brightens up whatever he
appears in, no matter how crap the material. But here he has focused
all his ambition, influences and talent into creating a truly memorable
Tate (Craig Roberts), a strange, intelligent and unnervingly confident schoolboy who falls for an equally strange girl Jordana (Yasmin Paige). After an incident which sees Oliver reluctantly participate in a spot of casual bullying that causes a girl to fall into a muddy pond, Oliver and Jordana begin their unusual romance. All seems to be going well until Oliver suspects his mother Jill (Sally Hawkins) of having an affair with cheesy self-help guru Graham (Paddy Considine), who lives next door. His father Lloyd (Noah Taylor) is so passive and uncaring that he is practically a zombie, and so Oliver takes it upon himself to rescue his parent's broken marriage whilst holding his own fragile relationship together.
The film arrives amidst critical praise and festival word-of-mouth, and the promise of a real future talent in director Richard Ayoade. I'm pleased to announce that the film is every bit as good as I've heard. I had my doubts, concerned with the film's 'quirky indie comedy' tag that films are so lazily lumbered with these days. But while the film is quirky, indie and a comedy, it finds its influences lying elsewhere - from the greatest of all film movements, the French New Wave. From the start this is clear with the Godard-esque large lettering with strong colours for the opening credits and title cards. Everything about the film screams New Wave, from its stylistic boldness, self-awareness, and even the unconventionally handsome and turtle-neck-wearing leading man.
One of the main strengths of the film is it's awareness of slipping into cliché. The quirkiness and magic of the French New Wave have been copied and ripped-off so often that nowadays when it is used it can come across as pretentious. But Oliver's intelligence and amusing voice-over frequently touches on this. At the start of his relationship with Jordana, they spend their days on the beach and frequenting industrial wastelands, and Oliver comments that he will put these moments in his 'Super 8 memories', cue shots of the couple running and laughing on the beach, shot in that grainy, home-video look. He also fantasises that he is in a film, and that the film will end up with him searching for Jordana on a beach and how it will end in an arty-farty, pretentious manner aimed to encourage discussion among chin-strokers. It's a great little trick and you have to admire the film's refreshing self- assurance.
The film is also very, very funny, with Craig Roberts proving an extremely talented comedy performer, all pale-skinned, wide-eyed awkwardness, and a pronounced, high pitched voice that almost resembles many of Ayoade's TV characters. The humour is often similar in style to Wes Anderson's (dare I say it?) indie comedies, which are some of the best comedies, if not films, to come out in the last fifteen years. Most of the humour stems from Oliver's increasing desperation to lose his virginity to Jordana, especially in one scene where they find themselves home alone, only for Oliver to light candles around his bed, and lie open-legged on his side in a cheesy pose. Jordana, with her eyes closed waiting for the surprise, opens them and deadpans 'f****n' hell, you're a serial killer.'
A real gem, and a film that definitely introduces the potentially massive talent of director Richard Ayoade, star Craig Roberts, and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner, who performs the wonderful music. And also a rare opportunity to see some of the beautiful sights of Swansea, where I currently reside.
Dead pan humour is the order of the day with Submarine. Understated
lines such as "my mum gave a hand job to a mystic" could go unnoticed
by an inattentive audience; every exchange has a hidden reward if
picked up on. There are of course obvious jokes throughout, however the
true comedy is found in Oliver Tate's voice over and interactions.
Casting Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate was a masterstroke and much of the film's success is based on his performance. The imaginative and peculiar schoolboy analyses everything, often conjuring up fictional events which parody mainstream movies. In one such hypothetical situation he sees Jordana (Yasmin Paige) by the shore and runs to her, meanwhile his narration explains that it isn't her standing there, a stranger turns around.
Submarine is a simple coming of age story, without the solid plot of the British film veterans. A little slow paced on occasion, it could have done with an extra thread of story. In essence the narrative follows two strands, the relationship between Oliver and Jordana and between Oliver and his family. Trying to date Jordana and reignite the spark between his parents isn't a small task, not that that fazes Oliver.
Submarine is devilishly funny, a true gem and I hope it doesn't stay under the radar of most cinema goers for much longer.
"Submarine" is Welsh. It opens, at least in North America it does, with
a letter from its protagonist (Oliver) to Americans; educating us that
Wales is a country located next to England. Although thankful that
America has not yet invaded his country, Oliver informs us that this is
an important film which we should treat with the utmost respect.
Don't worry, it's okay to laugh; you're supposed to. This is a teen coming-of-age comedy. Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is like a young, Welsh hero of a Wes Anderson film. Gangly and awkward he struggles with popularity in school, but when he imagines his own funeral, the entire country mourns. He bullies one girl to try and impress another but then writes a long letter not so much repenting his guilt but teaching her how to be cool. The dialogue, like Oliver, is precocious but hilarious with a surprisingly fresh feel considering how tired the genre has become.
Oliver tries to win the girl and become the best boyfriend in the world, and he also has to be the best son in the world to save his parents' marriage. In both adventures, he uses psychology books (usually found in routine searches of his parents' bedroom) to ensure his actions accurately reflect his intentions. If you can guess how his plans may go awry, then you are the right audience for this very funny film.
His father, Lloyd (Noah Taylor) is a depressed marine biologist, while his mother Jill (Sally Hawkins) is inappropriately attracted to their neighbour, an old boyfriend of hers. He's a mystic, theatrical performer, and Oliver and Lloyd are the only ones that see it for the nonsense that it is. Lloyd is like a grown-up, Welsh hero of a Wes Anderson film and I loved how they included the father of the protagonist as a main character and showed that although he was more mature, still not any more in tune with the ways of the world around him.
It has some slightly dark twists, but "Submarine" succeeds because it never lets up the humour or the quirky tone. Funny? Yes. Important? No, but I certainly get the joke.
Greetings again from the darkness. A UK version of a teen comedy is
quite a different experience than a US teen comedy. Maybe it's the
source material from Joe Dunthorne's novel or maybe it's the deft touch
of first time director Richard Ayoade. Either way, there is much more
depth and emotion involved here ... not just sight gags.
The two leads are Craig Roberts as Oliver and Yasmin Paige as Jordana. Watching the way these two work so hard at not appearing to like each other perfectly captures the teen dance. Once they do get together, the film does a nice job of creating those perfect moments of doubt, discovery and subtle humiliation.
Oliver is carrying quite the burden. He strives to be the perfect boyfriend, but is also very concerned about the slow collapse of his parents' marriage. This problem is enhanced when his mom's old lover moves in across the street. Graham Purvis is some self-proclaimed mystic healer who somehow gets people to pay attention to his words, despite driving around town in a van with his face painted on the side.
Oliver's parents are played by Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins. Taylor is superb as the quietly suffering loner who has no concept of what makes a relationship. Hawkins is the disillusioned wife eager to recapture the magic of her youth ... even if it is with a goofball mystic played by Paddy Considine.
I have to point out that Craig Roberts, who plays Oliver, is the spitting image of a young Bud Cort ... and even has some of Cort's mannerisms from the classic Harold and Maude. Mostly Oliver and Jordana are just two regular teenagers fighting angst, depression and self-doubt, not to mention REAL issues like disinterested parents and a very sick mother. Turns out, being a teen is every bit as tough in the UK as it is in the US ... but the dialogue is much better!
I had the pleasure of seeing this film at The Toronto film festival a few nights ago and I absolutely loved it! I had no expectations going in, since it was the directorial debut for Richard Ayoade. He did a wonderful job with this film. It was beautifully shot and directed and the cast, although unknowns to me were unbelievably good! I didn't understand a few jokes since I didn't understand a bit of the British humour, but most of the jokes were universally understandable which is great. Overall I gave it a 9 out of 10 and I can't wait until it gets distributed worldwide so I can see it again. I hope Richard Ayoade starts working on another film soon, because I'm excited to see what else he can do.
Most teen romance coming-of-age movies are completely predictable,
especially the American ones. High school student, Oliver Tate, as
played by Craig Roberts, reminded of an equally quirky Dustin Hoffman
in "The Graduate." He wanders throughout this comedy with a wisdom far
greater than those around him. He spies on his very strange mother &
father and tries to keep a relationship with his girlfriend,
Jordana(Yasmin Paige) going with very mixed results.
Writer-Director Richard Ayoade does a great job of keeping the pace moving with no wasted moments & a dialogue that is both witty & believable at the same time.
If you are in the mood for a film which will make you smile and even bring back some childhood memories, this a perfect choice; Ayoade is to be commended for a wonderful movie & I eagerly await his next project.
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