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I'm actually really surprised, recognising Roger Spottiswoode's name
but totally forgetting he was the director behind The 6th Day, James
Bond's Tomorrow Never Dies and another animal buddy movie, Turner &
Hooch. I haven't seen any of his work since The 6th Day and I'm not
sure why, but I'm surprised to find him behind the camera for this one.
Maybe because it's a British film of a British story, me possibly
expecting a Brit to be director? Regardless, he's a great choice as
director, especially with his experience of working with animals on
This one being a stray ginger tomcat that gets named Bob after finding recovering drug-addict, James Bowen, played brilliant by Luke Treadaway. Now, this busker and Bob is somewhat of a London legend, how the two become inseparable and skirt about town busking and selling magazines on the streets of touristy London, hitting national and local papers and well, the outcome is fairly obvious, book deal and a film to boot.
Though there were quite a few cats used to play the part of Bob, it is nice to know that the real Bob actually did quite a bit of filming. Him being the real life littlest hobo that gladly doesn't choose to move on. And the real life James Bowen getting his rightly deserved cameo with a clever line of dialogue.
Working with animals is something you get warned about when on set but Spottiswoode certainly has a majesty way of capturing the character of our furry friends whether it be a Dogue De Bordeaux or a polar bear cub. It can't be an easy task and most have taken dozens of takes to get the right frame and the editing is superbly done with animal POV perspectives and clever camera work.
Treadaway gives a brilliant, believable and powerful performance conveying the hopelessness, torment and desperation effortlessly. Ruta Gedmintas also adding some colour to the film supported by some good British casting. It's amazing to watch the bond form between Bob and James as they both tend to each other.
Another two elements that stand out about this film is the music, the busking songs performed by Treadaway himself, which help tell the story though slightly disappointed it's music written for the film and not songs original to the busking, though, the songs are catchy and full of heart, much like the movie. The other element being London itself, the sights and the not so nice parts of the city actually give a real feel, either though bleak.
What's so magical about this story is that it has come to this, and that it's a true story of hope, companionship and cosmic justice. It's heartfelt, touching and feel good; Perfectly paced, enchanting and enjoyable. Not just a movie for cat fans.
Running Time: 9 The Cast: 8 Performance: 9 Direction: 9 Story: 9 Script: 8 Creativity: 9 Soundtrack: 8 Job Description: 10 The Extra Bonus Points: 10 for Bob, and his and James' incredible story. Would I buy the Bluray?: Yes.
As an avid cat lover I was always going to enjoy this movie. And as a
person who myself suffered an addiction, and am in recovery, I totally
related to the Lead Character in every way. Whilst dealing with the
subject of addiction is a very difficult issue to cover, I thought this
movie covered it well. Highlighting the lead character's isolation,,
detachment from the outside World and people in general........and the
redemption he found by meeting Bob, a wandering cat, who just happened
to enter his life.
The touching story line that involved the developing relationship between him and Bob was beautifully told. The cat made him smile again, gave him a reason to live. His social skills with people were not good but with the cat, he became stronger and happier as each day passed.
This was a wonderfully uplifting film I related to on so many levels. Excellent acting, and Bob the cat. was the best of them !
This film was one of the most heartwarming films I have watched in a long while. Although the cat is the main focus of the film, it is more than just about a cat. This film also makes you consider the homeless community in London and how the drug culture on the streets is not something to be ignored. It also aids a good understanding of heroine on the streets, and the recovery process in becoming clean. This film allows a better understanding of how just because someone is homeless, it doesn't mean they are hopeless; sometimes all they need is help, guidance, and a friend along the way, human or animal. The film also made me reflect on how we are so affected by animals and how having animals in our society helps us come together and understand each other better. Although some scenes made me angry, it also promotes awareness of how the homeless are shamed and how humans in general behave around the less fortunate.
I bet this gets terrible reviews from the critics, because it has no ambitions except to tell (and embroider) a tale of real life (itself embroidered a little, OK...) . Anyway I just got home from seeing it, and it is no great work of art ... but it is a very enjoyable movie based more or less on a true story. If I had a criticism it would say cut the mouse (totally irrelevant to the film, but then I'm not a cat). If I wanted to heap praises I would say that Luke Treadaway does the main human role fantastically, Bob is pretty impeccable except for the dubbing, and Rute Gedmintas is incredibly lovely as the (fictitious?) love interest. If only Luke & Ruta could have ridden off into the Islington sunset together .... they seemed made for each other.
Whilst I'm not usually drawn to writing reviews I'd just like to add that I thoroughly enjoyed this along with my young teenage children and partner, yes we all love cats which possibly helped but really, the acting was very good, the characters were believable and engaging, the story had our attention and whilst sadly the cinema wasn't exactly what you'd call full, those present loved it also. I've since read that the script lacked 'good grammar' and was too simplistic, whilst I may not have been Cambridge educated I thought that it was in keeping with the subject and none of our party felt it lacked anything, quite the opposite in fact. A movie which 'touched' us all and I'll be recommending this to friends and family. The best film since Eddie The eagle!!
This film offers almost exactly what you would expect it to and there's
nothing wrong with that. We've seen better movies about the trials of
homelessness, the tortures involved in getting clean from heroin,
especially the latter when it's worth remembering this is a 12A
certificate and so the horrors experienced by the main character can't
be quite as lurid, nightmarish and unsettling as those depicted in
Otherwise, this adaptation of James Bowen's autobiography, his account of how he was saved by the unlikely companionship of Bob, is pretty likable stuff. Luke Treadaway's performance is perfectly fine; his depiction of a drug user who's lost everything and is living rough comes across as credible enough. If there's a sense of fantasy about the effect Bob has on his fortunes - Londoners react to Bob as though they've never seen a cat before - then you just have to go with it to an extent. The film makes it clear that Bob personifies James's salvation, and it was a lovely detail to discover one of the feline actors playing the cat was none other than Bob himself.
Anthony Head doesn't need to do much to play James's estranged father, but he handles the emotional turmoil hidden beneath the character's austere exterior really well. Joanne Froggatt and THE STRAIN's Ruta Gedmintas are memorable as James's doctor and distant love interest respectively. The latter is a bit too obviously 'hippy chick' but she just about gets away with it, and I respected that the romantic undertones of her story line climaxed in a bittersweet, realistic way.
For me, this is up there with EDDIE THE EAGLE as a title that won't win any awards and will never slay the box office, but it made me feel better for having seen it. I'm looking forward to reading Bowen's book now. And I once knew a cat called Bob - a more affectionate and avuncular friend I don't think I've ever had.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have read the books and was looking forward to the film. I wasn't
disappointed. The film is very true to the books and shows James's dire
situation with care and no punches pulled. It doesn't skirt around
James's turbulent life of drugs but shows it in a very humane way.
I loved the camera work, we get to see life from Bobs point of view on many occasions. This film gives hope to many people and shows that the love of an animal can pull a person out of the brink of despair.
A plus for me is there are no F words which I feel ruin a film.
Luke did a brilliant job of portraying James. And of course Bob is just a star! it was nice to see James make a small guest appearance himself. I can't wait to add it to my DVD collection!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I've seen a lot of bad reviews for this film and honestly they're
It's been criticised for not being gritty enough, being "featherweight" and lacking in conflict. To me this just speaks to a deeply pretentious need to be shocked - a film about someone who's suffered doesn't have to show every hardship in gory detail. Yes, there's a place for visceral, gruelling, Trainspotting-esque masterpieces that hit home the sheer horror and hopelessness of homelessness and drug addiction in the UK, but that's not the only kind of film that's allowed to exist.
This film isn't aimed at film critics looking for a cinematic thrill, it's aimed at a (dun dun duuuun) mainstream audience, and it has a very different objective. You aren't supposed to leave feeling like you've been there, you're supposed to leave feeling like there's hope. It makes you want to (and feel like you can) help. That's the kind of film that encourages people to donate, volunteer, generally do good. That's a worthwhile thing.
The strength of the film is its moments of kindness. Many claim that the film doesn't "hit home" because the sad bits weren't sad enough and the scary bits weren't scary enough. It hit home for me. It had me holding back tears on multiple occasions, but it did so when it was happy. The bit where the woman who chatted to James and Bob early on gives them some tuna and a knitted cat scarf, the bit where Betty gives James one of her brother's paintings (something irreplaceable that she clearly treasures), James's Father's face (fantastic performance by Anthony Head btw) when James tells him he's clean. This film is brazenly kind, the overwhelming message is one that people are good.
Yes, it's cheesy at times, but it isn't patronising. James is someone you empathise with, not sympathise. You don't feel sorry for him. I think this film set out to do something very different than what professional film critics look for. I think it succeeded in that, and I think that's just as worthwhile as the lofty artistic ambitions of grittier cinema.
Sorry for this review being more of a response to criticism than a discussion of the film's merits, I just think this film deserves to be stood up for.
This film connects you with the realities of street life and addiction,
but without the excessive angst, despair and high melodrama which is
typical of the genre. Because of this the storytelling feels very
realistic, very honest. Obviously what distinguishes this story is Bob
himself - I'm not a cat fanatic but it is obvious that Bob is a very
unique personality. Yet in keeping with the low key feel of the film,
they do not overly anthropomorphize Bob himself - he is a cat who has
adopted a human, plain and simple.
This film deserves a wider distribution - it is unrated but I would suggest pg13. There is much more to this film that Bob the cat, but you should see the film and reach you own conclusions. If nothing else it may help you think differently, more sympathetically, about street people and street cats.
A Street Cat Named Bob was a surprise for me.
I think Roger Spottiswoode's extensive directing experience and meticulous casting make this work by never relenting intensity. I don't think there could have been a better casted lead; Luke Treadaway is brilliant but more important, believable. His singing, real or sync'd, is just stellar and heartfelt. Joanne Froggatt also adds realism but Betty, Ruta Gedmintas, is probably a bit too good looking for the overall feel of the film but she's great nevertheless.
Sure, it's yet another down-on-their-luck story but, being closely based on true events, I found it gripping and real with dialogue that's cinematic but believable. There are moments in the film where my disbelief was certainly suspended.
If you are an animal person, the film may be even more rewarding.
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