SON OF RAMBOW is the name of the home movie made by two little boys with a big video camera and even bigger ambitions. Set on a long English summer in the early '80s, SON OF RAMBOW is a comedy about friendship, faith and the tough business of growing up. We see the story through the eyes of Will, the eldest son of a fatherless Plymouth Brethren family. The Brethren regard themselves as God's 'chosen ones' and their strict moral code means that Will has never been allowed to mix with the other 'worldlies,' listen to music or watch TV, until he finds himself caught up in the extraordinary world of Lee Carter, the school terror and maker of bizarre home movies. Carter exposes Will to a pirate copy of Rambo: First Blood and from that moment Will's mind is blown wide open and he's easily convinced to be the stuntman in Lee Carters' diabolical home movie. Will's imaginative little brain is not only given chance to flourish in the world of film making, but is also very handy when it comes to...Written by
Hammer & Tongs
Director Garth Jennings says that the round yellow sticker on the back seat of the bicycle Will Proudfoot rides to take Lee Carter home from school was used by the studio Props Department to designate that this prop was reserved for a shoot, but the film crew had neglected to remove it. See more »
When Carter is waiting at a gate, the cow behind him has a yellow id tag in its left ear. ID tags for cows were introduced in the 1990s, after the BSE (Mad Cow) crisis. See more »
Brother William, would you like to read today?
[apprehensively carries Bible into middle of the street and reads]
"O God, our Heavenly Father, who has commanded us to love one another as thy children."
See more »
Mack is listed last among the "Special Thanks To" names and refers to a dog mentioned at 94:45 on the DVD commentary. See more »
Charming if uneven film that is creative and funny at times but poorly structured at others
Will is a creative but ultimately repressed and shy boy whose family are very religious, shunning television and other temptations of the modern world. It is during one of his regular exclusions from class (as they watch a video) that he meets bully Lee Carter, who has been put out of his class for other reasons. Lee gets both boys into trouble and, pretending to get Will off the hook, bullies the weaker boy into coming back to his house and help out with a home movie he is making for the BBC show Screen Test. The film is to be a version of First Blood, which Lee has pirated from the cinema. Seeing the film fires Lee's imagination and he takes no convincing to become Lee's stuntman and lead actor, with the two continuing their strange relationship during the making of it.
Although I understand why, I would almost prefer if I hadn't seen Son of Rambow on every bus that I drove past for the last few weeks and had come to it as a small British film that is "quite good" rather than having a lot of hype and praise lavished onto it. The reason for this is because the film is not brilliant but is actually rather good. It is hard to fault its creativity and the way it brings out the good feeling of children, in a simpler time, letting their imagination run while also trying to deal with the world that is bigger than them and in this regard Son of Rambow does really well. The concept is imaginative and many scenes are a delight as they mix real action with animation, reality with flights of fancy and so on and it is good enough that it is a shame that it doesn't really come together.
The problem comes with the story as this does feel rather disjointed and uneven and it takes away more than it gives. Again, in the sweep it works and I liked the theme of the outsiders, of Will's growth, of superficially strong or popular people being just as insecure than obviously so. However these things are moments and what the film fails to do is convincingly connect it across the running time. So what we tend to get given are fragmented moments of humour, pathos, creativity and so on but with very weak bridging and consistency in between. It is a shame because the moments are strong enough to make me enjoy the film and be frustrated at its unevenness. Fortunately it ends on a good note and left me with a warm feeling but it was still a rocky road to get there.
You will hear it praised to the rafters of course, mainly by viewers who are overjoyed that a British film is made that people want to see and isn't rubbish but, for all its weaknesses the one area the praise is very deserved is in the two main actors. With no tangible experience between them both Milner (Will) and Poulter (Lee) are natural and engaging. OK so Poulter has to be a bully for most of it but this is to his credit that he is able to be this way while also keeping the audience by wearing it like a front. Milner is effective as he does gradually come out of his shell during the film and be a difficult and flawed character himself at one point. Sitruk's Didier is not as good, mainly because he is a visual joke rather than a character and I thought him and his character were a weakness in regards delivering the character-driven story. For all his weaknesses, Jennings cannot be faulted on creativity and he nails childhood imagination throughout.
Son of Rambow produces plenty of wonderful moments as it works with its central concept and it will leave you with a warm feeling inside. Sadly though, it is not a great film and it is a shame that it could not harness its strengths in a more effective and pleasing way because for all its good bits, it just doesn't flow together in a way that is as satisfying or as engaging as it could.
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