Cert: 15 Runtime: 97 minsDirector Richard Ayoade Cast: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Page, Noah Taylor, Sally Hawkins and Paddy Considine
This is the moment where you leave him and come with me
One of the utter suprises this summer for me this summer is Richard Ayoade’s first directoral film Submarine. It’s not your typical stereo typical coming of age film. The plot is simple what happens inbetween makes it magical.Precocious Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) struggles with being popular in school but when a dark-haired beauty Jordanna Bevan (Yasmine Page) takes interest in him, he’s determined to become the best boyfriend in the world. Meanwhile, his parents’ Lloyd Tate (Noah Taylor) and Jill Page (Sally Hawkins) already rocky relationship is threatened when his mother’s ex-boyfriend Graham Pervis (Paddy Considine) moves in next door. Oliver makes some unorthodox plans to ensure that his parents stay together and that Jordana still likes him.
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 fantasies about the adoration and attention he’d receive if he died.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.
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.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.8.8/10