Director: Richard Ayoade
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine, Noah Taylor
Duration: 1 hour 37 minutes
Richard Ayoade has a dream CV. Best known as the geek ‘Moss’ from The IT Crowd he also wears a writer/director cap, for the show Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and many music videos for bands such as; the Artic Monkeys, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Vampire Weekend. Now with his debut feature, Submarine, it’s clear he’s very confident that side of the camera.
Adapted from a Joe Dunthorne novel, Submarine is about 15-year-old Oliver Tate (a fantastic find with the lovable Craig Roberts) a quiet, head in the clouds sorta fella, trying to make sense of his first relationship with the beguiling Jordan (Yasmin Paige), who’s a tad dangerous and seems, at any moment, capable of ripping his head off. His parent’s relationship problems keep interfering with him being a good boyfriend though. Their lack of sex is a worry. Routine searches of their bedroom reveal the dimmer switch hasn’t been dimmed in a long time. Not to mention the threat of his mother’s past lover living next door threatening her virtue. With his parent’s marriage at stake along with his relationship with Jordon things start to get messy.
Besides Roberts being so utterly adorable (the male Zooey Deschanel anyone?), Ayoade has gathered some stellar indie actors like Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins who play Oliver’s oddball parents. Taylor is fantastic, like an overgrown boy, drowning in his corduroy suit, sporting a shaggy beard and getting some of the films best scenes. Also the brilliantly versatile Paddy Considine plays (somewhat over the top) the leather pants wearing, cheesy neighbour.
Oliver wishes his life were more exciting and that a film crew would follow him around making his memories beautiful. That proves handy as now it’s time to employ colourful visual devices as he re-imagines his relationship through rose tinted glasses and super 8 rushes. Ayoade displays the best of his talents clearly showing his roots. The comic timing and pace are spot on but with long music sequences it frequently feels like your watching a music video. Admitably though if you have Alex Turner writing songs for your film it would be rude not to play them all the way through.
Though it’s certainly funny and entertaining there is nothing overtly new being done. With elements and tricks seemingly borrowed from the likes of ‘Rushmore’ and ‘Scott Pilgrim Vs the World’ to name a few this film is just not original enough to be brilliant. Ayoade recently wrote this in the Guardian: ‘It’s disappointing when Wes Anderson’s name is lazily employed as an adjective in order to label something “quirky” (a word used by the same kind of people who would describe Jamiroquai as “funky”)…He is a master film-maker and should not be consigned to the ghetto of quirk.’
Hmmm, that just makes this harder to say but if you have to borrow, it makes sense to borrow from the best right? And yes, Jamiroquai are shit .