Submarine film review

Director            Richard Ayoade

Writer               Richard Ayoade

Lead                  Craig Roberts

Budget              $1.5m

Box Office         $3.8m

Tomatometer    87%

 

Richard Ayoade, star of I.T. Crowd and The Mighty Boosh took to the silver screen in his feature film debut Submarine. The 2010 film stars Craig Roberts as 15-year old misfit Oliver Tate who soon becomes obsessed with fellow pupil Jordana.

As they become boyfriend and girlfriend, Jordana discovers her mother is seriously ill and despite all of this drama and her father breaking down in front of Oliver, he is disaffected by it all. He cuts ties with Jordana out of fear that she might become sentimental.

He begins to think that his mother is having an affair, as they don’t dim the lights, signifying their sexual activity, anymore. The man of her supposed affections is a guru named Graham, played wonderfully by Paddy Considine. Suspecting something’s going on, he is caught trashing Graham’s house and thus kickstarts his downward spiral.

The soundtrack by Alex Turner is absolutely stunning, up there with one of my favourite film soundtracks. Turner described it as “lucky” as he had three or four unused songs at the time and one song, probably Glass in the Park, had a lyric that linked to the film (“when I saw your finger dimming the lights“?) and Ayoade hired Turner on that basis.

Ayoade allows the soundtrack to simply just meander, playing the whole songs on most examples (Stuck on the Puzzle and Glass in the Park) for segments featuring Oliver and Jordana. The dreams of fluorescent adolescence.

The ending, like all great endings should be, isn’t fully positive or negative as the first 90 minutes might linger on suggesting as both characters are left with chunks taken out of them psychologically.

The opening sequence resonated very well with me, where a narcissistic Oliver imagines how people would react to his death. The film kicks off on the right foot and carries on in the same vein as Oliver awkwardly manoeuvers himself into a relationship with Jordana, played well by Yasmin Paige. Paige encapsulates that sort of rebellious but very obviously vulnerable teenage girl superbly.

Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor are so brilliantly awkward as the parents of Oliver Tate, with the former’s character closeness with guru Graham Purvis (Paddy Considine), who is so tremendously obnoxious, almost a polar opposite to his character in Dead Man’s Shoes that I reviewed a few weeks back.

Submarine is a classic coming-of-age tale that sits firmly in the canon of British cinema despite it being Ayoade’s first attempt at directing.

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