My pick this week is the BAFTA-nominated directorial debut of comedian Richard Ayoade, best known by many from his work on the cult television series The IT Crowd.
Submarine is based on a 2008 novel and stars Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor and Paddy Considine. It is mostly a “coming-of-age” story about a teen’s (Roberts) first love (Paige). The “B” story center’s around the youth’s home life and his parents’ (Hawkins, Taylor) complicated relationship, exacerbated by the introduction of when a newcomer (Considine).
Please don’t let my rather pedestrian description deter you, although it generally falls into the aforementioned tried and tested film genre, it is worth a look in thanks to some convincing performances by the entire cast as well as the direction of Ayoade.
(Fun Fact: Submarine was produced by Ben Stiller, who would later co-star with Ayoade in 2012’s The Watch).
Although the film is set in 1986, the cinematography really evokes a feeling (in my opinion anyway) of the previous decade. I may be mixing up my terms here, but there is a combined tea-stained, cinéma vérité look to the film that works very well for me.
Granted, this is definitely not a picture for everyone. Although there are quite the number of funny moments, Submarine maintains a fairly dark tone. I recall one review I read, upon the film’s release, having drawn parallels to another similarly themed coming of age tale, Harold and Maude. Now I cannot directly attest to that, having not seen Harold and Maude except for the odd movie clips, it is a very offbeat outing, so if you like your British comedies on the kookier than usual side, then I suggest you take a look at Submarine.
Also make sure to check out Todd Mason’s blog Sweet Freedom for other overlooked titles.