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I stumbled upon this movie in the local independent movie theatre back in 2010 when it was raining outside and there was nothing else on to watch. I'm so glad I took the chance, as it allowed me to discover this excellent little British gem.
'Submarine' is based off of Joe Dunthorne's (also excellent but also different) book of the same name and follows 15 year old Oliver Tate as he reconnoitres the perils of his salad days. He aims to lose his virginity to unorthodox Jordana Bevan before he turns 16 and thinks a lot about everything in life - somewhat hilariously. He monitors his parent's sexual activity using the dimmer switch in their bedroom as he is paranoid they'll get a divorce. He has a metaphorical hole in him, the hole that growing up grows, and tries to makes sense of it - to fill it - as his few peers experience the same sort of thing. The joy of teenage life!
Directed by Richard Ayoade (Moss from 'The IT Crowd', believe it or not) - his first feature film - the independent nature of the production means that the film can play around with its aesthetic. 'Submarine' is directed in a very self-aware manner by Ayoade, with references and stylistic motifs reflecting those of the French New Wave and French director Jean-Luc Godard. The film is incredibly touching considering how weird the lead character can be: in a sense Oliver is an anti-hero, much like Holden Caulfield of 'Catcher in the Rye', but his vaguely romantic view on the big weird world allows audiences to relate to him. We were all a bit strange in our youth, weren't we?
Alex Turner of British band Arctic Monkeys wrote the original music for the film and it fits the aesthetic, the tone, the feel, perfectly. I've bought the soundtrack on vinyl to listen to without even having to watch the film, because it is so beautiful even by itself. An incredible soundtrack for an incredible art film.
Submarine is a stylistically confident, witty and funny debut from Richard Ayowade. It has its own distinctive vision and voice, although clearly influenced by Wes Anderson, Hal Ashby and French new wave.
The performance by Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate is phenomenal and he has created one of the most memorable teenagers on film, to easily rival the likes of Ferris Bueller or Max Fischer from Rushmore. Oliver should be intensely unlikeable, but the bravado in Roberts' performance makes him compelling for all his flaws and affectations. Oliver is the would be romantic intellectual hero of his should be sophisticated fascinating life. Unfortunately, he is a teenager. In Wales. In the 80s. That doesn't stop his imagination from creating the world he feels he deserves and the film brings that to life more than he probably does deserve! The scenes where he precisely imagines how his life might look if it was a film or how his school and the local news might react to his death are visually witty as well as being hilariously narrated and performed. Very few actors could have pulled this off.
Submarine is blessed with an excellent supporting cast. Yasmine Paige is note perfect as Jordana, the object of Oliver's affections, her character evolving from something mysteriously dark and confident, to more vulnerable as the film goes on, but also with fantastic irony and comic timing. Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor are the heart of the film, bringing a mixture of warmth, wistful sadness and drab loneliness to their characters to set against Oliver's cocky self involvedness. Darren Evans is the comedy best friend of Chips showing the brand of immature male teenage lewd humour that Oliver reacts against, allowing Oliver to set himself up as the intense outsider of his imagination.
The only character that I didn't think quite worked was Paddy Constantine's Graham Purvis. I am a massive fan of Paddy Constantine and the performance isn't bad, but the character feels a little too over the top and pantomime in it's humour which doesn't quite bed with the tone of the rest of the film - although he does still have some very funny moments.
The film is shot beautifully, and reflects the detached irony of the narration. Some of the scenes, particularly between Oliver and Jordana are wonderful to look at, and really capture the essence of being a teenager.
The gorgeous soundtrack by Alex Turner wonderfully complements the film (and also works as a separate album) replicating the feeling of youthful nostalgia for what life should be like in our heads rather than what real life disappoints us with. It is more like his work with The Last Shadow Puppets than the Arctic Monkeys.
The DVD is packed with extras - so far I've only watched the deleted and extended scenes, which have some amusing moments among them, but you can see how they weren't essential to the film.
Overall, this is one of my favourite films of the last few years. Although it is a Britisih film it has much more in common with American independent films. If you love those kind of films, you will love this. It might not to be everyone's taste or sense of humour, but the clever and witty script and brilliant performances at the centre, means that if you are not sure it's for you, I would still recommend giving it a go.
This is Richard Ayoade's feature film directorial debut, having previously directed some Arctic Monkeys' music videos, as well as their Live at the Apollo DVD. If the name sounds familiar, you are probably aware of his acting work in The Mighty Boosh, The IT Crowd and Garth Merenghi's Darkplace. I expected a similar offbeat, surreal nature in his approach here, but it was largely a realistic take, especially compared to the trailer for Bunny and the Bull, which preceded the film. It was very similar to his music video work, with wide panoramic shots and evocative location shots that worked well with the music, which was provided by Arctic Monkeys front-man, Alex Turner.
I had previously heard the soundtrack from the EP that Turner released prior to the film, and so many of the tracks were recognisable to me as I watched. This may have listened the impact slightly as I was associating other memories to them, rather than experiencing them for the first time in conjunction with the sequences they were written for.
In terms of plot, the story is about Oliver Tate, a fifteen-year old outcast at school, who is somewhat in denial over his lack of social standing, and has a crush on a fellow student - the straight-talking, Jordana. Whilst dealing with the burgeoning relationship with her, he has the stress of his home life, where his parents are drifting apart due to the reappearance of his mother's first love.
Reading that synopsis, it seems rather laden with drama and lots of hand-wringing moments, but because the film is viewed through the perception and supplied with the narration of the protagonist, we are given his naive and misguided commentary on the events that happen to him, which brings humour to the situation, unbeknownst to him. The story itself reminded me heavily of Gregory's Girl, with the clueless romantic paired up with the more street-smart female, and they're both set in that grim 80's period, where everything looks shit, to be blunt.
There is a scene quite early on where Ben Stiller appears in a blink-and-miss-it cameo on a television screen. I noticed this and thought it quite odd, especially considering the 80's setting, and it wasn't until the credits that it became clear. It turned out that Ben Stiller was one of the producers of this movie, so he obviously did a little cameo, although it just managed to confuse me, and made me wonder if Ben Stiller was some kind of time traveller.
Overall, this is a nice, quirky 'coming of age' comedy, which has a distinctly British flavour, in terms of setting and tone (which makes it more surprising Ben Stiller was involved). I did find the story fell flat on some of the more emotional beats, such as the break-up scene and some of the more indulgent musical intervals, but it wasn't totally unconvincing. As I mentioned earlier, it could be the Gregory's Girl of this generation - which is high praise, as that is one of the more iconic British 'coming of age' movies from the 80s.
Review originally appeared on my blog
I recently signed up to a basic LoveFilm package after seeing a deal for it on Groupon. At only £6 for three months of unlimited DVD rentals, I decided that even if I only got a couple of things, it would be cheaper than even buying one new DVD. On top of that, the package included being able to watch a large selection of films online for free and since I would probably watch a lot of the DVDs I rented on my laptop anyway, I thought that this would be something I would use a lot. Unfortunately, most new releases are not available to stream and have to be rented, but there are quite a few films that I want to watch that I can watch online. 'Submarine' was one of those films.
== Submarine ==
'Submarine' is Richard Ayoade's (of IT Crowd fame) directorial debut and, as I'm a fan of his as an actor, I was interesting how his take at directing would go. Unlike programmes I've seen him in such as Garth Marenghi's Dark Place and of course the IT Crowd, 'Submarine' is more drama than comedy, although it does have a comedy edge. It is based on Joe Dunthorne's novel of the same name.
Set in a small town in Wales (we aren't told where exactly) in the 1980s, 'Submarine' is a film revolving around slightly awkward teenager, Oliver Tate. He is a fairly typical boy at a fairly typical school, where bullying is fairly commonplace. Oliver is a nice boy, but actually gets involved with bullying an overweight girl in his class in order to impress a girl he likes, Jordana (Yasmin Paige), who is amused by this. Oliver grows to like her more, despite her not liking anything romantic and preferring setting things on fire and spending time with her dog. As well as spending time with Jordana, Oliver is also keen to spend time keeping an eye on things at home, as he's worried about his parents' marriage. They haven't had sex much in the past while and when an old flame of Oliver's mum's moves in nearby, Oliver starts to worry more.
== What I Thought ==
I really enjoyed watching 'Submarine' and was very glad that I watched it. In great, small independent film style, it is not heavy on plot and is a quite quiet film. Far from making this a boring film, it makes it one that felt very true to life and I'm sure reminded many people watching it of their own teenage years.
=== Acting ===
The story really revolves around teenage character of Oliver and he appears in nearly every scene, so it was important for his part to be cast well. Fortunately, Craig Roberts is up to the task and was magnificent as Oliver Tate and played him as a very real, 3-dimensional character. I've not seen Roberts in anything else and a quick look on IMDB shows that he was in the children's programme, 'The Story of Tracy Beaker' for quite a while, but apart from that and a few episodes here and there of other things he had been in relatively few things, his part in 'Submarine' was certainly the biggest yet of his career. He is very young, however, but he is talented and I reckon it likely that we'll see much of this Welsh actor in the years to come. I must also commend Yasmin Paige's performance in her role as love interest Jordana, as she is also an actress who shows potential and talent. I didn't think that I recognised her but after a bit of research found out that she was in Ballet Shoes alongside Emma Watson, and I remember enjoying her greatly in this film. She was perfect as Jordana and I thought that she was very believable and playing a rather complex character. There were also some great performances from Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor as Oliver's parents and, bizarrely enough, Paddy Considine as their neighbour.
=== Story and Characters ===
As I said earlier, this film does not have an exceptional amount in the way of plot but it does have a solid story and enough happens to keep the audience's attention. The film is beautifully written and so many of the characters are true to life: from Oliver's quiet awkwardness and teenage lust to Jordana's hiding her feelings behind fire and unexpressed emotions. I found myself caring about the characters and really enjoyed the story's progression, and was also impressed that the film was original and interesting without straying into the improbable.
== Conclusion ==
This was a film that I really wanted to see on its release and was gutted at not being able to, but am very glad at finally having seen it. Despite watching it online the picture quality was good and it was a very beautifully shot film as well as having a great story and cast. It's not exactly what I expected from Richard Ayoade as his appearance in comedies in no way hinted at his ability to direct a touching coming-of-age comedy/drama film, but then we must not judge on appearances. The fact that Ben Stiller was one of the producers is also a bizarre fact about this film and one that I was surprised to learn after having seen it.
Despite being released in 2011, this film is already fairly cheap at £6.45 on DVD. If you have certain LoveFilm packages, though, you can watch it online as I did as well, of course. If you are looking to buy, however, I would say that this is a very reasonable price to pay as I greatly enjoyed this film and would definitely recommend it highly.
I'm guessing that most of you won't have heard of this movie and even less of you will have actually watched it. For those of you who think that the poster is vaguely familiar to you, it's probably because it was advertised on the underground and you probably passed it everyday on your way to work (if you're British anyway). This is a fresh British comedy and is director Richard Ayoade's debut film. What's so unique about Submarine is that it doesn't revolve around your usual teen drama. It isn't a high school drama with the set out social circles and same old jokes, it is real. The protagonists aren't the hottest people in school or the most popular. It's a story about two teenagers trying to figure out their lives, their relationship and their family issues.
The plot basically revolves around Oliver and Jordana during that 'coming-of-age' period of their lives. Oliver seems to be the school loser and Jodana has that 'too-cool-for-school' air going on. They seem to make quite an unusual pairing, but perhaps that's what's so brilliant about them. Oliver seems shy and nervous but he knows what he wants and he's not afraid to try. One of his main goals in life is to lose his virginity before his next birthday... I guess he has that in common with every other teenage boy, but apart from that, his character is quite unique. He struggles to try and mend the crumbling relationship between his parents at the same time he is trying to figure out his own relationship and what his feelings for Jordana are. Jordana herself doesn't let on a lot about her personal life at all, until one moment when she suddenly decides that she trusts Oliver and she opens up to him. However, she is very upfront about her feelings and isn't afraid to say what she's thinking, she's definitely the 'man' of the relationship. At first their relationship seems like just a bit of fun but as time goes on both of them begin to wonder if they want more. Both have complicated family lives and this further complicates their own relationship. The pair live in a remote British village where there aren't any cinemas or shops or cool teen places to hang and it's the perfect setting for the story because it means you don't get distracted by the generic going ons of a busy city. Even the clothes they wear are pretty much the same the entire way through the movie ensuring the focus really is upon their acting and the story they're telling. The idea of this movie was that it wouldn't be set in any particular time; however, there are no mobile phones and they are still using polaroid cameras so there is the suggestion that it is set in the 80s.
The acting is really really good in this, the story is sort of raw and edgy and they used the perfect cast for this. There are couple of familiar faces who perhaps you won't be able to pinpoint so I'll remind you. The protagonist, Oliver Tate, is played by Craig Roberts, who some teenagers may recognise from the CBBC shows 'Young Dracula' and 'The Story of Tracy Beaker'. Jordana is played by Yasmin Paige who also portrayed Maria Jackson in 'The Sarah Jane Adventures' (also on CBBC) as well as many other works including the film Ballet Shoes (which also starred Harry Potter actress Emma Watson). You'll also recognise Noah Taylor, who plays Oliver's dad, previously known as 'Mr Bucket' from the most recent adaption of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Oliver's mother is played by Sally Hawkins who was also in Made in Dagenham and Happy-Go-Lucky. I could on, but I won't bore you with more facts, so if you really want check the film out on wikipedia here: Submarine (2010 film). As you can see, although the names of these actors aren't instantly recognisable, you'll find that you've seen them many many times before and all their faces should be familiar to you. There is quite a small bunch of actors in this film and that really helps to keep the plot together and keep the focus of the film.
I have to admit despite the fact I had been bombarded by adverts for this film on the London Underground I still wasn't that keen to see this movie. I mean, just look at the promotional poster, all I see is an awkward teenage boy. Now I see the beauty of the simplicity of the poster. This film really is quite under-rated and I think it should be more popular and given the credit that it deserves. I love the awkwardness between the characters at times because let's be honest, relationships don't go smoothly and flow like a river there are bumps and uncertainties on the way. I also love that this movie doesn't try to cover up the true dramas that people face in their lives but it portrays them accurately and realistically. I'd say this film would probably relate better to British audiences, it sort of captures the essence of teenage life away from the hustle and bustle of big English cities, but I'm sure that other audiences will also be captivated by this story. I highly recommend this movie to everyone and anyone and I implore you to please, please, please, give it the chance that it deserves.
Cert - 15
Run Time - 97 minutes
Genre - Comedy
So, 'Submarine', the much talked about British indie film of 2011, bold dust-cover quotes that its a "must see", if you believe the broadsheet press. But the same trendy media loved Coldplay until the band became huge, never cool to like popular things. Well we are all movie critics now, online reviews the truth, some ponce in clear lens glasses and polo necks overruled, Submarine not that 'Withnail and I' moment, the right to say that what makes it worthwhile spending two hours writing these reviews. Anyway, I thought The Kings Speech was the big British independent hit of the year?
Noah Taylor ... Lloyd Tate
Paddy Considine ... Graham Purvis
Craig Roberts ... Oliver Tate
Yasmin Paige ... Jordana Bevan
Sally Hawkins ... Jill Tate
Darren Evans ... Chips
Osian Cai Dulais ... Mark Pritchard
Lily McCann ... Zoe Preece
The Plot =
Gauche and withdrawn 15-year-old schoolboy Lloyd Tate (Noah Taylor) has two missions in life in his small South Wales costal hamlet. One is to get laid and the other is to make sure his mum (Sally Hawkins) doesn't hook up with old flame and 'psychic mystic' Graham Purvis (Paddy Considine), who has conveniently moved in next-door with his sexy new girlfriend Zoe (Lily McCann). Dad Oliver (Craig Roberts) is not exactly the most romantic husband in the world and so mum (Jill) may be tempted at the chance of some excitement in her life.
At school Lloyd has a crush on the newly arrived Jordana Birch (Yasmin Paige); a dark haired temptress that wears her skirt too short and likes a fag and a boy behind the bike sheds. Lloyd doesn't fit in at school and often wears a black eye, in no way the sort of boy Jordana is drawn to, a challenge and corruption for both. But she is soon unofficially Lloyd's first girlfriend after she features in his school film project, their scene titled 'First Kiss'. Lloyd promises to be the best boyfriend any girl has ever had. Mum is just made up by the news that he is not gay.
As their relationship presses on and saliva is frequently exchanged in increasingly awkward ways - in keeping with everything else Lloyd does - his mum is also sneaking off to see Graham perform his psychic readings at the village hall. This conflict of dampening his mums possible philandering and encouraging his love life will take some organizing as its beginning to overlap.
The film immediately has echoes of Wes Andersons 'Rushmore', another rather overrated and knowing high school indie, Noah Taylor in the lead here all but Jason Schwartzman in name from that movie, both muddled Jewish schoolboys in duffel coats facing those right-of-passages, that of the teen clichés of losing their virginity with an interesting girl and being generally aloof to everyone.
Its directional debut feature for Richard Ayoade, that bloke with frizzy hair from the brilliant IT Crowd, and he does a good job too, having a real eye for film. Critic would be that does let the camera linger a little too long on the scenery to get the arty gothic winter seaside shot but he also allows the actors to use that space. But if we are honest we have seen all this middle-class family angst before and Submarine is nothing special. The characters are too miserable for some reason and not that many more smiles to be had from the script humor. You always look for something different when a new talent is talked up and yet there is nothing new here and I'm not one to tolerate those broadsheet reviews that say I'm not seeing something they have. I suspect they only fell for Submarine because they were little Lloyd Tate at school.
It's well written and reasonably smart; the script complimented by those often appealing visuals.
Alas you do feel the director is trying too hard do a British 'Juno' at times as the leads are precocious in that irritating way child actors are when they are encouraged to play their roles in a knowing adult manner, the pretentiousness that often puts you off these low budget erudite indies. But Ayoade got away with it and delivered a solid smart piece and I look forward to his next film. Hopefully its 'IT Crowd: The movie' !
Quite a few, plenty of Paddy Considine's celluloid spaghetti on the cutting room floor.
Who really cares?
-Q&A at the London Premier-
For some reason we can see the actors auditioning, as tedious as it gets.
-Ben Stiller Message-
As above, the comic/executive producer having a giggle, making sure you know he produced this.
The complete waltz video from the film
-Glasgow Premier Q&A-
Scottish subtitles from the London premier?
-Through the Prism-
Spoof performance from Paddy Consindine's mystic stage performance.
Channel4 - "Ayoade has an evident gift for the kind of slightly offbeat comedy that's about the differences between a character's self-perception and the way the world sees him".
The Guardian -"Significance can be overrated, and "Submarine" makes the most of its whimsical triviality".
CCN -"A cool, well-directed, if somewhat sterile and self-consciously quirky affair about teen awkwardness, virginity, infidelity and dead-end marriages".
The LA Times -"It's too concerned with style to leave a lasting impression, yet it's also warming and witty enough to pass by without doing any harm".
Imdb.com - 7.4 / 10.0 (9,544 votes)
Metacritic.com - 76% critic's approval
Rottentomatos.com - 86% critic's approval
Director: Richard Ayoade
Writers: Richard Ayoade (screenplay), Joe Dunthorne(novel)
Oliver is a teenager in Wales who is at the tricky junction between adolescence and adulthood. The story charts his quest to be the best boyfriend ever to the girl of his dreams Jordana if only he can get her to notice him and to reignite the marriage of his parents. It is essentially a coming of age tale that will make you laugh and cry in measure.
Submarine is directed and adapted by Richard Ayoade most known as Moss in Channel 4's IT crowd. When I saw that the Ayoade was involved in the film I was expecting the same kind of obvious slapstick style comedy that you see in the IT Crowd. However what I got instead was a very intelligent, quirky indie comedy with a lot of heart. The film has quite an arty feel about most notably the influence of French Wave which is obvious from the opening credits.
This is a brilliantly funny film set in Wales. I loved the amusing voice over of Oliver as he tells us what it is like to go through the hell of high school in the UK. His story is very touching and he faces the same dilemmas many teenagers are facing all over the country. The portrayal of teenage love is brilliantly accurate as is the fear of a families falling apart for varying reasons.
I loved the lead character Oliver (Craig Roberts) who finds himself torn between obsessing about being the best boyfriend ever and saving his parents marriage. Oliver narrates the film and his paranoia and idealist fantasies are both amusing and well observed. He perfectly plays teenage angst as he traverses the slippery path from childhood to adulthood.The object of his affection the weird and strangely beautiful Jordana played brilliantly by Yasmin Page who whilst at first I felt was a bit of a bitch could not help but sympathise with as her back story is revealed. Every character is brilliantly written and perfectly performed not least the character of Graham a cheesy self help guru played by Paddy Considine.
The soundtrack to the film is written and performed by Arctic Monkeys Alex Turner - each song is perfectly fitting to the film. The songs acurately articulate and represent the feelings of and situations in which Oliver finds himself.
The acclaim this film has received in indie circles is definitely justified - sit back and enjoy : )