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November 9, 2011
Review - " Submarine "  -  (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
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Directed by: Richard Ayoade
Starring: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine,
Sally Hawkins

Submarine chronicles the misadventures of Oliver Tate (Craig
Roberts), an eccentric Swansea lad both too clever for his own good
and not wise enough to navigate the emotional waters of family and
first love. A hopeless romantic, Oliver falls for an unromantic girl and
ends up breaking her heart because he’s too busy trying to keep his
melancholy parents together.

Roberts’s vulnerable presence — he plays Oliver with a permanently
alarmed expression that shows how lost, bemused, and frightened this
boy is beneath all his witty talk. Jordana (Yasmin Paige) attracts him
because, with her square jaw, bangs, and ubiquitous red coat, she is
obviously far more assured than he is. Meanwhile, the marriage of his
parents (Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor, both hilarious and sad) is
threatened by the arrival of an obnoxious self-help guru (Paddy
Considine) who is also an ex-flame of his mum. Oliver’s efforts to deal
with these challenges are over-elaborate and tragically misguided in a
manner endemic to young men with more book smarts than common

From the opening scene you know your watching a quietly brilliant
piece of cinema, dialogue is sharp and to the point, cinematography is
simple and very easy on the eyes. Richard Aoyades postcard to youth
is first a comedy and secondly coming of age drama. Our hero is
Oliver Tate a kind of ‘inbetweener’ whose nerdy enough for geek cred
but popular enough to have roughish friends. He does have ideas
above his station, delusions of being the subject of a movie where everyone loves him. When he’s used by a fellow pupil
(Jordana) to make her boyfriend jealous, Oliver stands up for her and so find himself a girlfriend.

It’s about so much more than the relationship running through it and one criticism aimed at the film is that this relationship
does seem dampened by other comings and goings. Those other things are solely based around parenting, from cheating
mothers to the big C, both characters are dealing with situations at home that at certain points take precedence. All of this
I think only adds to the relationship as it affects
the way they are together. Another possible
criticism is Paddy Considines’ rather
pantomime performance; I guess you’ll make
your own mind up but I think it suits the
character and that rather impressive mullet.
However it’s all beside the point, this film is
exploring youth through the world weary eyes
of a comedian.

In that sense it’s a wonderfully funny film with
some genuinely touching moments, snapshots
of the main romance to small little touches
like the parents dimmer switch. It all comes
together in what is one of the most impressive
debuts from a director I have seen, Aoyade
has a firm grip on cinematography, script and
squeezing out extraordinarily impressive acting
from child actors.