Son Of Rambow (12A)



Action (2006)
95mins UK

Starring: Bill Milner, Will Poulter, Jessica Stevenson
Director: Garth Jennings
Writer(s): Garth Jennings
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Will Proudfoot lives with his mother Mary, a member of the strictly religious Plymouth Brethren who forbids him from corrupting influences like film, television and the radio. Consequently, Will retreats into his sketchbook, where he conjures imaginary worlds. At school, Will meets troublemaker Lee Carter, who has been abandoned by his parents. The boys spend the afternoon together, during which Will happens to watch a pirate copy of Rambo: First Blood. Inspired to imitate Stallone's muscle-bound killing machine, Will agrees to perform death-defying stunts in his new pal's homemade film.

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LondonNet Film Review
Son of Rambow

For those who lived through the 1980s (with tattered Polaroids to recall the glaring fashion faux pas), it was the decade of leg warmers and Space Dust popping furiously on the tongue...

Ninjas in Son of Rambow. Optimum Releasing"Frankie Say" t-shirts were the political statement of choice, while men emulated the pastel linen suits of Miami Vice's Crockett and Tubbs. Children swapped lick-on tattoos and scented erasers, and the Rubik's Cube became a worldwide phenomenon along with the repulsive Cabbage Patch Kids. Son Of Rambow is a delightful coming of age story harking back to those days of kitsch attire, even kitscher pop music and Bucks Fizz losing their skirts at Eurovision.

Garth Jennings's adorable comedy centres on lonely Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner), whose mother Mary (Jessica Stevenson) is a member of the strictly religious Plymouth Brethren and forbids him from corrupting influences like film, television and the radio. Consequently, Will retreats from his classmates into his sketchbook, where he conjures imaginary worlds.

At school, Will meets troublemaker Lee Carter (Will Poulter), who has been abandoned by his parents and lives with his older brother Lawrence (Ed Westwick). The young tykes spend the afternoon together, during which Will watches a pirate copy of Rambo: First Blood. Inspired to imitate Stallone's muscle-bound killing machine, Will secretly agrees to perform death-defying stunts in Lee's homemade film, which the boys hope to enter in a national competition. Tensions flare when ubercool French exchange student Didier (Jules Sitruk) tries to muscle in on the lead role, driving a wedge between the new best buddies.

Didier Revol (Jules Sitruk) with gang in Son of Rambow. Optimum ReleasingTo make matters worse, sect member Joshua (Neil Dudgeon) threatens Mary and her children with expulsion if Will doesn't turn his back on Lee and the film. "Promise me you'll put these things out of your mind," Mary pleads with Will. "I promise," replies her son tearfully, willing to sacrifice his one and only true friend for the sake of his mother's happiness.

Son Of Rambow is irresistibly charming, blessed with compelling performances from the two leads: Milner the heartbreakingly vulnerable dreamer, Poulter the cheeky rapscallion. The script strikes a perfect balance between laughter and tears, building to a deeply moving finale that warms the cockles of your nostalgic heart.

The boys' filmmaking escapades are hysterical, including some potentially lethal stunt work with a rickety seesaw contraption to catapult Will over a bale of hay. Daredevil Will even tries leaping out of a tree with only an umbrella to slow his rapid descent to terra firma and a potential visit to A&E.

Will (Bill Milner) and Lee Carter (Will Poulter) in Son of Rambow. Optimum ReleasingAn eclectic pop soundtrack is note perfect, underscored by a hilarious dancing scene in the sixth-form common room. However, it's the rapport between Milner and Poulter's loveable double-act that distinguishes Son Of Rambow. "Parents, you're pretty much better off without them," declares Lee wisely. Seeing how much fun the boys have, you wonder if he might not have a point.

- Sam cannon


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