Submarine (15)



Comedy (2010)
96mins UK

Starring: Craig Roberts, Paddy Considine, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor
Director: Richard Ayoade
Writer(s): Richard Ayoade
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Fifteen-year-old schoolboy Oliver Tate is a dreamer determined to lose his virginity to classmate Jordana and the lad is delighted when his pestering leads eventually to a kiss. He guides us through ups and down in the faltering relationship. Meanwhile, his parents Lloyd and Jill feel the strain when her first love, new age guru Graham, returns unexpectedly with a feisty partner Kim-Lin in tow.

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LondonNet Film Review
Submarine

Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh) makes an impressive directorial debut with this hysterical coming-of-age story set in windswept Swansea...

Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate and Yasmin Paige as Jordana in SUBMARINE. Credit: Dean Rogers. Optimum ReleasingBased on the novel by Joe Dunthorne and laced with mordant wit, Submarine charts the messy sexual awakening of a 15-year-old misfit just as his parents' marriage comes apart at the seams. The script spits in the eye of convention and gleefully sidesteps cliches, like when the hapless hero walks up to the object of his affections and her new boyfriend, and imagines a fairy-tale ending complete with upbeat pop soundtrack. "This is the moment when you leave him and come with me," he professes, confident that the girl will be his. "Is it?" coldly replies his beloved. Love certainly hurts for the ill-equipped.

Schoolboy Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is our unreliable narrator - a dreamer determined to lose his virginity to spirited classmate Jordana (Yasmin Paige). Needless to say, the lad is delighted when his pestering leads eventually to a nervous kiss. "Her mouth tasted of milk, Polo mints and Dunhill International," he enthuses in voiceover, guiding us through ups and down in the faltering relationship. Meanwhile, his parents Lloyd (Noah Taylor) and Jill (Sally Hawkins) feel the strain when her first love, new age guru Graham (Paddy Considine), returns unexpectedly with a feisty partner Kim-Lin (Gemma Chan) in tow.

Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate in SUBMARINE. Credit: Dean Rogers. Optimum ReleasingSubmarine peeks beneath the duffel coat of its fantasist protagonist and reveals the growing pains that propel Oliver to the cusp of adulthood. There are some delightful touches, like the opening sequence during which the teenager fancifully imagines his own death and the outpouring of grief across Wales as his classmates come to terms with their devastating loss, organising candlelit vigils and flowers at the school gate. Roberts is delightful as the innocent pup, who makes Jordana a mix tape and points out, "I've included some break-up songs, in case (the relationship) ends... which it invariably will." Cinematographer Erik Wilson captures Swansea in a chilly colour palette, ably supporting Ayoade, who delivers enough directorial flourishes to impose his personality on the film without ever distracting the eye from the performances. He strikes the perfect balance between uproarious laughter and poignant reflection, without ever having to slather on the sentimentality.

- Kim Hu


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