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Ohannes

Submarine

26 March 11 words: Harry Wilding
Ayoade stays behind the camera the entire time, leaving the spotlight to shine on some brilliant performances
 
 Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate in Submarine
Submarine is the film writing and directorial debut for Richard Ayoade (you know...that guy out of The IT Crowd and The Mighty Boosh). The film is - yet another - book adaption; this time, from a 2008 novel written by Joe Dunthorne. The story centres on a fifteen year old boy, Oliver Tate (newcomer Craig Roberts) who is trying to have his first relationship, with the extremely unromantic Jordana (Yasmin Paige), while trying to keep his parents from divorcing. And all with hilarious consequences.

Ayoade, perhaps admirably, stays behind the camera the entire time, leaving the spotlight to shine on some brilliant performances. Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Made in Dagenham) and Noah Taylor (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zizzou, Tomb Raider), play out their humorous situations in a brilliantly deadpan manner, while Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes, Hot Fuzz) is fantastic as the pretentious, ridiculous and mullet-clad mystic, Graham, who Oliver suspects might break up his parent’s marriage.

It is Roberts and Paige who steal the show, though – and rightly so, being the main characters and all. Both were considered one of the fifty-five faces of the future by Nylon Magazine’s Young Hollywood issue; although that may seem a bit random, Nylon may have a point. Roberts’ portrayal of the self-involved, dreamy, unpopular teenager is perfect and definitely a sign of a bright future.

The whole feel of the film, is, well...it is just so damn cool. From its fourth wall breaking humour to the snappy editing, well used animation, original songs from Alex Turner, and having Ben Stiller as executive producer (yes, he is the uncredited American soap opera star), as well as been set in the eighties (okay, the eighties weren’t that cool, but TV and films setthen are). Even the start and end credits have an old skool look about them, which fits in with the movie’s aesthetics. There are definite Wes Anderson influences in Ayoade’s style, visually and in its particular brand of quirkiness. This was seen in the excellent sitcom Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and his involvement with the previously mentioned TV shows, but he has really let it show in Submarine, pulling it off with great confidence and je ne sais quoi. 

 Yasmin Paige and Criag Roberts in Submarine
Submarine - an initially random title, it seems - becomes the perfect name for the movie, whether it be the reference to his father’s profession as a marine biologist or them living in a coastal town or, probably more so, the characters feelings of being submerged within their own emotions, desires and fears, only coming to the surface, to see the rest of the world, every now and then.

The ending, perhaps, does not work if looked at cynically and it does sometimes get a bit too wrapped up in its over-stylisation; however, that is just nit-picking because overall, Submarine is a great show of British talent in a film that should transfer well over the pond, where many of them – Ayoade, Roberts and Paige, in particular - may soon be snatched away to.

Submarine is showing at Broadway until Thursday 7 April

Submarine official website

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