Saturday, 19 March 2011


is the first film in a doublebill of obscure British Comedians trying their hand at directing (Joe Cornish's Attack the Block being the second). But Richard Ayoade's directing is more than just 'competent'; Submarine is an absolute phenomenal debut from a very promising new talent. In fact, I'd be shitting myself if I was Ayoade - how on Earth do you top this?

Set in a very picturesque coastal Welsh town in the 1980s(?), the film follows the misadventures of Oliver Tate. A name that is sure to join the ranks of other unconventional High School Heroes, such as Max Fischer, Brendan (of Brick fame), and even Holden Caulfield. A good intentioned yet completely self-centred teenager, Oliver is burdened with an overactive brain and feelings of enormous self-importance. An early scene depicts a very candid fantasy of his: the general public's reaction to his untimely death. I was glad to see other members of the audience laughing in recognition; as Oliver's twisted love for melodrama was not far removed from my own teenage imaginings.

And who says there are no good films Post-Oscars?

But Craig Robert's Oliver should not take all the credit for making Submarine as lovable as it is: Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, and Noah Taylor all add to the believability of this tragic comedy. And Paddy Considine makes an excellent OTT (if not very well-rounded) appearance as a deluded psychic. The soundtrack is provided by a sedated Alex Turner, which is so beautifully spot on that it makes you want to puke in absolute delight.

The negatives are few and far between but if I had to nitpick (apparently this is what proper critics do), it's middle act lacks the pace and relentless comedy of the 1st and 3rd. And whilst the film couldn't end any other way, I wish it tried something a little less predictable. Other than that, it really is a film worthy of it's already hefty hype. But perhaps the biggest surprise about Submarine are the very blatant influences from films such as The Shining, Don't Look Now, and Rosemary's Baby. Will Ayoade tackle a horror next? I bloody well hope so.

What it may or may not look like.

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