Friday, 1 April 2011

Notes on Submarine

Or the world according to Oliver Tate.

A witty and sarcastic look at growing up in 70s Swansea, Submarine charters the vicissitudes of schoolboy Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) through the troubled waters of adolescence, wading in his objective to loose his virginity to Jordana Bevan (I just loved Yasmin Paige’s laid back performance: superb!) using the power of his mind, and scare away from his mother (a demure characterization by Sally Hawkins) her first suitor flapping his wings around her, Graham (an exquisite Paddy Considine), a man who runs courses on Mental and Physical Wellbeing. He also manages to cure his father, Lloyd (Noah Taylor), a marine biologist who is only happy to appear in public when talking about some rare fish species, a sharp contrast to the flamboyant Graham, all fireworks when preaching.

Richard Ayoade’s sussed out the 70s to the last nook in Submarine, with its sparse but dead pan humour in the dry dialogue (by Joe Dunthorne), with his good eye to detail and the kind of public personae adopted by so many "liberated" families of that time, and the hilarious yet warm eye posed on the cults that sprang out from between the cracks of society, all promising happiness on earth, and riches to the priests who run them.

A comic book structure, divided in chapters, with frozen close-ups of faces (I was almost expecting to see the bubbles coming out), slow motion staring looks, psychedelic colours, a rhythmic tempo of slow and fast action, typography, agile cinematography, dry dialogue, Alex Turner's songs, and sharp acting gives Submarine its comic sharpness, a witty yet warm look at life in the 60sa and 70s. Yet, it still manages to lift effectively the corners of the carpet, allowing us to take a peek under.

I just loved the hilly locations where it was shot, in Swansea and Barry 9in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, and those seaside crepuscular shots.

An excellent addition to the self-deprecating humour tradition of British comedy.

Official premiere

Director: Richard Ayoade
Writer: Joe Dunthorne
Cast: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Paddy Considine, Sally Hawkins
Distributor: Optimum Releasing

Submarine is out on cinemas now.

Trailer and still © Optimum Releasing.

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