Friday, 15 April 2011

REVIEW: Submarine

Amazingly enough, the music of Regina Spektor does not feature in this movie.

Given the fairly pronounced French New Wave influence on Submarine, to be honest I think fairly pronounced influence may be under-selling it, I'm going to take a moment to communicate my dislike for French Cinema, or at least French Cinema in its most stereotypically known form. You know, that star-gazing miserablism, that philosophically bent, superficially stylish that's as smart as it is a vacuum. I like A Bout De Souffle as much as the next guy, but I have a hard time being told that the French New Wave is as good as it gets. I understand its value, and the rule-breaking and the meta and the structure etc. etc. I respect its importance and in certain cases its quality. Its just that I don't like it all that much. And that's my right as a human citizen. So fuck you. And don't be like 'Oh he don't get it, he don't get it!'. Because no. A'ite?

OK, now that I've alienated any potential hipsters readers I have out there (The Warriors sucks. That ought to do it for the rest.) I'll go on to say that Submarine is a flawed, indulgent movie, but also one that's occasionally very impressive. It has a verve and an energy that few British films have, even it is a borrowed one (a lot of Jules Et Jim up in this bitch, divided by Royal Tenenbaums.) And while the exuberant first 45 minutes seems the stronger to me both in terms of tone and impact, its veering into misery porn in the latter half doesn't detract from its overall impact. Richard Ayoade shows great potential as a writer and director. And he draws some great performances out of his cast, particularly from teen lead Craig Roberts who puts in a turn way beyond his years, and there's going to have to be a lot of great performances this year for this not to be in my top ten. Similarly Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor create a brutally awkward chemistry between them and Paddy Considine chews the scenery, but to be fair the part really does call for it.

I liked a lot about Submarine, I even liked its commitment to its own dark trajectory. Its a film about neurosis and their relationship with reality, and to be fair it suck with that to the bitter end. I think Considine's character is perhaps ill-fitting, a little too broad for the rest of the film and I think the sequence focusing on his character is undoubtedly weaker. But the writing is strong, and Roberts, Hawkins, Taylor and Yasmin Paige all deliver great performances in a movie with a real sense of voice and pain, and while I might not like the French New Wave all that much, I'm not going to say that it didn't fit the material like a glove. And who am I to rag on a British film of this standard, that would be some stupid ass thing to do.

Rating: 7/10

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