When I heard that ‘Maurice Moss’ (Richard Ayoade) from the British television series ‘The IT Crowd’ (which also co-starred, now Apatow-recognized, Chris O’Dowd) had made a movie, I knew I had to watch it. Fortunately Netflix Instant made that easy. ‘Submarine’ is Ayoade’s 2010 directorial debut about a boy, Oliver Tate, growing up in South Wales (a country next, to England, but not a part of England for other uninformed American’s, like myself). Oliver is an imaginative boy who falls for Jordana Bevan, a straightforward, no-nonsense type.
Throughout the film Oliver is thrown troubles that most teenagers receive such as living alongside his parents strained relationship, and their confounding personalities on an individual level. Oliver also deals with the ups and downs on life amongst peers and discovers not the type of person he is, but the types of things he’s capable of.
Craig Roberts, who portrayed Oliver, delivers a tenacious and impressive performance that is sure to resonant with the awkward teen in everyone. His performance is equally countered by, the young, Yasmin Paige, who is able to present Jordana in an authentic light of young womanhood when you have ‘tomboy’ tendencies but are still a ‘girl’ on the inside with ‘gooey’ emotions and reactions. The sweet and wonderfully strange young love of Oliver and Jordana is counter-balanced by Oliver’s parents Lloyd and Jill Tate, portrayed by the enjoyable Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins, respectively.
‘Submarine’ is visually alluring design sensibilities from Gary Williamson, which is reminiscent of Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry films. The story arc is standard, yet enjoyable, and while I have not read John Dunthorne’s novel, of the same name, I am sure his characters are as vivid and distinctive on page as they are one screen.
Also, you have to talk about the youthful soundtrack, with original songs contributed by Alex Turner of ‘the Artic Monkeys’ and the score by Andrew Hewitt that gives such depth to pivotal scenes; you cannot imagine the movie without them.
‘Submarine’ is great for a laugh and a nostalgic look back to what your teen years were likely mirrors your own. It also provides comfort and reliability if you are currently swimming through your teen years. I highly recommend this film and it is easy to see why Harvey Weinstein, Sundance, BAFTA, and the Toronto Film Festival did as well.