Most who are reading this and know Richard Ayoade probably know him from The IT Crowd. Well Submarine is Ayoade’s debut in filmmaking. As my first review on a British indie film, and one of few that i’ve actually watched, I was pleasantly surprised by Submarine, or at least to an extent. As Ayoade’s first film I think he has great potential as a director and i’d be more than willing to watch any of his future films. He uses titles and sections and theres some nice low key lighting that gives the film a rare stylistic appearance that isn’t greatly common in blockbuster films. Whilst Ayoade has created a stylistic film, it’s really the performance of Oliver Tate played by Craig Roberts who before this was most known for his child acting on The Story of Tracey Beaker that makes this film so great. It’s as if the role is written for him specifically, there isn’t a moment where he looses character or for a moment that his performance becomes doubtable. He’s the author of the film, narrating and guiding us through the lonely thoughts of the outcast known as Oliver Tate.
Oliver Tate is presented to us instantly as an outcast, an individual and somewhat awkward. He sets out for a girlfriend, and an usual choice of a girlfriend to choose. This is Jordana Bevan, a girl in his class who is similarly quite independent but is also a bully. Whilst Oliver succeeds with gaining a girlfriend, he begins to see his parents relationship fall apart and decides that he must take it upon himself to repair it causing problems with his own relationship with Jordana along the way. Both Oliver Tate and especially Jordana are characters I didn’t expect to like particularly but once the story grew deeper it became much easier to sympathise with the characters. While Oliver Tate is completely awkward and at times uncomfortable to listen to, his parents are exactly the same performed by Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins. The entire cast did a superb job with capturing the personalities of the characters including Yasmin Paige who turned Jordana Bevans character into a someone who was completely cold when the film began, to someone who the audience can really sympathise with.
I didn’t love the film, I don’t think the narrative and story is the most original, it’s been done before many times similarly but theres elements that are interesting such as the character development and relationship development between the characters. It also shows through narration something that teenagers can relate to in a deeper way than most movies that try to appeal to a teenage audience. It’s a short film just over an hour and a half and is fairly enjoyable with its deeper and edging on dark story lines that are relatable and somewhat touching.