Richard Ayoade has, for me, always been a source of comedy, from his roles in The Mighty Boosh to the IT Crowd and even his appearances on quiz shows. Submarine marks Richard Ayoade trying his hand at directing a feature length film, and although it is listed a comedy, I didn’t come away thinking “that was a funny film”.
The films primary focus is on Oliver Tate, played by the youthful Craig Roberts, whom I kept picturing his Tracy Beaker character, Rio Wellard. Oliver Tate is a fifteen year old boy, and he is stuck. Stuck in between parents that are falling out of love, and stuck with what to do with Jordana (Yasmin Paige), a girl he is in a relationship with, and being new to this experience he’s unsure how to act It’s safe to say, Oliver is not like other boys his age, he starts the movie in the prologue by narrating what he thinks what would happen if he died. Odd for a fifteen year old boy, no?
The film primarily is set up by three relationships throughout the film, one with Jordana Bevan, in which he bumbles his way into this relationship and the more intimate parts of the relationship, namely sex. Part two, the discovery of Graham Purvis (Paddy Considine) who is an ‘old friend’ of his mother Jill (Sally Hawkins) and they begin hanging out more. Part three, is an oddly named Show Down, but this is where the relationships reach a conclusion.
Unsurprisingly, this is where we learn more about Oliver, and his terribly odd ways of dealing with things. What other normal child would keep a diary on their parents sex lives and inventory. Not only does he do this, he also slips phrases to make his mother worry he mental. Each to their own, right?
Even though the synopsis of this film states that Oliver sets out to lose his virginity, it actually reveals more about his of his private life and how he plans to deal with Jordana and the possible breaking up of his parents. This is developed throughout the three parts, mainly led by Oliver’s inner monologues, and of course events that happens throughout the film, like his mother going to the beach with Graham.
Although I’ve only recently watched this film, this film presented one of the best visuals I’ve seen in a film. During the breakup scene of Jordana and Oliver, his bed remains constant as the sea swallows his room around him as he drifts out to sea. It’s absolutely incredible. He then imitates his father, drinking lemon tea and wearing a bath robe around the house a lot, playing this imitation to perfection.
“Her new boyfriend has an incredible long neck. Just thinking about giraffes makes me angry.”
This film is a great one. As it’s a directorial debut of Ayoade, it’s a solid start. (As I am looking for to his next work The Double) Some of the shots are wonderful, including that bedroom breakup scene, the music is on point (Thanks to Alex Turner) for the time period giving it a sense of being in the eighties, but the storyline and characters make it what it is. The comedy from the lesser characters, but even Oliver is likeable, however odd the boy is. It isn’t long at all, and the story isn’t complex, some things Oliver says make me question what is he going on about, but that’s whats weirdly funny about Oliver.
P.S – I know this film was adapted from a novel, if you’ve read the book what was it like? Are you pleased with Ayoade’s attempt? Would you recommend the book to me?