Submarine review

Awkward 15-year-old Oliver bungles through a relationship with headstrong classmate Jordana while attempting to cope with, and prevent, his parents’ potential separation.

Director Richard Ayoade has inevitably garnered attention due to his UK sitcom acting fame and the producers have clearly exploited that as a marketing tool. But his confident, nuanced direction stands tall in its own right, avoiding clich├ęs that can so easily sneak in to coming-of-age dramas and trading in the familiar wacky, over-the-top comedy of the likes of The IT Crowd for much more subtle humour. Playful editing, through the likes of explicit, titled chapters, freeze-frames, and 16mm-style cutaways, complement the story and make the film even more of an entertaining cinematic experience.

The sub-plot involving the mouth-watering combination of Sally Hawkins (as Oliver’s mother) and Paddy Considine (as the new neighbour and mother’s old flame) is tragically light and under-played but it doesn’t matter too much because the focus of attention is firmly on Oliver and Jordana, superbly played by Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige. Their relationship, and Oliver’s contemplative approach to life in general, wonderfully captures the clumsy and confusing nature of adolescence, finding meaning and the making countless mistakes, especially when it comes to young love. The source material, a novel by Joe Dunthorne, no doubt establishes these complexities but the translation to film works a treat.

4 out of 5

23rd Mar 2011 | Official site | On IMDb