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4 stars (out of 5)
Director: Richard Ayoade
Cast: Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins, Darren Evans
Submarine stood out among a brilliant selection of films at this year's International Film Festival. Written and directed by Richard Ayoade, it is an eccentric coming-of-age drama with a cool anti-hero, lots of wry Welsh humour and cringeworthy set-ups.
With an impressive resume that features music videos for his mates The Arctic Monkeys and acting roles in The It Crowd and The Mighty Boosh, Ayoade is obviously brimming with quirky visual ideas, but he does not use anything that does not serve the content. Selecting from a buffet of cheesy editing transitions and kitschy film stocks, Submarine might look dated but it is actually very fresh and imaginative.
Relative newcomer Craig Roberts is superb as Oliver Tate, an awkward duffel-coated teenager with a skewed impression of life, romance and social conduct. Brought up as an only child by his ever-so-slightly eccentric parents Lloyd (Noah Taylor) and Jill (Sally Hawkins), Oliver's reaction to the world around him might seem a little daft at first, but only accentuates the episodes of adolescent misfortune experienced by your average angst-ridden teenager.
There is nothing taxing about the storyline. Oliver is on a mission, to seduce straight-talking Jordana (Yasmin Paige), rescue his mum from the creepy clutches of mullet-loving mystic Graham (Paddy Considine), and save his dad (Noah Taylor) from depression. Ayoade's empathy for this cast of misfits pulls you into their delightfully unhinged existence.
Best thing: Paddy Considine's slimy new-age guru.
Worst thing: Oliver's overly precocious posturing can feel a little too affected.
See it with: A teenager.
- Mark Orton