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Submarine by Richard Ayoade []



Olivier Tate (played by young actor Craig Roberts), the protagonist in Richard Adoaye’s quiet, quirky, charming, dark and thoroughly enjoyable film Submarine is a likeable precocious Welsh boy searching for an identity and direction in the stifling climate of small town coastal Southern Wales. He tries on affectations:”I’ve tried smoking a pipe, flipping coins – listening exclusively to French crooners, I’ve even had a hat phase”. This quote is immediately followed of course, with a shot of him at the family dinner table, wearing a Blue Stetson, looking fairly ridiculous. His teenage flailing about for identity finds its focus when he discovers the dark and indifferent charms of classmate Jordana (Yasmin Paige), who lures him into more and more morally reprehensible schoolyard acts. She is outwardly resistant to his charms except when he is misbehaving, and seems most allured by his taking part in the bullying of a fellow school girl. The cast is fantastic, both Paige and Roberts inhabit their roles fully and believably, while the adult characters (Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor as Olivier’s parents), are comically stuck in their own lazy unspoken despair, too wrapped up in their own ridiculous melodramas to offer guidance to Olivier. Paddy Considine appears as an almost incongruously broad comic foil and rival to both Olivier Tate and his father. Adoaye, most famous for his work on the UK sitcom “The IT Crowd”, who adapted the script from a novel by Joe Dunthorne, directs the film with care and fills it with beautiful shots of the beaches, woods and amusement parks of the Welsh Coast. There are aspects of the film’s plot, details and cinematic style which will appeal to fans of many other refreshingly offbeat comic films (Wes Anderson’s films in particular) but the unique characters, acting performances and Welsh character give it a charm all its own.

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