"Submarine" Film Review

Submarine (2010) - IMDb

"Submarine" Film Review

Rating: 4.5/5

By: Nathaniel Simpson

    I think I'm just a major sucker for these British comedies, and Richard Ayoade's "Submarine" is no exception. Youngster Craig Roberts takes on the leading role of Oliver Tate in this heartwarming, coming-of-age comedy which involves the young teen trying to make his way through school and, ultimately, the world. Jam-packed with hilarious, British dry humor, fun characters, a terrific soundtrack from the Arctic Monkey's Alex Turner, and brilliant direction and writing from Ayoade, this movie is just an enjoyable time from beginning to end. 

    Oliver is a young teenager who is in love. But of course, the shy young boy who has delusions of grandeur falls for the girl everyone wants, the girl who smokes in school and treats people like she's above them. This girl here is named Jordana (Yasmin Paige), and she's the girl of Oliver's dreams. Not only is it his goal to make her his, but he is also planning on trying to lose his virginity before he turns 16, so he can be one of the cool guys at his school. 

    However, at the same time, Oliver must help get his parents' relationship back on track. His dad (Noah Taylor) is a depressed marine biologist who likes the same old routine, while his mom (Sally Hawkins) wants something fun and wild. She finds that in their next-door neighbor, a spiritual guru named Graham Purvis (Paddy Considine), who Oliver thinks starts an affair with his mother. It is up to him to put a stop to his mother's infidelity so he doesn't become a child of divorce. 

    In complete honesty, the story of Oliver is like a comedic, British, and less gory version of Travis Bickle's from Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver". Our main character believes he is one of the most important and unique man to ever exist, and thinks everyone will bow down to his every whim. They both have very elevated egos, when in actuality, they are both shy loners who everyone thinks is weird. They have to get by on these unmistakably odd attitudes, and hope it works for them. In terms of Roberts' performance as Oliver, he does a fantastic job.

    He is hilarious, charming in his own unique, odd way, and just absolutely hilarious. He delivers his lines of dialogue in such a way that it can easily make the viewer laugh out loud. His dry humor is impeccable, and this is one of the major aspects of British comedies that I love so much. I honestly can't imagine anyone but Roberts delivering this role to this high oh quality, and I wish he was much more coveted and praised than he is today. 

    At the same time, Paige, Hawkins, Taylor, and Considine are excellent additions as minor characters, and they really elevate this film. Paige is so damn good as the typical mean girl, and the story really explores the relationship she has with Oliver. We see how they evolve from a couple who are simply together for clout at school or sexual reasons, and how they become emotionally linked together. Hawkins and Taylor have wonderful chemistry together, and each does a fantastic job of playing into their role. Then, when Considine's character comes in there and causes mayhem, it's a beautifully heartbreaking shift in the relationship dynamic that works so well.

    I love how Ayoade is able to tell such a beautifully dramatic and heartbreaking story that is seen through the eyes of a child. Oliver has these elevated and overdramatized view of the events that take place, and they really allow the viewer to dive into the mind of Oliver and how it affects his growth as a person. While telling this story, Ayoade shows the different demonstrations of cinema to show his appreciation for this long-lasting art form. Whether it is the montage of footage that is believed to be a short home film that Oliver made or the way the dream sequences are shot, this writer-director shows how much he loves this form of art. 

    Alex Turner, who has garnered massive success as the frontman for the Sheffield-based band Arctic Monkeys, delivers a beautifully moving soundtrack that I think elevates this movie beyond what it is. His songs move beautifully throughout the movie, and easily bridge one event to another. His voice is smooth and calm, just like how the setting of this movie is when Oliver's life is going into turmoil.     

    Ayoade crafts this beautifully emotional film about growing up quickly and how your acts can affect others. Whether it was the way Oliver ditched the "love of his life" when she needed him the most or his mother not being completely faithful to his father, this movie's message rings loud and clear from beginning to end. Ayoade does this beautifully, and contrasts it nicely with the hilarious dry humor that these British comedy films are known for. I had such a great time with this movie, and thinks it deserves the love and praise it definitely deserves.