Sunday 21 August 2011

Submarine (2010) - Richard Ayoade

The coming of age film is a well worn genre, but with Submarine the I.T Crowd's Richard Ayoade offers a different and refreshing take on the genre for his cinematic debut.

Our protagonist is Oliver Tate, a precocious welsh teenager and a rather odd character.  He keeps tabs on his parents marriage and sex life by noting whether the dimmer switch on their bedroom light has been used.  And that's just the start.  But when he is seduced by his classmate Jordana, he must learn to balance his own relationship with that of his parents.  Can he prevent his mother from cheating with their mystic neighbour?  What impact will Jordana's dying mother have on their relationship?

It's a morbid and ironic comedy, humour deriving from the death of a parent, a pet or a relationship.  Just as Oliver balances his relationships, Ayoade deftly balances the dark and light of the narrative.  And its Ayoade's direction that really shines here through each awkward situation.  The film has its own unique style - an indie film that's equally artistic and accessible.  The beautifully shot landscapes match the mood of teenage turmoil.  More so, Ayoade injects some cinematic humour by using film techniques to poke fun at the script, all handled with subtlety.  And though I'm not a fan of Alex Turner, his music is well suited to the film.

It's an awkward and odd plot but brought to life through some creative direction.  Oliver may have more than a whiff of Ayoade's trademark geeky humour, but his directing talent is undeniable.