Friday 24 November 2017

Movies: Submarine * * * *

(15A, General Release)

Craig Roberts is brilliant as a precocious 15-year-old
Craig Roberts is brilliant as a precocious 15-year-old

Paul Whitington

Up until now, Richard Ayoade has been best known for playing clumsy computer geek Maurice in Channel 4's The It Crowd.

But in his writing and directing feature film debut Submarine, he reveals a remarkable instinct for comedy and storytelling.

Woody Allen and Holden Caulfield are the twin inspirations for Submarine, a likeably eccentric coming-of-age comedy set in south Wales in -- I think -- the mid to late 80s. Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is a precociously articulate but socially inept 15-year-old who singlemindedly sets out to lose his virginity before his next birthday.

The object of his affections is the unattainable Jordana Bevan (Yasmin Paige), and just as he's getting somewhere Oliver is fatally distracted when he becomes convinced his mother (Sally Hawkins) is about to have an affair with a sleazy ex-boyfriend.

There are shades of early Wes Anderson about Submarine's mournful irony, but real originality too to the way Ayoade's screenplay makes his story spark.

The film loses its way a little late on, but overall it's a witty and winning comedy and there are some lovely performances, especially from the po-faced lead, Craig Roberts, and from Paddy Considine as an odious new-age charlatan.

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