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Submarine (Richard Ayoade, 2010)

May 25, 2012

So, I don’t really know what happened. I mean, I fell in love with Ayoade since I first saw The IT Crowd, and then he kept popping up here and there on other british TV series (yeah, they only use like ten actors but they know what they’re doing) and my love for him only increased. So, when I discovered he directed a movie I was more than interested, but from the few stills I saw it seemed like something that I would surely hated. I can’t stand Wes Anderson and almost the 90% of indie Sundance comedies and stuff like that, and Submarine seemed like a proud parade of hipster paraphernalia. And, in fact, it kind of is. But, and I’m surprised myself, I liked it. A lot. And I’m still trying to understand why.

First of all, for a directorial debut, Ayoade is surprisingly good: there’s rhythm, there’s composition, a good balance between hand-held camera (apparently you don’t get fundings if you don’t make a shaky camera movie) and contemplative shots, supported by a functional cinematography.

So, super8 bits, coats, heart-shaped sunglasses, assorted vintage clothing, assorted vintage furniture, polaroids, witty/nerdy dialogues, sociopathic characters and so on. Yet, in its entirety, it’s not the usual pseudo post-modern i’m so ironic hipster wannabe anderson like movie. It seemed to me that there is something more, something subtle that doesn’t piss me off like these films usually do. The british vein is recognizable in the dialogues and situation, and that can only be good, but it’s not just that.

The first part is  the most “already seen” part, mostly because it’s the part where the movie tries in every way to appear cool and hip and blah blah, mostly with the stuff that I’ve mentioned before, even though the result is not that bad. Anyway, in the second part all of this seems to vanish, the characters actually acquire some deepness and the story evolves in a more mature tone, but maintaining an effective humorous verve.

The acting is impressive, the protagonist is portrayed by an excellent Craig Roberts, who’s character seems to come straight out of Harold and Maude. But between the two main characters, Yasmin Paige is the real deal, she’s wonderful and adorable and the best performance in the movie. Then we have a hilarious and often tragic Paddy Considine, who also debuted last year as a director with Tyrannosaur, one of the best movies of this last decade, along with Sally Hawkins and a superb Noah Taylor.

So, a really nice surprise indeed. Ayoade is great as a comedy actor, but I hope he will continue making movies, maybe on a different genre or subject to test his directorial abilities, because as for now, he has shown great potential.

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