Sundance 2011 Review: SUBMARINE

ReviewMovie Sundance by Joey Paur

Submarine is one of those films up at the Sundance film Festival that I knew nothing about before I got up here. I started hearing people talking about it, saying that it is like a British version of the Wes Anderson film Rushmorewhich I love, so I thought I would go check this movie out. 

Submarine did have a Rushmore type vibe to it, but it definitely wasn’t as good. I thought the first half of the movie was great, and it was on its way to possibly becoming one of my favorite movies at the festival. It was quirky, funny, and it had some entertaining, snappy dialogue. I enjoyed the characters that I was being introduced to as well as the story that was being set up. 

But the story took a dive into a dark abyss. All of a sudden, the movie wasn’t funny--it was depressing as hell. The second half of the film did not really mesh well with how the movie started. The story ended up going into a completely different direction than it started, and I didn't like it. Although it still maintained its snappy dialogue, the second half of the film went into a dark place, and I just didn’t enjoy going there. So the movie ended up not being a favorite. I’ve talked to a few other people about this, and they all felt the same way. 

The film is a character study of a teenage kid who is extremely self-absorbed and is slowly learning the hard way to be a selfless individual. It definitely has a few coming-of-age clichés that we’ve seen before. 

Submarine was adapted from the Joe Dunthorne’s wry novel and directed by actor-turned-director Richard Ayoade, who’s best known for helming TV shows like Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, and The Mighty Boosh,as well as music videos for Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, and Arctic Monkeys. Ben Stiller produced the movie, and he even makes an interesting little cameo. The cast for the film includes Noah Taylor, Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, and Sally Hawkins, who all did a great job taking on their characters.

It ended up being a decent movie as a whole, but it could have been a much better movie had it stayed with the tone that it set up in the beginning. 

Here is the official synopsis of the film:

Meet Oliver Tate, a precocious 15-year-old whose worldview is exceedingly clever and largely delusional (he imagines the outpouring of grief that would spread through Wales if he died). Oliver carries a briefcase, doesn’t agree with everything Nietzsche said but concedes that he had some interesting points, peruses the dictionary for new words (fla•gi•tious, adj, wickedly shameful), and suspects his mother of having an affair with their New Age neighbor. But foremost on Oliver’s mind is finding a girlfriend. Enter Jordana Bevan.

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