“Submarine” is a unique tale that borrow elements from other films

Straight from this year’s Sundance Film Festival, “Submarine” is a unique and offbeat coming-of-age comedy that borrows certain elements from Wes Anderson.

Based on a novel by Joe Dunthrone, “Submarine” is a about Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), a 15-year-old Welsh schoolboy who has two missions he must accomplished: save the marriage of his parents (Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins) and have sex for the first time before his next birthday. When Oliver finds his mother being wooed by self-help guru Graham (Paddy Considine), it is up to Oliver to keep Graham away from his mother and to motivate his depressed father to win back his woman. Meanwhile, Oliver begins and negotiates a relationship with Jordana (Yasmin Page), an intimidating rebel who has a knack to start a fire or two.

As the debut feature of Richard Ayoade, who is a well-known English TV comedian, “Submarine” is a fascinating story that seems too clever and too mature like the main protagonist. It also explore the innocence that one experiences at 15-years-old whether it experiencing first love or family trouble. Even though this kind of story has been told countless times, but Ayode makes the story fresh this time around.

“Submarine” seems to be heavenly influenced by many films as if Ayode is mixing the styles of Wes Anderson comedies with the filmmaking sensibility of a French New Wave film. It is an interesting combination of the two styles, but it not quite as refreshing or original as another film that was heavily influenced by the French New Wave like “(500) Days of Summer”.

Ayoade manages to balance between the comedic and somber tones of the film, especially in a scene where Oliver imagines how everyone in Wales would react to his death. With the narration of the film becoming amusing at times, it feels unnecessary for Ayoade to use voice-over monologues throughout the film.

The actors are perfectly suited for this role, especially Craig Roberts as Oliver. Flawlessly portrayed by Roberts, Oliver is a geeky hipster with a passion for old foreign films and who is way too mature for his age. Yasmin Page plays Jordana as a rebellious and cool young girl who is deeply troubled and dealing with some family issues of her own.

Sally Hawkins and Noah Taylor are great as Oliver’s parents with Hawkins as the bored housewife who still has passion that is waiting to be reawakened and Taylor as her husband, a depressed marine biologist. Paddy Considine also manages to get a few laughs as the Mullet-sporting New Age buffoon is trying romance his ex-flame.

Even though it is not as original or refreshing as you might think, “Submarine” is a witty and clever film thanks to unique filmmaking skills of Ayoade and the actors that bring Dunthrone’s characters to life.

“Submarine”: 4 stars out of 5

“Submarine” opens in Regal South Beach Cinemas today.

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