“Refreshing”, “quirky” and “funny” are not words I would use to describe this laborious trip into mediocrity.
Okay, so several of you will be shaking their heads in disgust, but honestly Submarine did not grab me… at all. Not as a drama and certainly not as a quirky comedic drama.
So we follow a youth in Wales called Oliver who is a socially weird, intelligent but reclusive school boy seeking to lose his virginity and gain some respect at school. The girl he has his eyes on is a serious girl who enjoys tormenting other kids. A match made in Heaven, for sure. In the meantime, the boy’s parents face their own troubles as his mother could be having an affair with their neighbour.
All of this is relentlessly monologued over by Oliver, from his downright weird mindset.
So, if anything, Submarine does have great acting and directing talent, I can give it that much. The young actors are great and there are some subtle comedy and quirkiness coming through in the camerawork and direction…
But my god do I not relate to this kid, at all. He seems to me like an obnoxious know-it-all who thinks he is the centre of the universe! Okay, maybe a lot of kids think that at that age but I know that’s why the kids are obnoxious! They don’t know any better. Why would I want to watch a film from their perspective? Especially when I wasn’t like that in High School! At all!
The film is dull too. I imagined perhaps that I might get a British answer to Amelie (one of my favourite quirky dramatic comedies) but nope, Submarine wallows in the depths of British boring-as-sin reality, and runs with it with sincerity and seriousness like we want to subject ourselves to more of it!
I think it is a stylistic thing; you will love it or hate it, and unfortunately I am more with the latter. It does have great acting (for what little they are given) and great direction (for what little it has to work with) but I found myself completely alienated by the characters, I neither laughed or even cried… not even a lump in my throat for any of them! Surely a drama should get at least one of those out of me?
Additional Marshmallows: This is the director’s only film currently, asides television and features. Richard Ayoade, and if you think that name is somehow familiar, that’s because he was acting beside Ben Stiller in The Watch this year. Huh…