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toonamir16 September 2010
'Submarine' is a wonderfully engaging film. Along with being very funny, It genuinely understands and insightfully explores, teen anxiety and communication/perception troubles. While watching it, I felt like I was experiencing the story first hand. As a result of an artfully made, endearing and enjoyable experience, the film gently implies a progressive and positive message.

The film also shows the tremendous versatility and courage of filmmaker Richard Ayoade. 'Submarine' has created its own category, as it's quite different from Ayoade's brilliant TV comedies, It has a very unique, personal language and sensibility, which is equally thrilling and satisfying for the viewers. The casting is perfect as well, each actor makes their character ring with an authentic and lively human truth.

A delight, Highly recommended!
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Ayoade makes one of the finest debuts in years.
dsjackson9019 February 2011
There's nothing better than walking into a screen to see the debut film by a writer and director – one that you have only heard very little about – and walking away 90 minutes later feeling more moved, entertained and uplifted by a movie than you have been in years.

Perhaps cinema-goers in the mid 1990s had this experience upon seeing Wes Anderson's first film Bottle Rocket. And maybe even those who witnessed Spike Jonze's big screen debut, Being John Malkovich, only a few years later will understand it too. However, for those of you who, like me, were too young to witness the birth of these auteurs of independent cinema then you don't have to worry, because Richard Ayoade's film Submarine is almost as good as both of them put together.

It tells the story of Oliver Tate who is caught at the junction between childhood and adulthood as he struggles with his first feelings of love, desire, heartbreak and must choose what path he wishes to take that'll define who he is for the rest of his life.

Sure, it may sound somewhat similar to all the coming-of-age stories that have hit the cinema recently, but what makes Submarine so special is Richard Ayoade's ability to capture the essence of growing up; the joy, the optimism and the tenderness alongside all the angst, confusion and depression too. I defy anyone to not see themselves plastered up on that silver screen in the film's opening as Oliver fantasises about the adoration and attention he'd receive if he died.

The ups and downs of this British comedy are mainly due to Ayoade's wonderful screenplay and direction that are touching yet never slip into sentimentality - he often playfully pokes fun at it in many cases – but what also deserves credit are the poignant score by Arctic Monkey's singer Alex Turner, the cinematography that effortlessly shifts between comic framing and beautiful imagery and the note-perfect performances by the entire cast.

Craig Roberts plays Oliver Tate in a star-making performance that will surely see him become one of Britain's finest young actors in the next few years. His character is a complex, multifaceted one yet he is able to make it wholly believable. Similarly outstanding is Yasmin Page as his love interest Jordana. It's essential to the story that she is a mystery to Oliver for much of Submarine's opening half, only revealing the reasons why she is so rebellious, unromantic and mischievous in the final act, and Page brilliantly portrays this with a careful mix of enigma, seductiveness and humanity.

What also excels Ayoade's film from being just another British coming of age story is the stylishness of his direction. Presented in the fashion of a French New Wave film like Jules Et Jim or A Bout De Soufflé he gives Submarine an aurora of quirkiness and creativity that you rarely find in British cinema. The "kitchen sink" is gone and has been replaced by jump cuts, inventive sound design and a somewhat disjointedness.

This style, moreover, helps to complement the personality of our aforementioned protagonist who sees the world in a unique way to everyone else.

So what lies in the future for British cinema? Some could argue that it's the big dramas like The King's Speech, others could argue that it's the low budget affairs like Monsters and many will say that it's spectacles like Harry Potter. However, on the evidence that Richard Ayoade presents here, Submarine might just be a glimpse of the great things to come.
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ferguson-615 June 2011
Greetings again from the darkness. A UK version of a teen comedy is quite a different experience than a US teen comedy. Maybe it's the source material from Joe Dunthorne's novel or maybe it's the deft touch of first time director Richard Ayoade. Either way, there is much more depth and emotion involved here ... not just sight gags.

The two leads are Craig Roberts as Oliver and Yasmin Paige as Jordana. Watching the way these two work so hard at not appearing to like each other perfectly captures the teen dance. Once they do get together, the film does a nice job of creating those perfect moments of doubt, discovery and subtle humiliation.

Oliver is carrying quite the burden. He strives to be the perfect boyfriend, but is also very concerned about the slow collapse of his parents' marriage. This problem is enhanced when his mom's old lover moves in across the street. Graham Purvis is some self-proclaimed mystic healer who somehow gets people to pay attention to his words, despite driving around town in a van with his face painted on the side.

Oliver's parents are played by Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins. Taylor is superb as the quietly suffering loner who has no concept of what makes a relationship. Hawkins is the disillusioned wife eager to recapture the magic of her youth ... even if it is with a goofball mystic played by Paddy Considine.

I have to point out that Craig Roberts, who plays Oliver, is the spitting image of a young Bud Cort ... and even has some of Cort's mannerisms from the classic Harold and Maude. Mostly Oliver and Jordana are just two regular teenagers fighting angst, depression and self-doubt, not to mention REAL issues like disinterested parents and a very sick mother. Turns out, being a teen is every bit as tough in the UK as it is in the US ... but the dialogue is much better!
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Fresh, funny and twisted turns to this quirky coming-of-age tale
napierslogs24 July 2011
"Submarine" is Welsh. It opens, at least in North America it does, with a letter from its protagonist (Oliver) to Americans; educating us that Wales is a country located next to England. Although thankful that America has not yet invaded his country, Oliver informs us that this is an important film which we should treat with the utmost respect.

Don't worry, it's okay to laugh; you're supposed to. This is a teen coming-of-age comedy. Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is like a young, Welsh hero of a Wes Anderson film. Gangly and awkward he struggles with popularity in school, but when he imagines his own funeral, the entire country mourns. He bullies one girl to try and impress another but then writes a long letter not so much repenting his guilt but teaching her how to be cool. The dialogue, like Oliver, is precocious but hilarious with a surprisingly fresh feel considering how tired the genre has become.

Oliver tries to win the girl and become the best boyfriend in the world, and he also has to be the best son in the world to save his parents' marriage. In both adventures, he uses psychology books (usually found in routine searches of his parents' bedroom) to ensure his actions accurately reflect his intentions. If you can guess how his plans may go awry, then you are the right audience for this very funny film.

His father, Lloyd (Noah Taylor) is a depressed marine biologist, while his mother Jill (Sally Hawkins) is inappropriately attracted to their neighbour, an old boyfriend of hers. He's a mystic, theatrical performer, and Oliver and Lloyd are the only ones that see it for the nonsense that it is. Lloyd is like a grown-up, Welsh hero of a Wes Anderson film and I loved how they included the father of the protagonist as a main character and showed that although he was more mature, still not any more in tune with the ways of the world around him.

It has some slightly dark twists, but "Submarine" succeeds because it never lets up the humour or the quirky tone. Funny? Yes. Important? No, but I certainly get the joke.
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Great Directorial Debut
mdrocioscott19 February 2011
We had the pleasure of seeing and listening to Richard Ayoade in person at last night's screening at the Glasgow Film Festival.

I am normally a bit scared of coming-of-age movies, mainly because of potential cheesiness and annoying child actors but Submarine managed to an accurate, funny portrayal of the hell of teenage UK school life. There were some slightly Adrian Mole-esque moments but that's not a bad thing.

The audience at the screening seemed to think that the whole thing was a rip-roaring comedy and laughed at points which were obviously supposed to be more poignant or sad. Overall, however, the tone is one of wry comedy at the horrors of growing up and even subjects such as brain tumors & divorce are treated as lightly heartedly as possible.

Don't be put off that Ben Stiller's production company was behind funding the film - it has nothing in common with a Hollywood teen movie. One of the best British films we have seen.
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Introduction to a potentially massive talent
tomgillespie200212 April 2011
Whilst watching Richard Ayoade playing uber-nerd Moss in the hit-and- miss sitcom The IT Crowd, or playing TV producer and actor Dean Lerner in the criminally underrated Garth Merenghi's Darkplace, the last thing I pictured him doing was confidently directing a feature-length film. I don't mean to knock him, as I've always felt he was an extremely talented comedy performer and writer, and he brightens up whatever he appears in, no matter how crap the material. But here he has focused all his ambition, influences and talent into creating a truly memorable debut.

Tate (Craig Roberts), a strange, intelligent and unnervingly confident schoolboy who falls for an equally strange girl Jordana (Yasmin Paige). After an incident which sees Oliver reluctantly participate in a spot of casual bullying that causes a girl to fall into a muddy pond, Oliver and Jordana begin their unusual romance. All seems to be going well until Oliver suspects his mother Jill (Sally Hawkins) of having an affair with cheesy self-help guru Graham (Paddy Considine), who lives next door. His father Lloyd (Noah Taylor) is so passive and uncaring that he is practically a zombie, and so Oliver takes it upon himself to rescue his parent's broken marriage whilst holding his own fragile relationship together.

The film arrives amidst critical praise and festival word-of-mouth, and the promise of a real future talent in director Richard Ayoade. I'm pleased to announce that the film is every bit as good as I've heard. I had my doubts, concerned with the film's 'quirky indie comedy' tag that films are so lazily lumbered with these days. But while the film is quirky, indie and a comedy, it finds its influences lying elsewhere - from the greatest of all film movements, the French New Wave. From the start this is clear with the Godard-esque large lettering with strong colours for the opening credits and title cards. Everything about the film screams New Wave, from its stylistic boldness, self-awareness, and even the unconventionally handsome and turtle-neck-wearing leading man.

One of the main strengths of the film is it's awareness of slipping into cliché. The quirkiness and magic of the French New Wave have been copied and ripped-off so often that nowadays when it is used it can come across as pretentious. But Oliver's intelligence and amusing voice-over frequently touches on this. At the start of his relationship with Jordana, they spend their days on the beach and frequenting industrial wastelands, and Oliver comments that he will put these moments in his 'Super 8 memories', cue shots of the couple running and laughing on the beach, shot in that grainy, home-video look. He also fantasises that he is in a film, and that the film will end up with him searching for Jordana on a beach and how it will end in an arty-farty, pretentious manner aimed to encourage discussion among chin-strokers. It's a great little trick and you have to admire the film's refreshing self- assurance.

The film is also very, very funny, with Craig Roberts proving an extremely talented comedy performer, all pale-skinned, wide-eyed awkwardness, and a pronounced, high pitched voice that almost resembles many of Ayoade's TV characters. The humour is often similar in style to Wes Anderson's (dare I say it?) indie comedies, which are some of the best comedies, if not films, to come out in the last fifteen years. Most of the humour stems from Oliver's increasing desperation to lose his virginity to Jordana, especially in one scene where they find themselves home alone, only for Oliver to light candles around his bed, and lie open-legged on his side in a cheesy pose. Jordana, with her eyes closed waiting for the surprise, opens them and deadpans 'f****n' hell, you're a serial killer.'

A real gem, and a film that definitely introduces the potentially massive talent of director Richard Ayoade, star Craig Roberts, and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner, who performs the wonderful music. And also a rare opportunity to see some of the beautiful sights of Swansea, where I currently reside.
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Submarine is devilishly funny, a true gem and I hope it doesn't stay under the radar of most cinema goers for much longer.
pomeroy-nick5 July 2011
Dead pan humour is the order of the day with Submarine. Understated lines such as "my mum gave a hand job to a mystic" could go unnoticed by an inattentive audience; every exchange has a hidden reward if picked up on. There are of course obvious jokes throughout, however the true comedy is found in Oliver Tate's voice over and interactions.

Casting Craig Roberts as Oliver Tate was a masterstroke and much of the film's success is based on his performance. The imaginative and peculiar schoolboy analyses everything, often conjuring up fictional events which parody mainstream movies. In one such hypothetical situation he sees Jordana (Yasmin Paige) by the shore and runs to her, meanwhile his narration explains that it isn't her standing there, a stranger turns around.

Submarine is a simple coming of age story, without the solid plot of the British film veterans. A little slow paced on occasion, it could have done with an extra thread of story. In essence the narrative follows two strands, the relationship between Oliver and Jordana and between Oliver and his family. Trying to date Jordana and reignite the spark between his parents isn't a small task, not that that fazes Oliver.

Submarine is devilishly funny, a true gem and I hope it doesn't stay under the radar of most cinema goers for much longer.
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Adrian Mole Light
basilisksamuk18 December 2012
It starts well but soon deteriorates. The narrator and lead is practically indistinguishable from Adrian Mole and whilst this could be deployed as a strength it actually turns out to be a weakness. There is something inherently funny about the seriousness of teenage earnestness but the development in this film strays into mawkishness and constantly fails to capitalise on the comedic potential of the story.

Time passes pleasantly enough whilst watching the film but leaves you feeling unsatisfied. It's neither sufficiently quirky to be endearing nor funny enough to be worthwhile as an outright comedy. It's well acted and uses some interesting visual approaches to convey its message but none of them carry conviction. It would pass muster as a TV special but isn't good enough to warrant a theatrical release.

Must try harder.
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Great Film!
Guneration215 September 2010
I had the pleasure of seeing this film at The Toronto film festival a few nights ago and I absolutely loved it! I had no expectations going in, since it was the directorial debut for Richard Ayoade. He did a wonderful job with this film. It was beautifully shot and directed and the cast, although unknowns to me were unbelievably good! I didn't understand a few jokes since I didn't understand a bit of the British humour, but most of the jokes were universally understandable which is great. Overall I gave it a 9 out of 10 and I can't wait until it gets distributed worldwide so I can see it again. I hope Richard Ayoade starts working on another film soon, because I'm excited to see what else he can do.
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Quirky and worthwhile film
billcr1231 July 2011
Most teen romance coming-of-age movies are completely predictable, especially the American ones. High school student, Oliver Tate, as played by Craig Roberts, reminded of an equally quirky Dustin Hoffman in "The Graduate." He wanders throughout this comedy with a wisdom far greater than those around him. He spies on his very strange mother & father and tries to keep a relationship with his girlfriend, Jordana(Yasmin Paige) going with very mixed results.

Writer-Director Richard Ayoade does a great job of keeping the pace moving with no wasted moments & a dialogue that is both witty & believable at the same time.

If you are in the mood for a film which will make you smile and even bring back some childhood memories, this a perfect choice; Ayoade is to be commended for a wonderful movie & I eagerly await his next project.
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magnuslhad21 January 2015
If Wes Anderson was to guest write an episode of The Inbetweeners, it would come out as Submarine. Now if you find (pre-Grand Budapest) Wes Anderson quirky, irreverent and great fun, this is for you. If you find the awkwardness and scatological pepperings of The Inbetweeners hilarious, you'll have a good time here. But if, like me, you find Anderson twee and vapid, and just feel too old for displays of teenage fretting, then you'll be as bored by Submarine as I was. Craig Roberts is convincingly insecure as Oliver, but his love story lacks both drama and heart, while the adult triangle drama is staid and caricatured, relying on Blackpool postcard saucy comments for so-called humour. I came to this via The Double, thinking that film the sophomore failure after a debut success. I love the IT Crowd as much as anyone, but how this can be the next big thing in British cinema comedy is mystifying.
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Quirky, unlikeable protagonist populates neat Welsh urban landscape, served up by talented UK first-time director
Turfseer17 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
If you're a fan of quirky indie films such as 'Harold and Maude' or anything by quirky indie director Wes Anderson, then first-time director Richard Ayoade's 'Submarine' is for you. As for the rest of us, better to find something more rooted in a sensible, historical reality. This is not to say that Mr. Ayoade is not without talent. His background is in music video as well as being well known for his comic performance on a British TV show, 'The IT Crowd'. Ayoade does wonders with the camera, turning his Welsh urban landscape into a veritable palette of most inviting sights and sounds.

Unfortunately, Ayoade drew his inspiration from the 2008 novel of the same name, by Joe Dunthorne. While I haven't read the novel, I'm told that the film sticks fairly closely to the novel's plot, which features the unlikeable protagonist, Oliver Tate (played by Craig Roberts, who bears a striking resemblance to another famous quirky character, Bud Cort, of 'Harold and Maude' fame). Roberts has Oliver offering up an almost deadpan, monosyllabic delivery throughout the film, which some may find to be cool or amusing, but for me it's symptomatic of Submarine's overall monotonous tone.

Submarine's main problem is that it's protagonist, Oliver, is not endearing at all. Most 'coming-of-age' stories feature protagonists who are basically good people with one characteristic flaw. In Oliver's case, it's the opposite: most of his actions are cruel and he fails to have his grand epiphany until the film's denouement.

Set in the mid-80s in Wales, we're introduced to Oliver as he's fantasizing what his community's response would be, had he passed away at his current age of fifteen. If that isn't morbid enough, it gets worse when Oliver decides to impress Jordana, a schoolmate he has a crush on, by bullying another overweight schoolmate, Zoe, who ends up falling into a pond as a result of Oliver's taunts. To make matters worse, Oliver types up a manual for Zoe, advising her how not to be a victim and delivers it to her only friend, only to discover that Zoe has left school and moved as a result of all the bullying.

Oliver and Jordana become victims of bullying themselves, after Jordana takes Polaroid pictures of Oliver and her kissing, and distributes them to classmates in order to make an ex-boyfriend jealous. As a result of their new found isolation, the two become closer. While well-intentioned, Oliver's continuous clueless actions cannot be excused because he's old enough to know right from wrong. At one point, after reading a book that offers the opinion that children are able to cope with death better as a result of experiencing the death of their own pets, Oliver considers poisoning Jordana's dog so that she can cope with her mother's impending death from a recent terminal cancer diagnosis. Oliver alienates Jordana further when he decides it's a better idea to leave Jordana alone as she copes with her stricken mother in the hospital.

The second part of the 'Submarine' plot involves Oliver's suspicions that his mother has been having an affair with next-door neighbor Graham Purvis, a new-age Guru, who peddles a wacky 'system' involving emotions and the color spectrum. Oliver's Dad is a depressed marine biologist who hardly seems upset when Oliver informs him that his mother might be having an affair. Oliver engages in the creepy surveillance of his mother and Graham at a New Year's Eve party at the beach. Later, he spies Graham and his mother entering Graham's trailer together and assumes the worst. There's more bad conduct from Oliver when he gets drunk and attempts to trash Graham's home, before passing out.

It's supposed to be funny when Oliver's parents coddle the wayward Oliver after the break-in as well as the mother admitting that she gave Graham a 'hand job', but at the same time indicating that she and her husband were reconciling (remember, anything can happen in a movie with 'quirky' characters!).

After all of Oliver's troublesome conduct during the film, director Ayoade wants us to conclude that "youths will be youths". Somehow, all the bad behavior is not so bad after all, since clueless Oliver was well-intentioned at the same time. Oliver's 'reward' at film's end is the implied reconciliation with love interest, Jordana. But there is little remorse from Oliver, who really needs to make up for all his bad conduct, especially the bullying he engaged in with his formerly besieged and ostracized classmate.

For all those who are enamored with these type of films featuring 'quirky' characters, I can only point out that they seem to operate in their own separate but dubious moral universe. Admire 'Submarine' for its neat cinematography and clever editing, but please recognize that such tomes add nothing to the pantheon of true art house fare.
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It tries so hard
claudiacscb17 July 2017
I usually only review movies I really didn't like so I can complain about them so here it goes. This movie tries so hard to be philosophical and deep and whatnot but it's very shallow and nothing new. The entire plot is so recycled. I know it's set in the 80s but the homophobia is unnecessary and irritating. I also didn't sympathise with the characters at all: the girl (who is so forgettable I don't even remember her name 5 minutes after watching it) is cruel and selfish and he is a wannabe. He's awfully pretentious too. The good thing about this movie is the camera work. It otherwise just tries too hard and achieves nothing but my boredom.
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Variation on a theme
bandw4 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is another entry into the precocious teen coming of age movie. The hero in this case is Oliver Tate. Oliver is a bit of an oddball, but he is beset by the usual adolescent angst over sex and a good part of the movie deals with his developing relationship with Jordana, a bit of an odd duck herself. These two are likable, even though they are not idealized--for example Jordana enjoys bullying a frumpy classmate and involves Oliver in the practice. Of course Oliver regrets it, sensitive lad that he is. In fact he sends the girl a note giving two hints on how to stand up to bullying: own any embarrassment and silently endure whatever torture is handed out. I suppose his ill advice comes from his immaturity, but I found this aspect of the movie disturbing.

This is filmed in southern Wales and there is no attempt to glamorize the industrial backdrop--in fact the two protagonists seek it out as a sort of anti-romantic rebellion. Someone will enjoy this movie based in large part on how much he or she likes the two young actors. Their emotional ups and downs are standard fare, perhaps that is why I did like them. The movie captures how intensely adolescents feel about their experiences and thoughts.

The fact that Oliver's parents are presented as real people and not as dopes to be ridiculed by the adolescents is a distinguishing feature. Oliver's father Lloyd suffers from depression, but he still functions and, as played by Noah Taylor in a deadpan style, he provides some humor. Interesting to note that in his younger days Taylor played the young man in the excellent Australian coming of age films: "The Year My Voice Broke," and "Flirting." Oliver's mother is starved for affection and a brighter life and begins an affair with a neighbor who is a spiritual guru, perhaps too facilely written for satirical purposes. Oliver sizes up the situation with his parents pretty accurately and endeavors to bring them back to a happier life. Oliver's concern for his parents is touching.

In many movies in this genre there is a continual tease about the possibility of the young couple having sex. This movie lets Oliver and Jordana have sex without moralizing. Parents may not like this.

I'm not sure how much this movie adds to the canon of coming of age stories, but its gentle humor and sympathetic characters made it enjoyable for me.
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Wish I hadn't seen it
moirabroon6 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
The first five minutes of this film were quite funny and then it slowly descended into hell. Half way through watching it I thought, "I bet the film director went to an elite independent school". I looked him up and he did. He also studied Law at Cambridge. The conclusion is that I'm just not posh enough to enjoy this type of humour.

I watched it with a teenage relative and she hated it just as much. She said, "All the characters are horrible". As the film progressed it became more and more unpleasant and I actually ended up feeling anxious watching it.

The horrible main character didn't turn up at the hospital the day before his girlfriend thought her mother was going to die. To anyone, especially teenage girls and boys out there, DO NOT FORGIVE SOMEONE WHO DOES SOMETHING AS BAD AS THIS TO YOU. Didn't like the morals in this film at all.
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yet another one of these
grnhair200113 April 2013
I feel as if I've seen 1000 indie movies about very "special" teen boys, their odd parents, their loss of virginity, their self-involvement, with pop music soundtrack over inevitable scenes of them walking alone on the beach/city street/park. Yadayadayada. At least in this case it's not the filmmaker making a self-congratulatory semi-autobiographical film about how "special" he was (so special we have to see a film about his very special specialness! Oh joy.) The problem with all those films is all the boys are is: self-congratulatory, self-involved, cruel, clueless, irritating, average, and not nearly as "special" as some parent or progressive school(or for that matter, executive producer) told them they are. Whatever lesson was allegedly learned here in this version of that clichéd tale was undercut by the very last scene, so there's no moral redemption for this boy's casual cruelty, crimes, and other offenses against people. The whole thing felt misogynistic to me as well. So it's episode 9999 in The Squid and the Art of the Submarine, or whatever, and please save me from the next episode. Note to wannabe filmmakers: I don't care about your first sexual experience! I don't! Not even one little bit!
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Submarine - where did I put those depth charges?
alan-lohf13 November 2012
Funding for this film was provided by the UK Film Council, which was abolished by the government in 2010. I can't help but wonder if that decision was taken after members of the government saw Submarine and concluded the money could be put to better use. It just goes to show that even governments can get it right occasionally. Submarine is billed as a comedy/drama/romance. If there is an amusing line in this film, I must have missed it. A drama? I don't think so! The characters are far too ludicrous to be taken seriously. A romance? The relationship between 15 year old Oliver Tate and the raven haired Jordana does hold some interest but in the end, the rest of the film defeats it. Ultimately, Submarine appears to have been framed with cult status in mind but its attempts to be clever and eccentric are far too obvious and heavy handed. It should be allowed to sink without a trace.
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Just okay. The sort of film you'll forget soon after seeing.
dbborroughs31 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Oer hyped and over sold by several people I know as the next big thing, this is a sweet little film that probably won't be remembered in a few weeks.

The plot of the film has Oliver Tate trying to navigate life: Ie. School, a girlfriend, and the rough patch in his parents marriage.

It's a well acted tale that frequently looks stunning in the faux films that Tate imagines his life is transpiring in.

The trouble with the film is that it's trying way too hard to be hip and happening and most deadly of all quirky. I have not read the novel upon this is based but I would hate to think the book is as much a Wes Anderson knock off as this film is. It's as if the director stole a bunch of Anderson's tropes, his song score and credit style and went for it.

The result is a film that flashes with brilliance now and again, but also crashes and burns just as often. For example the songs work. The orchestral score (which rips off any number of classical pieces) doesn't. We also have a lead character who is alternately charming, and a complete jerk.

I liked it but I didn't love it and as my friend said in a couple of weeks I'll be hard pressed to remember what the film was all about.

A word of warning the promotional material mentions what the film is about (say trying to lose virginity before a birthday)but none of it is in the film or is a fleeting moment that doesn't mean anything- so don't expect what they are telling you the film is all about.
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First half shows promise, but second half sinks it
chaz-2821 May 2011
Submarine was adapted from a novel and directed by a British comic, Richard Ayoade. It is set in Wales in the mid-80s but the year isn't too important; you only know it is the '80s because of a reference to the new movie Crocodile Dundee. The main character who provides a lot of voice over narration is Oliver Tate, a 15 year old high school student who is quite adept at analyzing his popularity status and various options in wooing girls. The film has a Rushmore vibe, but Oliver Tate is no Max Fischer. The majority of the plot is an ellipsis around two poles, Oliver nurtures the beginnings of a relationship with the feisty Jordana and he suspects his mother of infidelity with the new next door neighbor who wears black leather pants and proclaims himself a mystic. Oliver does not balance these two 'problems' very well and the pole involving his mother's suspected infidelity feels forced and trite.

I do not recognize the two actors who play Oliver and Jordana, Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige, but I suppose if you watch TV in Britain you will. The poster has a large "Ben Stiller Presents" at the top of it so the film has star-backing and I even think he makes a cameo but it would be very hard to see him. Submarine is slated for a 10 June U.S. release but I am not recommending this movie; go watch Rushmore again.
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calumxatl14 January 2018
I was excited to watch this movie but I was truly disappointed. This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The characters were horrible people and the storyline was cringy and dull.
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Avoids narrative and thematic circumvention for a neverending game of connect the dots
StevePulaski1 February 2016
NOTE: This film was recommended to me by Rachel Davis for "Steve Pulaski Sees It."

Richard Ayoade's directorial debut Submarine is so close to being a Wes Anderson film that all it's missing is the polish. By polish, I don't mean Ayoade's film is sloppily constructed or poorly shot, but unlike Anderson, who emphasizes heavily decorated sets, immaculate symmetry, and astute framing, Ayoade emphasizes a more natural and intimate style of filming. Ayoade works to emphasize character facial expressions, in addition to his characters becoming sole subjects of a scene as they discuss the film's events or narrate certain parts in a manner that breaks the fourth wall.

The result is a quaint comedy-drama that unfortunately succumbs to its identity crisis and its desire to try and find a path before it figures itself out, much like its main character, Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts). Oliver is a fifteen-year-old boy living in Swansea, with a crush on his cute but ordinary classmate Jordana (Yasmin Paige). The two wind up going out after Oliver's passes result in defeat on Jordana's behalf and acceptance after her own attempt to make her ex-boyfriend jealous failed. Oliver is also concerned with his parents' disintegrating marriage when he notices his father's (Noah Taylor) increasing disconnectedness and his mother's (Sally Hawkins) brewing relationship with a new-age guru (Paddy Considine) that she dated back in school.

Oliver is very demanding and blunt, with a desire to use people in his circles as pawns for his greater good without even really knowing it; he takes "having all his ducks in a row" to a new level. He's not necessarily evil, he's just never really been told "no" or been let down in his life until his relationship with Jordana begins going south beyond his control. His intents are not malicious, but his conception of boundaries leave a lot to be desired. Having said that, the relationship he crafts with Jordana throughout the course of the film is a precious one, as is much of the film (until heartbreak begins setting in, and Oliver begins writing notes to himself that will make anyone who has went through heartbreak shatter a bit inside).

Submarine is crafted in that indie movie light that emphasizes the quirky and the largely improbable or eccentric. This is the kind of film that requires your suspension of disbelief more often than its filmmakers would like to admit. Going back to Anderson, his films largely work because of the whimsical world they create. In films like The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom, we get the sense that the verisimilitude Anderson crafts is meant to exist in a fictional realm of reality, where things are unrealistically beautiful and painstakingly decorated, not exactly the world in which we are currently. Anderson is also an anomaly because he can do this without asserting the presence of the world he creates nor really emphasizing that we are leaving the world we live in to inhabit a new land.

Ayoade's biggest struggle is not really being sure how to capture Oliver's unpredictable behavior, and in turn, how to communicate its direction to the audience. Is this supposed to be a satire on the absurdity of coming of age films? Is this supposed to be an all-out parody, or sort of a "teens do the darnedest things" episode? Ayoade isn't exactly sure it seems, and as a result, neither am I. The Oliver character isn't grossly unlikable, but he's not a particularly strong or convincing protagonist, despite Roberts doing some strong work as an actor in terms of the copious amounts of dialog he needs to recite within the scenes. However, the monotone nature of the film lacks any kind of justification as to whether or not we're supposed to feel glum during the course of this film, or at least recognize the film channeling morose themes of love and early onset disillusionment.

When a film's intentions and themes are muddled, the only thing one can do is spitball, and that's what Submarine requires - a lot of spitballing and contemplating in terms of what it's trying to say and do. The film is heavily reminiscent of later works like Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and The Perks of Being a Wallflower in that it belongs to the category of, what I call, "neo-coming of age," where films are bent on quirks, eccentricities, and heavily scripted dialog in the form of lengthy monologues and precocious characters to appeal to the kids who aren't as likely to speak first in class or completely go unnoticed all together. For a soul as quirky as Ayoade, who did some brilliant comedic work in the British Television show The IT Crowd, I would've expected, yes, a film with more polish and direction. The film's humorous moments and grin-worthy sequences only go so far before we realize that the circumvention we expect from a film is missing and traded for an endless game of connect the dots.

Starring: Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, Sally Hawkins, and Paddy Considine. Directed by: Richard Ayoade.
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Dull and boring
Gordon-116 August 2011
This film is about a teenage boys life at home and at school. He faces bullying at school, his parents on the verge of splitting up and also has problems with his girlfriend.

"Submarine" portrays events as experienced by the main character, Oliver. Even though Oliver's life is eventful, there is little to interest the viewers. The events are plainly portrayed, lacking the ups and downs that would otherwise engage the viewers. Olivers facial expression is the same throughout the film, his big eyes dully staring into the camera. The other characters do not display much emotions either, especially the father who is wooden beyond belief. The pacing is very slow. I find "Submarine" awfully boring.
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Funny, believable, and a happy ending with no saccharine
john-powell2277 September 2011
The best movie I have seen this year. Whilst I'm sure more in depth reviews will find flaws I was completely won over by this film.

Great writing, genuinely funny. For me , very evocative of an English childhood. Super performances from the entire cast.

Hilarious turn from Paddy Considine (he is never in a duff movie!).

I think this small budget movie deserves to become a DVD cult hit.

Very entertaining.

As a rule I don't buy DVDs as they sit on the shelf for years before a second look.

I will be making an exception for Submarine.

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Unique and arty, like the mind of a teenage boy.
crazy-ben6628 March 2011
Teenage angst is a theme covered by many and conquered by none within the cinematic landscape of the 21st century. Modern teenage "romances" exist only as pixelated words darting between computers and phones and never as emotional connections between human beings, their brief lives just a fleeting memory to the tortured souls of the two in question. So when a modern film comes forth, fronting a hauntingly real take on life co-existing with romance, many would usually run a mile. This is why Submarine is so unique and un- flinching in its presentation, it was made not to dictate but to reminisce, to inspire, to harness belief.

As previously said, this is not a romance film, nor is it a love story, it's a charming tale of a young boy's brush with its radiant thorns and the repercussions it has within his mentally aged mind. A charming tale brought to life by former sitcom-star Richard Ayoade, an unexpected triumph both on paper and behind the camera. His light-yet-real approach to Joe Dunthorne's novel is simply majestic to watch, his artful touches shining through the lens and his playful British humour echoing through the words.

It is both the fantastic performances and Dunthorne's sweet, sincere characters that the film rests upon, like an unmovable block of unbroken laughter, dramatically and comedically they are perfect. Craig Roberts' portrayal of the odd and pretentious teen Oliver Tate will surely never melt the hearts of the audience (his creepy involvement with his parents' relationship giving him eerie edge) but will capture their thoughts in a state of nostalgia and inspiration. His heartfelt voice-overs fill the picture with truth and his exaggerated weirdness is a sign of humanity and in-difference among the many, highlighting his alienation and truly bringing him into the centre of the entire story, allowing him to never be over-taken by Sally Hawkins' emotionally forgiving mother or Paddy Considine's deluded dancer.

There are no heroes within the piece, but a horde of under-appreciated and rarely recognised talent that fit so beautifully together like an artfully complacent jigsaw. Dunthorne's material is so firmly polished and his characters so lovably believable and Ayoade's distinct, artistic style (although owing to the likes of Mike Nichols and Woody Allen, as well as the French new-wave scene) is a giant leap into cinematic originality. He truly has created something wonderful.

Submarine is a unique and telling tale of teenage life, possibly the most truthful ever filmed, and Ayoade's fitting involvement allows it to be carefully broadcast into the minds of the many, un-spoilt and emotionally aware in its presentation. It's appeal will spread from similarly precocious teenagers to nostalgic seniors thanks to the not-to-distant-past setting, yanking away the technological nightmares that lay within modern romance and leaving behind the bare-bones of true life with love.

In short, it's a triumphantly humorous and truthful take on young life with artful touches and is the best, most honest British film for a long, long time.
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An awful, boring movie full of awfully boring characters
Little_Tyke4 September 2012
I managed to get through this complete dross by fast-forwarding in some parts, it was so death-defyingly boring all the way. The main character, Oliver, is obviously some sort of retard who needs psychological counselling just to stay alive. His constant staring into the distance, his weird penguin-like walk, his unattractiveness as potential boyfriend material started to explain why all the other pupils hated his guts. But instead of asking himself why that might be and doing something to change things, to make himself a bit more likable, he just carried on as ever with his staring and his funny walk and looking like a pr-at in that daft clobber he constantly wore.

The remaining characters were almost as bad. No, on second thoughts, his father was, if anything, *worse*! What kind of dysfunctional "family" are we talking about here? The movie was dark, depressing, grainy - horrible. It had utterly no redeeming features whatsoever and I was glad when it was all over and I could chuck the DVD in the trash where it belongs.
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