Great Britain/USA
96 minutes

Actor/writer Richard Ayoade's debut feature has been roundly acclaimed as one of British cinema's most auspicious debuts in a long time, and it is easy to see why: this gentle, off-kilter adaptation of Joe Dunthorne's novel breathes fresh life into the geek-coming-of-age tale, as Welsh schoolboy Oliver (an excellent Craig Roberts) plans and plots on how to become his school's coolest kid but only succeeds inside his hyperactive inner world.

     What mr. Ayoade gets best is the exact tone of being adolescent: that impatience and insouciance mixed in with the first inklings of desire, the awkwardness of not knowing how to go about becoming adult, the sense that every step you take is a massive blunder. Oliver's on-and-off relationship with the too-cool-for-school Jordana (Yasmin Paige) might fit into the current Judd Apatow school of "sympathy for the geek", but are handled in a distinctly British, melancholy key, as seen in the clever way mr. Ayoade uses both Oliver's parents (Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins) and the return of an old flame of his mother (Paddy Considine) as both mirror of his own insecurities and premonition of what his life may become if he keeps up blundering like this.

   This is very clearly a writer's movie, but one where the writer knows perfectly well what he wants to get from his cast, how to get it, and how to make his conceits work visually; it's all in the presentation, and the pitch-perfect, heightened mood of timeless, awkward memory mr. Ayoade achieves, like a flamboyant, filtered flashback of one's own adolescence, seals the deal.

Starring Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige; and Sally Hawkins.
     Directed by Richard Ayoade; produced by Mark Herbert, Andy Stebbing, Mary Burke; screenplay by mr. Ayoade, based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne, Submarine; music by Andrew Hewitt; songs by Alex Turner; director of photography (Deluxe colour), Erik Alexander Wilson; production designer, Gary Wilkinson; costume designer, Charlotte Walter; film editors, Nick Fenton, Chris Dickens.
     A Film 4/UK Film Council presentation, in association with Wales Creative IP Fund, Film Agency Wales, Optimum Releasing, Protagonist Pictures and Red Hour Films, of a Warp Films production. (UK distributor, Optimum Releasing. World sales, Protagonist Pictures.)
     Screened: Berlin Film Festival 2011, Forum screening, Kino Arsenal 1 (Berlin), February 16th 2011. 


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