| October 4, 2011

Playing with Fire
I’ve only recently encountered Richard Ayoade. First with the brilliant, but short-lived Garth Marengi’s Dark Place and later spoof office comedy The IT Crowd. As witty as Ayoade is, I always felt his humor was always edging on “too cool for school.”
But the trailer of Submarine made me question my opinion. The film’s preview invited viewers elements of comic-suspense (a nod to Harold & Maude) a French New Wave-y type font, and an array of funny dialogue. In my eyes, Submarine had a lot to live up to.
Oliver Tate is a 15-year old boy living in Wales. He feels that his life is a novel and frequently wishes that a film crew mark his every move. In the first half of his novel, Oliver wishes to lose his virginity. Particularly to a girl named Jordana.
After a few cat and mouse games, Jordana finally agrees to date Oliver. Their relationship strictly prohibits any emotion. A feeling they define as “gay.” But when Oliver and Jordana decide they want to have sex, will they be able to block out their emotions?
Meanwhile in Part II of the novel, Oliver’s parents are on the verge of a divorce. Tormented by her husbands lack of emotion, Jill Tate, begins seeing out with Hippie-ninja neighbor and psychic speaker, Graham Purvis. The tension is further lifted when Oliver finds out Purvis is an ex-boyfriend of his mother’s.
I won’t tell you the rest because Submarine is a great movie. Filled with a steller cast, each character works in their own labyrinth of emotions. Re-watching Submarine would only point out more of the wonderful cast and Ayoade’s well developed characters.
On the first viewing you can nearly be overwhelmed by the film’s beautiful apparence. Living up to it’s French New Wave promise, Submarine is filled with homages to Truffaut, Godard, and the most obvious one, Jean-Pierre Melville. A Le Cercle Rouge is visible in Oliver’s room.
Submarine’s alluring quality is further augmented by Artic Monkey’s front man, Alex Turner. Going along with Oliver’s literary life, the film’s soundtrack fills in the empty spaces when our main character does not.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to everyone in the film soon. Submarine is funny, suspenseful, and ultimately entertaining. If you haven’t seen it already, you should.

About the Author:

Daniel currently resides in New York City working as a freelance writer and director. He is a graduate of the Film and Video department of Columbia College, specializing in Italian Neo-realism and French & British New Wave cinema.
Filed in: Video and DVD

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