Overview: Submarine, the debut of British director Richard Ayoade, follows 15 year old Oliver Tate’s adolescent experiences living in Wales. Optimum Releasing/The Weinstein Company; 2010; Rated R; 98 Minutes.
The Comedy: Submarine is downright laugh-out-loud funny. Craig Roberts, in his feature film debut, plays Oliver Tate with a natural comedic deadpan cleverness. Tate narrates most of his story and his quips and observations will leave viewers chuckling. Paddy Considine also provides an amusing turn as Graham Purvis, a bizarre, mulleted, new-age weirdo who has a history with Oliver’s mother.
Editing and Score: The film also uses camera and editing tricks and a peculiar score to add to the comedy of different scenes. For instance, in a scene where Oliver and a possible love interest are walking toward one another down a hall, the screen offers quick, alternating cuts to each person as they get closer. When they pass each other, the shot opens to a frame of the two looking back.
A funky keyboard score plays several times in the film in odd pairing with Oliver summarizing some of his past experiences and offbeat, analytical thoughts. Also, a jarring, screeching string interlude plays between the introductions of acts, which correlate with Oliver’s over-reacting frame of mind on the possible coming events. This creates comedy for the viewer because we are clearly able to see that the coming events aren’t as dreadful or possibly tragic as Oliver views them.
Original Music: Musician Alex Turner (of the band Arctic Monkeys) wrote five original songs for the film that all accompany different scenes. Each song fits perfectly within the film and make for an enjoyable soundtrack absent of the film.
Watch This Movie If: You enjoy slight of quirk British humor or the Wes Anderson school of filmmaking.
Final Thoughts: Submarine is a unique and successful comedic styling and a stellar debut from Richard Ayoade.