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This movie cracked up my sad face | The Velvet Café

submarineI’ve recently discovered the feature of plot keywords over at IMDB thanks to a little game that the lovely people over at the Filmspotting board are running (“guess the movie from the first five IMDB keywords”). And inspired by this newfound love I decided to use a selection of the plot keywords to give a picture of what kind of movie Submarine is.

It goes like this: “loss of virginity, 15 year old, adultery, father son relationship, loveless marriage, bullying, male female relationship, teen angst, Wales, school uniform”.

Got it?

To make it a bit clearer I’ll add that it brings back fond memories of sexually frustrated teenage boys I’ve gotten to know in the past, such as Gregory of Gregory’s Girl and Adrian Mole, the diary writer. If you’re old enough you’ll get the picture. If you’re younger, you might not have heard of them, but I suppose Rushmore could give a fairly relevant association, even though it’s a bit unfair because I really didn’t care that much for Rushmore, thinking it was too cartoonish, but I genuinely loved Submarine, since it had a layer of realism that made you really care about the people in it.

It can’t beat Gregory’s girl of course; after all Gregory has a reserved spot in my private Pantheon as one of the greatest movies ever. But Submarine is a lovely movie in its own right and the first one that made me crack up for God knows how long time. I felt strange. When and why have I turned into such a sadface?

This is of course a European movie and the gags don’t come remotely as frequent as in a standard US comedy, and aren’t as obvious, but I also think this is why they work so well on me. I could recognize myself in the teenagers as well as in the parent generation and it made me giggle. The darker layers, with some sadness and serious business going on, made it even more enjoyable. You know, you always need a pinch of salt, even if you’re making cinnamon rolls. It makes it tastier.

As from what I’ve seen in some reviews there are apparently some references to the French new wave in the movie. Since I’m uneducated in this area, I can neither agree nor disagree on this matter, but perhaps it will bring a little bit of extra enjoyment to film buffs.

I was entertained enough anyway. The story was charming; the actors were fine and the cinematography fun and alert, not to mention the wonderful 1980 nostalgia and the soundtrack by Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys, which is so good that I might end up buying it.

This was director Richard Ayoade’s debut feature, and it’s a very good one. I’ll definitely look out for whatever he’ll come up with next.

Submarine (Richard Ayoade, UK, 2011) My rating: 4/5

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