Empire of Silver
The Last Mountain
Love, Wedding, Marriage
Rejoice & Shout
Based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne.
15-year-old Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) lives with his mother, Jill (Sally Hawkins), and father, Lloyd (Noah Taylor), in a seaside town in Wales. Heís highly intelligent, witty and oddly charismatic, but, in many ways, he feels like a loner amongst his classmates at school. Jordana Beavan (Yasmin Paige) has recently become single, and Oliver has set his eyes on her as his first potential girlfriend, but sheís a little hard to get and has emotional issues of her own that rise to the surface later on. Oliver knows that his mother is cheating on his father with a New Age psychic, Graham Purvis (Paddy Considine). He sets two seemingly simple goals for himself: to lose his virginity to Jordana before he turns 16, and to find a way to rekindle his parentsí love for one another before their marriage completely crumbles into pieces in front of his eyes.
Submarines officially marks the debut of Richard Ayoade as a feature film writer/director. From the very first scene, heís able to set the filmís blend of comedy, drama, romance and tragedy in a way that feels effectively engaging and poignant. Were the screenplay not so sensitively written, that blend would have felt uneven and just plain awkward. Itís been a while since the life of a teenager like Oliver Tate has been captured with so much wit, complexity and realism. Admittedly, not everything that happens to Oliver comes across as true-to-life, but whatís important is that Oliver character is fundamentally grounded in life, which makes him at least to some degree relatable. Each and every member of the cast gives a convincing performance and gets his/her own moments to shine, but the real surprise here is in Craig Robertsí and Yasmin Paigeís tender performances as Oliver and Jordana. They both sink their teeth so well into their roles that their romance and friendship remains quite palpable throughout.
Ayoadeís screenplay has an abundance of darkly funny and witty dialogue that, fortunately, never resorts to lowbrow, juvenile, asinine humor, so youíll never feel your intelligence insulted. Voice-over narration is often a lazy plot device, but, in this case, it serves its purpose quite well because, without overstaying its welcome, it allows you to get inside Oliverís head to grasp what heís thinking and feeling. Itís also worth mentioning the stylish editing and beautiful cinematography that makes the most out of the often drab-looking Welsh locations which further enrich the filmís tone. Much of the cinematography recalls the movies of the French New Wave, particularly those of Godard. Moreover, thereís also a terrific original soundtrack with very appropriate lyrics by the very talented singer/songwriter Alex Turner. At an ideal running time of 1 hour and 37 minutes, Submarine, manages to be refreshingly funny, poignant and wonderfully perceptive with razor-sharp wit. Itís the kind of rare coming-of-age film thatís well-acted and abundant in both style and substance.
X-Men: First Class