Toronto Review: Richard Ayoade's Indie Comedy 'Submarine'
by Alex Billington
September 14, 2010
This is it. This is the wonderful, amusing, brilliant little indie gem I've been waiting to stumble across here at the Toronto Film Festival. The film is called Submarine and its the directorial debut of The IT Crowd actor and former The Mighty Boosh member Richard Ayoade. It was produced by Ben Stiller's Red Hour Films and stars young newcomer Craig Roberts as a quirky 15-year-old British kid named Oliver Tate (seen above). Its been described by others (so I can't take credit for this) as Rushmore meets The Squid and the Whale and that's dead on accurate. And damn is it good, I mean really good, one of the best films of TIFF.
Oliver Tate is a quirky, eccentric kid living in Wales who has one of those smarter-than-his-age vocabularies. In fact, the best thing I can say to give you a better idea of what to expect is to call Richard Ayoade the Wes Anderson - and I fully support that claim, as the film definitely feels perfectly like that. The story follows Tate as he falls in love with one of his just-as-odd classmates (Yasmin Paige) and goes on funky romantic adventures, all the while trying to prevent his parents' marriage from falling apart. The story doesn't contain any major revelations, but in a film like this full of so much heart and cinematic love, that there is no need for anything besides a strong, entertaining and incredibly eccentric story, and that is exactly what we get.
Submarine is definitely not going to be for everyone, but I loved the entire film, from start to finish. It has a great soundtrack, a quirky style heavily inspired by Wes Anderson but with Ayoade's own fresh touch that I think is a newer, more exciting touch that is similar, but is still great to see. It's charming, very amusing and occasionally hilarious, and although it's still a fairly low key, quirky British comedy, it is very insightful and completely entertaining. This is one film I am more than happy to have discovered and I will be supporting it endlessly, especially because it deserves to be an indie cult classic. And it will be with a good distributor.
Ayoade is definitely a director I'm going to be keeping an eye on coming up and I really mean it when I say I think he's the next, new Wes Anderson. Not that he's going to replace Anderson, per se, but rather that he is another filmmaker of that "ilk" and of that unique caliber that can stand along side of Anderson and other quirky filmmakers like Noah Baumbach, Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry. And if you're a fan of any of those guys, you will definitely want to see Submarine as soon as you can, I'm certain it's going to be a new favorite for a lot of young people out there. It's definitely one of my top favorites of this fest, I can say that for sure.
Alex's Toronto Rating: 9.5 out of 10