Submarine (11/5/12)

SubmarineMovie Two Hundred Fifty One

Submarine is about a teenage boy growing up and learning to deal with keeping a girlfriend and also keeping his parents marriage together.

Fifteen year old Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is trying to win the attention of a girl he has a crush on named Jordana (Yasmin Paige). He joins in bullying a girl thinking it will get him closer to Jordana, and later the two meet up beneath the train tracks and Jordana takes pictures of them kissing to get back at her ex. The plan backfires for Oliver and he gets beaten up, but Jordana and he begin dating afterward. In addition to his own sex life, Oliver is concerned with the sex life of his parents (Noah Taylor and Sally Hawkins) and fears that a new neighbor (Paddy Considine), a new age guru who happens to be an old boyfriend of Oliver’s mother, will cause a rift between his mother and father.

Submarine is a film that I wanted to love before knowing much about it. I’m a sucker for indie movies and I’m a sucker for coming-of-age stories and I thought the combination of the two with a healthy dose of UK style and wit would make this a winner. Unfortunately, while Submarine hits lots of high notes, I found myself bored more than entertained. That’s not to say that Submarine is a bad film, it’s not even close to bad, it’s just uninteresting. Or perhaps it’s just the type of film that has been made too many times to stay fresh.

Oliver is a fantastic character and I think Craig Roberts does a fantastic job carrying the movie. Where the movie began to lose me was in the supporting cast of characters. I never cared about Oliver’s parents and I couldn’t stand Jordana at all. When Jordana has trouble at home and her mother is ill, I didn’t care and I’m not sure where the disconnect was. I think in trying to be quirky, and funny, and different, the wrong aspects of the characters (excluding Oliver) were highlighted. Although I did finally get a chance to see Paddy Considine in front of the camera, instead of behind from Tyrannosaur.  I related to Oliver, being a nerdy kid that wants to fit in and goes to see movies that other people don’t care about – don’t worry, I do care about The Passion of Joan of Arc. He has a big heart but he’s also a scared kid that doesn’t know how to handle things. I get that. The rest just felt disconnected to him in some way.

First time filmmaker Richard Ayoade does an admirable job bringing Submarine to life and had a less likable actor been cast as Oliver, the whole thing might have sunk (submarine pun intended). Even at 97 minutes, Submarine started to feel long about halfway through and I was kind of glad it ended. When the film started, I loved it but my enthusiasm slowly waned as time passed. After the credits began rolling I was happy that I took the time to see Submarine, but I wouldn’t want to see it again.

I give it 3 totally sweet airbrushed vans out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


29 responses to “Submarine (11/5/12)

  1. Interesting review. I know when I saw the trailer at the cinema it jumped into my “must see” list. Oddly, it sunk (there’s that submarine pun again) without a trace, not turning up until much later on LOVEFILM. I wanted to watch it for the same reasons you did watch it. I think it has just moved down a notch or two on my list. Love, love, love Paddy Considine as an actor!

  2. I’ve read mixed feedback for Submarine. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 87% of critics liked it, but I’ve read numerous reviews that are 3 stars or below. I may see it, I may not. It’s not on my “must watch” list.

    Also, I’m excited to see whether or not you reach your 300 movies goal. Still great hearing what you think even if you don’t. I assume you’re going to set a goal for 2013 (when the time comes)?

    • I originally was going to give it 4/5 but after thinking about it for a week I decided to drop it down a notch. It’s one that you wouldn’t regret watching but there’s better things out there.

      I think I’ll reach it, but it’s going to be tough. I will do a new goal (or goals) for 2013, we’ll see what I decide on when the time comes!

    • I liked it a lot as I was watching it but my enthusiasm waned the more I thought about it. I thought it had a great start and it then I just kind of kept losing interest. Not a bad movie by any means, but I won’t remember much about it in a few years, I suspect.

  3. Nice one Andy. Ayoade is very funny on-screen in the British TV sitcom ‘The IT Crowd’. Now I’m keen to see how he rates as a director. 🙂

  4. I watched Submarine a few months ago, and I kinda agree with your review. It’s a decent film, but it doesn’t really sustain your interest throughout. I really like Ayoade and the main character Oliver is pretty great, but Submarine just falls short by a bit, which is such a pity.

  5. I hated the parts when the movie asked us to feel sorry for Jordana in connection who what her mother has. It didn’t feel like it belonged in the movie, the pity-party. Otherwise, I liked it. 🙂 You’re so right about the lead actor, perfect fit for this role.

    • Jordana as a whole didn’t really work for me. We first are introduced to her as a bully and then we’re supposed to feel sorry for her and THEN we’re supposed to believe that it’s Oliver’s true love? Not buying it.

  6. totally unaware of this film but appreciate the introduction to it. going to see “lincoln” this coming friday. hopefully “skyfall” saturday.

  7. Sorry to hear you were a bit disappointed Andy. I really liked this little movie. It reminded me of the quirky humour of Harold and Maude and Considine was a hoot man. I’m a big fan of his.

  8. You are still much generous than I am in rating it, I would have given it 1 but then decided to give an extra 1.

    Your review is much better than mine…I can’t write detail review when I am not into the movie.

  9. Pingback: My November Movies Round-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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