Review: Submarine DVD

Submarine DVD coverSTUDIO: Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: Richard Ayoade | CAST: Noah Taylor, Paddy Considine, Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Sally Hawkins
RELEASE DATE: 10/4/2011 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.99
BONUSES: featurette, deleted scenes
SPECS: R | 98 min. | Comedy | 1.85:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Submarine, the first feature film directed by Richard Ayoade of TV’s The IT Crowd from England, has been called a “British variation on Rushmore” by some. While the similarities to Wes Anderson’s coming-of-age comedy are obvious, the winning and charmingly off-kilter Submarine should not be dismissed so quickly.

Submarine movie scene

Craig Roberts and Yasmin Paige are all about young love in Submarine.

Indeed, the movie centers on the quest for first love. Outcast Welsh teenager Oliver (Craig Roberts, Jane Eyre) seeks to de-virginize himself, preferably with depressed, pyro-in-the-making school mate Jordana (Yasmin Paige, TV’s Murderland). At the same time, Oliver is concerned about his parents’ troubled marriage: He suspects his mother (Sally Hawkins, Made in Dagenham) is having an affair with her ex-boyfriend who’s just moved into the neighborhood, a creepy motivational speaker named Graham Purvis (Paddy Considine, The Bourne Ultimatum).

The Wes Anderson-like story and cinematic riffs (narration by its lead character, title cards, oddball camerawork) are certainly in this movie, but so is Ayoade’s impressive handling of the material, which is based on a novel by Joe Dunthorne. He manages to successfully juggle both comedy and tragedy, often in the same scene, and finds truth through his fanciful approach. At the same time, he adds some knowing pop culture references to the French New Wave and other films.

Aiding Ayoade’s efforts is the exemplary ensemble work by the entire cast, newcomers and veterans alike, and a soundtrack featuring songs from Arctic Monkeys frontman (and frequent Ayoade collaborator) Alex Turner.

Bonus features on the DVD include a making-of featurette highlighted by Ayoade’s comments on both the novel and his adaptation.

Also included are nine deleted scenes that clock in at about 13 minutes, a bunch of which focus on Graham Purvis and his motivational techniques.

 

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About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.